Home NAS - What NOT To Buy For Your Home Network Attached Storage Needs
Why buy a home NAS device and then lose your data anyway? You would be pretty upset, wouldn't you? Buying a home network attached storage device without knowing the differences between them amounts to more than just wasting your money, you could end up losing all that you had hoped to protect.
Vendors of these home network storage products often do the buying public a disservice with the way they advertise these products and design the boxes.
Why, for instance, would you not typically want to buy the largest storage device for the least amount of money? Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
With home NAS devices it is more complicated than that. Let me start by mentioning a few kinds of machines that you probably do NOT want to buy for home media or file storage needs.
1.) A single drive product. To keep prices down, many vendors offer their NAS devices with just one hard drive. But a wise consumer wants RAID NAS, which protects your data from loss if a single hard drive fails. You simply need to have more than one hard drive to do that.
2.) The largest capacity for the lowest cost. There are a couple of problems with this. First is that you may be getting a low quality, slow hard drive. Second is that you may get very little warranty, like maybe only one year when others offer three or even five year warranty.
In addition, a low cost unit may be missing key features that you do not realize you are missing until you learn more about home NAS devices in general; something you often do AFTER you buy one.
3.) A USB "challenged" disk storage unit. By USB challenged I mean a unit with only one USB port, or one that does not support both USB printer sharing and external USB hard drive attachment for backup and sharing.
Some people buy a home network storage device just to backup their individual computers to, but I suspect that is a small percentage of this market.
I believe most people buy a home NAS because they have irreplaceable photos and home videos, expensive music libraries of iTunes and other purchased MP3's and possibly movies in digital format. Maybe even some critical home business data files or financial information.
Using your home network attached storage device for backing up to, without EVER storing anything else on it, is probably the only way I could advise buying a single drive NAS solution.
Instead you want your data protected by RAID, and this does NOT include RAID0 (RAID level zero). So when you are looking at the capacity of these devices, look beyond the "1T" (one terabyte) or similar marking on the box.
Typically that is the RAID0 capacity - and that's useless for protecting your data.
With two hard drives in the storage enclosure you can accomplish RAID1 protection, known as mirroring. With three or more drives you can achieve RAID5 protection. Either of these RAID levels will prevent data loss if one hard drive fails.
And fail they will, sooner or later. That is why a longer warranty is nice. But warranty does not protect your data, just your hardware investment. True RAID protection is what takes care of your data.
That brings up one more type of home NAS device you do NOT want to buy to add to the list above:
4) Any unit that does not tell you a drive has failed. You want to store your data on a home network storage unit that has both front indicator lights to inform you of a failed drive AND the ability to email you with that same information.
Wasting your money on a network attached storage device that does not give you the features you are entitled to is bad enough. Losing your data because you did not know what to buy is even worse.
Learn what you need to know so you can buy a home NAS device that will protect the data you store on it like you expect it to.
Avoid the shock and pain that so many experience when they find the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is GONE! Come over to http://NetworkStorageTips.com for the critical information some vendors do not want you to have.
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