NAS for Home Users: Give Your Personal Data a Proper Vault!

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NAS for Home

Network-attached storage reviews always mention that NASes are all to the best of data keeping devices for now. Capacious, durable, usually expandable and relatively cheap network-linked external file servers make a way to every segment of business, corporate and scientific life, and, nowadays, be more and more available for us the home users.

It is an easy task to choose the perfect NAS storage just for your home. This device must be reliable, durable, not too ugly or too bulky (but these matters are somewhat a sign of taste, heh?), and, of course, we presume you do not want to pay a lot of cash for the modest performance or the unnecessary functionality.

The cheap NAS of a good quality and the good software for use this NAS are all what we want to make comfort on our home digital life.


Home Network Storage Device: What Criteria We Should Use Before Make a Choice?

Choice your NAS

Network-accessed storages in any segment of market have some common traits; these traits are data capacity, number and types of storage units (usually hard drives), compatibility with file systems, transferring protocols and OSes used in the network infrastructure, built-in software options and type(s) of network connections available.

Let us look on these criteria and understand how it can influence your choice.

  • Capacity is the first and so often the most important attribute of any NAS. How much terabytes of data your device can store for you, it is the first question you must take into consideration. Some NASes have an option of expandability; the capacity of these storage devices can be expanded by addition of more hard drives.

  • Storage units used in the device can be only of two types: hard drives (disks) and solid-state drives (flash memory).

    Hard disks (HDs) have many advantages over solid-state drives (SSDs); in a long-term use, there are more reliability and much more read/write cycles before any single memory cell will degrade. And these good old HDs are much cheaper, too. So the most of network-attached storages uses HDs as data-carrying units.

    SSDs have their own advantages; these units are faster than HDs and have not any mechanical details thus made it more shock-proof and resistant to vibrations. Although these qualities are very precious for direct-attached storages (DASes), it can have no special use for NASes, as network-attached storages are often do not move anyway, and the speed of these devices limited by network bandwidth rather than the read/write speed of data units.

  • Number of storage devices can vary in the broad range, but we recommend you to use NASes with more than one drive, so you can easily organize your NAS drives in the RAID 1 structure, more stable and error-proofed than any numbers of single disks.

  • In the most of new NASes, problems of compatibility with other computers and OSes in your network are solved effectively by application of some popular file-exchanging protocols on the NAS just out-of-the-box. Any NAS properly connected to your network can be used as an external disk or some other network device type by just any OS and hardware existed today. The matter can be more complicated if you use an old OS, a venerable network device or an obsolete NAS in your infrastructure; different versions of software and hardware can “feel the problems of interaction”. Fortunately, there are many ways to soften and eliminate these problems; Internet is like to full of good advices for just any of these cases.

  • Built-in software can ease your life significantly. For example, the built-in torrent client have grab you all what you want and share all you need to share, without any other computer except for NAS is active at the time. Good backup software, properly scheduled, can automatically save and secure your personal data on your network-attached storage, without any efforts on your side. So read what software service your favorite NAS provides to you, and if you need more you must understand how you can install it to your NAS (and if it is technically possible).

  • Type of network connections is the last but not least consideration you may take into account. Almost all NASes connect to the network via Ethernet cable; this type of connection is stable and fast. If you really need to, or if you just not planning to put a web of wires on the walls in your home, than look at NASes with built-in or plugged WiFi (wireless) connection. WiFi is much slower and more unstable than Ethernet wires, but it can free you of many, many unwanted cables and plugs in your room!

If you can walk through this bunch of questions successfully, then you can choose a very fitful and regarding NAS just for you.


The Best NAS Storage for Home Users (an Examples)

Best network-attached storages for home use, let us repeat, are not storage devices with the most heavy price tags but devices contains and provides you all what your needed.

A cheap NAS is not a bad NAS, this is a truth tested by experience. But the cheapness is not a main virtue for the system you trust your precious personal data. It is right for the business, and so it is right for the modern home with a lot of digital memories on it.


Small, Stable and Simple: Netgear Centria NAS

Note An example of small, undemanding to location device is the Netgear Centria NAS. This small standalone device has only one hard drive and connects to local network via WiFi only. Interestingly, it has the combined functionality being not only the NAS of 2 TB maximum data stored but also may be used as the Wi-Fi router connected to external network. The performance in both roles is mediocre, but the small size and multi-purposed usage may appeal to some user. The package of software seems not to be expandable, anyway. We recommend devices like this only if the need of data storage is casual and can be easily overweighed by considerations of size, stability and simplicity.


Solid and Capable: Synology DiskStation DS712+

Note Another example is the solid, two-spindled Synology DiskStation DS712+, seems to be the very capable network-attached storage devices. Although a user must provide own disks for this unit, it is not a fault because we strongly recommend you to choose carefully hard drives for your NAS from specialized or server models only. Rather than have a ton of bells and whistles, the unit mentioned contains quality-built hardware providing an outstanding performance, and some useful software, especially for recovery after disk failures and crashes.

With a copy of Handy Backup and some well-configured network settings, you can feel protected from just any problem that can occur in a matter of data loss. The data capability of 6 Tb and a power pack of useful software like Handy Backup for home users will cost you less than $1,000 – not too big for many years of safe and comfortable data keeping.

Reviews in paper magazines and Internet sites will gladly provide you with other examples of case studies for all the types of home user’s interests. So the term “the best NAS for home” means just as the term “the NAS you feel comfortable and protected with”. Do not afraid and go choose your own NAS for a long time!

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