Unfettered File Entry From Anyplace
On this age of high-resolution images and near-constant video seize, the cupboard space in your PCs and cell gadgets fills up sooner than ever. Whilst you can actually use an exterior exhausting drive for offloading and backing up recordsdata out of your PC (and by extension, your cellphone), when you disconnect the exhausting drive and go away it in your workplace, you will not have the ability to get to these recordsdata from dwelling, and neither will anybody else. There are methods to permit different customers to entry the recordsdata in your exhausting drive, however they could be difficult to implement, or carry safety dangers. As an alternative, think about network-attached storage (NAS) system. As its title implies, a NAS is high-capacity storage that connects to your private home or workplace community so that you just and different customers you designate can entry your recordsdata from cell gadgets and PCs with out plugging in to the drive. Here is what that you must know to decide on the suitable NAS.
What Can You Do With a NAS?
When you determine that that you must retailer recordsdata on a community drive, you then want to determine what you need to do with them to be able to decide what sort of NAS you want. For instance, sharing entry to Workplace recordsdata like spreadsheets and Phrase paperwork along with your coworkers is a comparatively easy job for a NAS. In case you’re utilizing the NAS to again up your laptops in a single day, that is fairly easy as properly. However when you’re serving HD movies over your private home community to 2 tablets, a laptop computer, and your sensible TV concurrently, you will need a NAS with greater specs for reminiscence, processor, and community capabilities. You will additionally want a extra highly effective NAS if you wish to retailer media libraries, like a set of 100,00zero inventory images, to your graphics artwork studio. Our NAS system critiques level out their capabilities and suitability to numerous duties.
One other issue to think about is how a lot storage capability you want. The only NAS system has house for one inside exhausting drive, however extra advanced items can have two to eight or much more drives. For backing up a few PCs or your loved ones’s telephones, 1TB to 2TB needs to be adequate. In case you’re a media fanatic with a big digital video assortment, you need not less than 6TB to 8TB of house. For a small workplace or workgroup, think about a NAS with 10TB to 20TB. You may even attain into the tons of of terabytes and pay out vital money for a NAS setup for a big workplace that shops a number of recordsdata regionally. Bigger places of work might also need use rack-mounted Linux or Home windows file servers as an alternative, as these include built-in features like electronic mail and Internet servers.
The Value Issue
Primary NAS items with a single 2TB exhausting drive begin at round $150, however the extra advanced the NAS, the upper the worth can go. For instance, a primary dwelling NAS with two preinstalled exhausting drives, just like the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror, begins at about $399 with a 4TB capability, whereas a two-bay, business-oriented mannequin just like the 2TB Buffalo TeraStation 5200DN goes for $450. A diskless NAS could look like a discount at round $250, however you will need to finances one other $100 to $200 for exhausting drives to put in your self. A business-class NAS, just like the $799 Synology DiskStation DS1515+, has 5 empty exhausting drives you may populate your self.
Disks or No Disks?
You should buy a NAS with its exhausting drive or drives preinstalled, or you should buy a so-called diskless NAS, which has empty bays that you just populate with drives your self. A NAS with included drives is, after all, simpler to arrange, however it may be pricier (as we identified earlier), particularly when you solely want 2TB of house now, and keep in mind that your storage wants could develop with your small business down the street. In our NAS critiques, we state how a lot drive house is obtainable preconfigured, and the price or capability of potential upgrades if the NAS is bought diskless. A NAS with a number of drives will often use some type of RAID to maintain your information secure. For extra on what meaning, learn RAID Ranges Defined.
NAS packing containers serve recordsdata to a number of PCs and cell gadgets over a wired LAN or Wi-Fi community. Most hook up with your router through Gigabit Ethernet. A couple of NAS home equipment have built-in Wi-Fi, however they’re uncommon. Most wi-fi transfers will undergo your private home or workplace router quite than on to your laptops and telephones over the air.
Like a PC, a NAS system has a CPU and reminiscence, in addition to an working system (often a proprietary Unix or Linux OS). A mannequin with 512MB of system reminiscence and a dual-core processor is actually adequate for a household with a half-dozen gadgets whole, however chances are you’ll need to search for a NAS with not less than 2GB to 8GB of reminiscence and a quad-core CPU to your workplace workgroup. Most NAS items may have energy-saving processors primarily based on ARM or Intel Atom CPUs, but when that you must assist a number of gadgets for extra than simply each day backups, then a NAS with a extra highly effective chip and extra reminiscence will assist out in the long term. That is very true when you’re serving 1080p HD and 4K video to your laptops and cell gadgets.
Software program and Setup
All NAS gadgets include an working system, however it’s not just like the working system in your PC. For one factor, PC working techniques like Home windows 10 allow you to run any suitable software program, from Internet browsers to accounting applications. NAS working techniques whittle the performance all the way down to file storage, file switch, consumer entry, and protecting the NAS operating effectively.
A NAS system meant for dwelling or small workplace use is designed to be simple so that you can safe and administer. Each NAS we have reviewed makes use of commonplace logins with username and password mixtures, and you may arrange group permissions in your folders, so, for instance, your children can entry your saved films, however not your monetary recordsdata. Most gadgets will ask you to run an installer from a CD or DVD, or alternately arrange the NAS from a web site. The latter can even aid you arrange distant entry from the Web. Simply comply with the prompts, and you will have a multi-terabyte storage unit able to go in a half-hour or so.
Distant Entry and Private Cloud
Your login credentials will also be used to remotely entry the NAS over the Web, through an internet private cloud account. The private cloud app in your cell gadgets or a web site run by the NAS producer (like mycloud.com) mechanically handles the connections between your PC or cellphone and the NAS at dwelling, so you do not have to configure your router for VPN entry to be able to get to your recordsdata remotely. The recordsdata are nonetheless saved in your NAS at dwelling, quite than on an internet server the way in which they’re once you use an internet cloud storage service. The good thing about this setup is that your recordsdata can be saved on a tool you management, quite than an internet service that may go down as a result of too many companies are accessing it on the identical time, or due to different technical difficulties, like a cloud server advanced happening in Iowa. And you will not need to pay a month-to-month payment when utilizing your private cloud on a NAS—it is included without cost with most up-to-date NAS items.
Along with serving media to your gadgets by an app, home-oriented NAS packing containers assist native media companies like Apple iTunes and DLNA, so you may play your music, view your images, and watch your movies on suitable gadgets. Meaning, as an example, which you can simply flip in your sensible TV, go to the related menu, and look at the photographs you backed as much as your NAS when you had been on your small business journey.
Many dwelling and prosumer NAS items can even run third-party apps like Transmission (a BitTorrent shopper) and Plex (a media server), so you may set your NAS to obtain, transcode, and serve films mechanically to all of your gadgets as soon as they’re accessible on-line.
Most of the NAS gadgets we have now examined assist file encryption, and supply quite a lot of safety controls to guard the NAS from intruders. This could vary from locked enclosures or security-lock slots to firewall-like entry safety.
Under are the highest 10 NAS gadgets we have examined, starting from easy home-oriented fashions to multiple-drive arrays that may serve dozens of customers in an workplace setting. Whether or not you need to serve media recordsdata to the remainder of the home, hold workplace paperwork in a single, accessible repository, or just again up your digital life out of your PCs, tablets, and cellphones there is a drive right here for you.
For extra storage choices, check out our lists of the perfect exterior exhausting drives and SSDs, in addition to our top-rated cloud storage companies.
QNAP TS-251 Evaluation
Backside Line: QNAP’s TS-251 dual-drive NAS affords wonderful learn/write efficiency, stable fault tolerance, and a candy set of options to function a multimedia content material storage star-all at an inexpensive pr…
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Synology DiskStation DS216+II Evaluation
Backside Line: The Synology DiskStation DS216+II is a whisper-quiet two-bay NAS system that provides good file switch efficiency, 4K video transcoding, and a beneficiant choice of apps. It is a breeze to s…
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QNAP TAS-168 Evaluation
Backside Line: A NAS system that additionally runs Android apps, the QNAP TAS-168 is sure to be an enormous assist when you spend a number of time downloading music, images, and movies to your cell gadgets and PCs.
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Synology DiskStation DS216j Evaluation
Backside Line: The Synology DiskStation DS216j is a speedy and easy-to-use dual-drive client NAS that boasts simple distant entry, a big choice of non-obligatory downloadable companies, and bells and whistle…
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Asustor AS3202T Evaluation
Backside Line: The Asustor AS3202T is a robust file server and NAS, however it requires a number of effort and add-on utilities to make the most of all its media capabilities.
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QNAP TS-253B Evaluation
Backside Line: The 2-bay QNAP TS-253B is a extremely expandable network-attached storage (NAS) system that provides loads of superior options and a user-friendly interface.
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