NAS, or Network Attached Storage is probably the now most personal reliable, and afforadable backup and central storage solution that is both easy to use and setup, as opposed to regular back external hard drives which needs to be connected every time you want to backup, and can only talk to limited number of computers at once. Worse, my experience and from what I saw and read, most these external hard drives have a tedency of failure after 1 or 2 years. So much for a backup ehh?
For several years I waited for the right backup solution to come, after my terrible Maxtor experience. The concept of NAS was so appealing to me, however lacked the good implementation of it. This was until my friend and I found the 1 TB Netgear ReadyNAS Duo.
1 Tb of Gigabit ethernet network attached SATA storage, with a secondary optional slot for a mirror one, giving you extra data availability. Unfortunately however, the secondary disk does not seem to add anything to read performance. The price tag was really what kept me thinking for a couple of days, until my friend called and said his PC drive was dead. This is when price tag becomes no issue. There were 5 pieces left only at the time on Amazon, later that day, 2 were already sold.
And if you’re getting a Gigabit ethernet device, you might as well utilize the G side of it and get your self a Gigabit switch. Mine was the D-Link 8 Port Desktop Switch, while my friend went for the NetGear one. It’s hard to tell them apart without seeing them both in action, but when reaching out for the NAS folder, I do notice a slight tiny delay which he says does not occure to him. Not sure though. Either ways, file transfer remains pretty fast and reliable.
So What’s So Good About this NAS?
1- Backup solution for unlimited number of home desktops and laptops. Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
2- Central shared data among all devices. Use less storage for same amount of data, with central advantage. Useful for media files and documents you want available across different devices.
3- Streaming: The NAS comes with built-in streaming capabilities that could allow you central storing of your videos and photos, then go and enjoy them on your favorite player device. I have personally not utilized this feature enough yet, and friends tell me streaming off their PC remains faster.
4- Quick Recovery: Say primary SATA drive fails. If you have taken the step of the secondary drive, simply pull out the primary drive, and replace it with the secondary one. In few minutes, you’re good to go.
5- QUIET: As opposed to external drives I’ve seen, this one is so quiet, personally I like it.
6- Primary Documents Storage Location
1- Minor slight delay in accessing files as opposed to when they are stored locally. Pretty minor stuff for me.
2- Lack of some program support. Some programs like Sony Vegas studios refused to work with network drive locations, and only worked with mapped network drives. Some others even refused the mapped network drives for some reason.
3- Some programs run slow when trying to access and list files from the NAS. For instance, GIMP takes a long time to list folder files before savin when accessing a NAS folder. iTunes Library browsing also seems to get extremely slow when using NAS for it’s storage. The famous Mac Time Machine also does not allow NAS drives for backup by default, and even when I tried the solution, it also failed to back in my case. Sure there is way, but didn’t give it much thought yet. I expect it needs time for companies to give full attention to this technology, and support it better.
4- Executing some tasks like Unzipping large files will take enormous time if done on NAS. For me, unzipping 70 MB of intensily zipped files took over an hour (and failed eventually). In such cases, simply move the zip file to your local machine and do the unzipping.
5- As mentioned above, it would’ve been much better if this mirrored disk was used for reading improvements rather than just a backup. But it doesn’t seem to be the case.