NAS - NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE



NAS - NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE

The best NAS enclosure has these three things - Redundancy, Reliability and Resale-ability.


Here is what makes up a good NAS


Redundancy - Many people buy a simple external USB hard drive, hook it to their router and think they have a NAS. While it is a form of Network Attached Storage it is not a true NAS. Because there is no redundancy. 

A true NAS enclosure should always contain multiple hard drives in pairs so you will have a redundant backup of your files. This is called file mirroring. Whenever you add more drives to increase capacity of your NAS, you will need to add two drives or more in equal numbers at the same time.

The problem with single drive NAS boxes is people often rely on them as their only backup source and when the drive fails, your data is gone. Sure you can pay a company to recover your data by removing the drive platters. Although this will cost you many times more than it would to buy a higher quality NAS with redundant drives to begin with.

Reliability - This is another important thing to look at when trusting your data to a NAS. You don't want a NAS box that constantly needs attention or has a high rate of failure. By choosing a quality NAS manufacturer rather than one from a lessor know company, it will keep your data protected with less downtime which equals more peace of mind for you.

Some of our favorite NAS manufacturers are Synology and QNAP. They make great reliable boxes at every price point. To see what separates them, be sure to read this comparison QNAP Vs Synology Best NAS for 2015 and try their online demos.

Resale-ability - At some point you may outgrow your current NAS box. Let's say you started off with a simple 2-bay NAS enclosure. You find your business has outgrown the storage capacity and you now find yourself needing the space and faster performance of a 8-bay NAS. By choosing a box that offers a high resale value, you will be able to recoup some of your original investment and apply this money towards trading up to a newer and faster NAS box.

Hard Drives are Equally as Important as the NAS Enclosure


Choosing the right NAS box is important. Equally important is choosing the correct hard drives to place inside. It makes no sense to outfit a new high dollar NAS enclosure with cheap hard drives or drives from a mismatched collection you may have laying around. This is called getting cheap at the wrong time.

WD makes a line of hard drives just for NAS boxes. By determining the primary purpose for your NAS, it will help you choose which hard drives are best for your application.


WD Red Hard Drives - For NAS boxes that are used primarily to back up data, the WD Red line of drives should be at the top of your list. These drives were specifically designed to be used in a NAS box. No matter if your NAS has 2 drives or 12, these are the drives that were designed to store and protect your data with a long mean time between failure (MTBF). See WD Red - Spec Sheet






NAS Drives by WD
WD Purple Hard Drives - If your NAS is used primarily for recording and playing back video as a media server or surveillance station, the WD line of Purple hard drives are the ones to get. These drives were especially designed and built for video surveillance and will work equally as well for storing Blu-ray video files you ripped from your DVD collection. Or, recording HD content from an Over The Air Antenna with a Network Tuner like a HDHomeRun. See WD Purple - Spec Sheet




Choose Wisely When it Comes to NAS Drives


We covered this before and it's worth repeating again. When selecting hard drives for your NAS enclosure, choose drives of the same type and size. This is important since a NAS will only take advantage of the performance of the slowest drive.

A NAS with multiple drives will also only have the capacity of half the drives. The other half are there for backup purposes when it is set up for mirroring.


Real Life NAS Examples:

NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE NAS
Betty owns a small craft business. She decided to buy a NAS to backup her files. She chose a Synology dual drive NAS like the excellent DS214+ and outfit it with two Western Digital Red hard drives that were 2TB each.

Success - both drives were of equal size, and the same kind so this should work well for her until she out grows the 4TB drives. She can then replace them with larger 4 or 6TB drives or choose a larger NAS box that has more drive bays when her business grows.



George owns a large hardware store. Recently his store has become a target for shoplifters. 

His buddy Mike a tech wizard helped George install a new 16 HD camera surveillance system and they used a QNAP VS-8132 Pro+ 8-Bay NAS to record activities. They choose 8, 4TB WD Purple hard drives to record the video feeds from the 16 cameras.

Success - by choosing the purple line of WD drives, they have a drive especially made for video recording applications. The drives are all the same size and kind so along with the QNAP NAS they have a reliable high performing video surveillance system.



Bob is very good at saving money. Often Bob will drive all the way across town to save 2 cents on a gallon of gas. 

He was very happy when he found a used, WD My Cloud NAS  with a single bay 1GB hard drive on Craigslist. He got it at a bargain price for $20 less than the guy was asking. His wife Sally loves taking photographs and Bob decided to use the My Cloud NAS to store all her digital photos so he could finally get them off their laptop which only had a small 32GB SSD drive. 

About a month later, Sally wanted to add some more pictures to the My Cloud NAS and it was off. She pressed the power button and all she heard was a loud clicking sound. The drive had failed. Her lifetime digital photo collection was gone. Her heart sank and Bob was in the dog house.

Epic Fail - Bob did not follow the three rules of buying a NAS. Had he chosen a NAS that had multiple hard drives which offered redundancy, when a drive failed he could have simply inserted a new hard drive and it would have automatically backed up the data onto the new drive.



Mary wanted to build a NAS Media Server.  She chose a NAS to run Plex so they could share their massive movie and music library with family and friends. 

Rather than using a tower computer, a NAS would work better because it was small, quiet and would fit on the shelf nicely beside the router and broadband modem. 

Mary knew she would need a NAS with a large hard drive capacity because she did not want to worry about losing her data. She knew that ripping the families thousand plus library of DVDs and 3,000 music CDs was going to be a huge amount of work. 

For this application she chose an 8-Bay QNAP TS-851 which also has the ability to transcode files. Mary filled each of the 8 Bays with 6TB WD Purple Hard Drives.

Success - By choosing a NAS for this application that supported transcoding, Mary will ensure their videos will be compatibility with a wide range of devices. Using 8 drives that are of the same kind and size this NAS will offer both redundancy for backup and top performance for streaming music and videos.



SSD for NAS Operating System


The only time you should use a different drive is when using a small drive to hold the NAS operating system. Many people will choose a small SSD drive for this purpose since most high quality NAS enclosures have an extra spot to install one. These drives allow the software to work faster since SSD drives have much faster access times than conventional spinning hard drives.


Additional Resources


Click Here for a full comparison chart which shows, drive bays, CPU speed and price of high quality NAS boxes from Synology, QNAP and ReadyNAS.

-  To ADD WD Red Drives to your NAS - Click Here.
-  To ADD WD Purple Drives to your NAS - Click Here.

If you can't afford a new NAS,  build your own for FREE from an old PC.... click here to read more


Don't Buy a NEW NAS Until You Read This