Seagate NAS Pro 6-Bay Review

Seagate NAS Pro 6-Bay Front
Seagate may be a household name for hard disks but it has always had a comparatively low profile in the SMB NAS appliance market. Its NAS Pro family aims to remedy this by delivering an affordable network storage solution to businesses with up to 50 users.

On review is the NAS Pro 6-Bay model which hits the mark for value as our 24TB version costs a very reasonable $1,599. You could reduce your spend further by buying a diskless version for only $599 and populating it with your own SATA drives.

It may a compact appliance but does look physically imposing with its glossy piano-black front panel and drive carrier levers. A highly visible LED panel sits above the drive bays and its menu is controlled with the two buttons alongside.Seagate NAS Pro 6-Bay Rear

The 6-Bay has a reasonable specification under the hood with a dual-core 1.7GHz Atom C2338 partnered by 2GB of DDR3 which is non-upgradeable. The dual Gigabit ports at the back can used separately or as a fault-tolerant link and you have USB 2 and USB 3 ports above for adding external storage devices.

Voyage of discovery

We found the appliance easy to install as we used Seagate’s discovery web portal which spotted it on the lab network. Along with automatically updating the NAS OS firmware to the latest version, it helped set up a Seagate remote access account and emailed us an invitation along with a confirmation code.

The web console is sparse but does provide good details on appliance utilization

The web console is sparse but does provide good details on appliance utilization

Seagate’s NAS OS web console is fairly basic but easy to use. Its home page offers quick link icons to pre-installed apps with the Device Manager app providing access to all configuration and monitoring facilities.

For our pre-populated appliance, there was nothing to do for storage setup as all six 4TB drives were already configured in a single-drive redundant SimplyRAID array. Similar to Synology’s Hybrid Arrays, this lets you mix and match different sized drives but traditionalists can delete it and create standard RAID0, 1, 5 or 6 arrays if they wish.

Access controls are good as during share creation we could decide which users were allowed access, set usage quotas and link up with our Active Directory domain. IP SAN targets are created from the Volume page where CHAP authentication and initiator host access lists can be applied but thin provisioning isn’t supported.

Backup features

Seagate only provides a basic set of apps although the important ones for backup are all present and correct. Using the Backup Manager app, we could secure selected local folders to another folder or an external USB device.

Seagate NAS Pro SimplyRAID

Along with Seagate’s versatile SimplyRAID, the appliance supports all standard RAID array types

It can also link jobs up with the one-touch backup button and USB 3 port on the front of the appliance. Pressing it starts the job automatically but be careful as the power button is just above it and accidentally pressing this will gracefully power the appliance down.

For cloud backup, we had no problems creating jobs to send data to our Amazon S3 buckets and there are options for using Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. Network backup is versatile as the appliance can secure folders to another NAS OS device or use any server that is SMB, NFS, FTP, WebDAV or Rsync compatible.

File syncing services are on Seagate’s menu too, with support for Dropbox, Google Drive and Baidu. However, real-time syncing isn’t supported as we could only create schedules that would run as often as every hour.

The Sdrive app lets PC and Mac users remotely access permitted folders on the appliance via their linked Seagate account and copy data to them. Alas, we couldn’t find an Sdrive iOS app but could use the MyNAS iOS app for remote access once we’d set up port forwarding on our router.

PROS:
  • Good value
  • Plenty of backup tools
  • Easy setup
  • Reasonable NAS and IP SAN performance

CONS:
  • Minimal feature set
  • Bulky external PSU
  • A shortage of apps

Seagate NAS Pro backup tools

There are plenty of backup tools but watch where you put your finger when using the one-touch button

Performance

Despite its modest hardware spec, the 6-Bay delivered some good speeds in our lab tests. With a share mapped to an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2, we saw drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file return sustained read and write speeds of 109MB/sec and 108MB/sec.

It handled our backup test well with our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files copied down at an average of 70MB/sec. Synology’s slightly more expensive DS1515 and its Annapurna Alpine CPU mustered 83MB/sec for the same test.

IP SAN speeds were equally good with a 500GB iSCSI target delivering Iometer raw sequential read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 109MB/sec. We upped the pressure with a dual Gigabit MPIO link to the same target and saw read and write speeds ramp up to 223MB/sec and 190MB/sec with appliance CPU usage peaking at 83%.

App shortage

App choices for the NAS Pro family pale into insignificance when compared with the likes of Qnap’s QTS and Synology’s DSM. Seagate offers a total of 11 apps including ElephantDrive, Plex Media Server, BitTorrent Sync, WordPress and the SyncBoxServer private cloud enabler.

The anti-virus app will prove useful as it allows you to set up daily, weekly or monthly scan schedules on all data. Any suspect files can be quarantined or deleted but the catch is you only get a one-year trial license with further one-year subscriptions costing $30.

The appliance can be used as a video store with Seagate’s Surveillance Manager app which supports up to 16 IP cameras and provides basic recording and playback features. However, you only get one free camera license included with Seagate charging an exorbitant $260 for an extra four-camera license.

Conclusion

Seagate’s NAS Pro 6-Bay scores for its winning looks and delivers a good overall performance. It compares well on value with similar appliances from Qnap and Synology but it doesn’t come close to them for features.

7.3 Total Score
Good Overall Performance

Seagate’s NAS Pro 6-Bay scores for its winning looks and delivers a good overall performance. It compares well on value with similar appliances from Qnap and Synology but it doesn’t come close to them for features.

Performance
8
Features
6
Build Quality
7
Usability
7
Value
8.5
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