NAS shoot-out: Thecus N5200XXX
The Thecus NAS is fast and flexible, but lacks the simplicity and ease that business users need
For many InfoWorld readers, the name Thecus will not be a familiar one. This Taiwan-based corporation has been around since 2004, and I remember when it showed off its first NAS in 2005. If you go to the Thecus website, you'll find an overwhelming number of different NAS options (about 30 at my last count). If you look at the market share numbers for NAS, Thecus is usually part of "other." This is unfortunate because these NAS boxes are little powerhouses.
The Thecus N5200XXX was certainly the fastest and -- I dare say -- the most flexible NAS I tested. Its performance is excellent, and the software is powerful, but this box isn't for a newbie. In the hands of an IT person or prosumer who knows what they are doing, this hardware can sing. But if you are a small business looking to get your data protected and have little IT expertise to draw on, you should probably search elsewhere.
The five-bay N5200XXX model is the largest of the Intel Atom-based XXX series before you get into rack-mounted systems. Thecus does have seven-bay tower units in higher-end lines based on Intel Celeron and Intel Core 2 Duo processors. The unit Thecus sent me for testing had six 2TB drives (Western Digital RE4). An extensive drive compatibility list on the Thecus website nicely breaks out supported drives into enterprise-grade and consumer-rated models. If you plan to go with 3TB drives, the Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 and Seagate Constellation ES.2 are the only two on the enterprise list.