How to choose online storage for home and office

Recently, I began to think about purchasing network storage system (NAS). But since I do not make such purchases on a boom, I decided to deal with technical issues and to delve into the intricacies of modern network storage. Information technology is quite rapid in its development, but this pace makes keeping your finger on the pulse to grasp the essence to make the right choice. As it turned out to choose a NAS for the house and office is not difficult, but not everyone needs it.

Many ordinary users have no need for such network devices, and certainly not wondering how to choose a NAS for home. In most cases, the problems encountered with the storage of information, they decide by adding hard disk in system unit, acquire an external USB flash drive , or connected network-cloud technology WebDAV. It all has the right to life and in some cases is a good solution. For example, you can upload recorded media from camera, camcorder or smartphone to the network cloud and keep shooting.

But if you want to have, my server storage and encryption confidential information or flexible backup and at the right moment to access them remotely from any device (PC, tablet, smartphone…), the NAS in this case will be an irreplaceable solution. In addition, while you travel or work away from home and office you will be able to throw the shot photo and video material by means of the Internet on personal network storage and stream (continuous stream) to play it on any device from anywhere in the world where there is sufficient bandwidth of the Internet channel. Also this device helps to relieve the computer from a multi-threaded download files from torrent trackers, taking on these functions.

In public institutions, organizations or office of companies of different levels, you can use a NAS such as a mail server with support for SMTP, POP3 and IMAP, or web server to host a small site or any applications using MySQL and PHP (CMS, CRM, e-Commerce…) as well as using the app to control IP cameras, watching the office, record and view video in real time…

Low-power computer or network attached storage (NAS).

Before proceeding to the choice of model NAS, you need to clearly define what goals and objectives you want to buy a NAS. For anybody not a secret that the presence of features and the quality of components affects the pricing of any IT device. Some guys suggest to save money and use a NAS instead of a low-power computer assembled from certain components.

It consists of a CPU with integrated graphics, good cooling and set of programs for system configuration. However, this approach for a number of reasons seemed to me not justified. The fact is that if you build a computer from an inexperienced user may have difficulties with selecting the components, the subsequent installation and maintenance.

For example, you may experience some difficulties when replacing the hard drive in the «hot» mode, and specially selected software for self-storage is much more difficult to administer than the proprietary platform you have written for a certain model line. If you have the skills and you like spending time for the solution of non-trivial tasks, for home network storage you can collect yourself, but for office and businesses, this approach is not acceptable.

Technical features of network attached storage (NAS).

My attention was more drawn to the finished model. By type (form factor) they are classic and rack. The latter is very efficient, functional and high-performance with large capacity storage (minimum 4 disks) for home, small office and workgroups. These types of NAS may have two power supplies, which increases fault tolerance in General. Typically, these devices are not cheap pleasures that help to solve a large range of tasks.

The classical model is also very flexible and functional, but unlike rack have a wide range. It is considered that the more slots in the NAS, then to a higher class it belongs to. Conditionally on the class of NAS can be divided as follows:

  • Home users and small office.
  • Home users and to business groups.
  • Small and medium businesses.
  • The production and the office of the Corporation.

, Some manufacturers do not focus on the number of slots for a particular class and are produced, for example, network storage for home users with four slots, and the models for the average business with two compartments. More on the number of compartments in the NAS is affected by the design, the functionality and software. What to look for when choosing a NAS with multiple bays hard drives:

  • Is it possible «hot» replacement drive (in the process of operation of the device).
  • To install the drive in mine is carried out directly or by fixing a sled.
  • What are the sizes of drives (2.5 inch or 3.5", and possibly both) support compartments or mounting-sled. Sometimes providers use the acronym SFF and LFF (this reduction phrases Small Form Factor and Large Form Factor respectively).
  • Is embedded if the system is cooling slots on the disks.
  • Provides door and lock compartments.

Many modern NAS can work correctly with a offered on the market hard drives, but some models have network and storage limits on each mounted disk volume. Especially note the option RAID (redundant array of independent disks).

The fact that the RAID array is a hardware and software solution that allows multiple drives installed in the NAS not be interpreted as one for information storage. RAID in compliance with the described standards has 7 main (RAID 0 – RAID 6) and 3 more (RAID 10, RAID 50, RAID 60) of the type arrays. Each of them has its own purpose. Here are some examples:

  • RAID 0 — array combines the space of all disks increase the access speed twice, no fault tolerance (minimum 2 HDD).
  • RAID 1 — array of two or more disks on which information is recorded mirror image to enhance system resiliency, which in turn increases the read speeds (up to 2 HDD).
  • RAID 5 — disk array with data striping that has a positive effect on fault tolerance (at least 3 HDD).

, Thanks to duplication of information when entering one of the hard drives fail, you can continue working without losing important data. After you replace the broken disk, the system will automatically create a copy of a previously lost data.

As processor manufacturers can use the budget versions of a simple Intel Atom, and the top-end models of Intel Xeon, Intel Core, Intel Atom (Quad core). There are also different variations NAS Intel Celeron processors, ARM Cortex-A9… Some NAS models have soldered processors ARM. Devices on these processors ideal for use at home or in a small office where the number of connections to the drives of the NAS and nothing at all. However, to focus on such network devices I would not recommend. People are unaware of this, then leave here such here reviews:

In addition to CPU and network controller for performance in General and the number of simultaneous connections is affected by the amount of RAM. I should say that NAS is built on the ARM processor is harder to upgrade or repair, due to the fact that the RAM and CPU soldered on the motherboard and do not use special slots. People are unaware of this, leave it in online stores here are the reviews:

As the advantages of the NAS ARM platform can be noted only low power consumption. But assuming that NAS are working twenty-four hours and seven days a week (24/7), then in a sense it is a significant figure.

For the ease of administration of the NAS, the availability of features and functionality meets the software platform. Many modern network-attached storage to access the control panel use the browser. Software platform for NAS can be proprietary or third party. Under the brand, I mean the platform written by the developers of the manufacturer, for example, Synology DiskStation Manager, and under third-party operating systems from companies and corporations not participating in the configuration and subsequent release. Usually, such developers mean companies such as Microsoft.

I Draw your attention that some platform set of tools for clients that will use the network storage. It is not convenient for all and choosing the device, definitely consider it. Many proprietary and third party platforms allow you to connect to various modules that extend the capabilities of the NAS. Choosing such a device be sure to pay attention to what file systems are able to operate the platform, what network protocols and management practices and supports.

Check whether the software functions, which give the possibility to use a NAS as FTP server, WEB server, stations and video servers with the ability to store material from security cameras, to use it in conjunction with cloud services to manage and provide access to tablets, smartphones. Perhaps some of the functions you do not need, and therefore to pay more is not worth it.

Depending on the range of presence and number of interfaces and ports on the NAS are different. For example, USB ports, different versions of the NAS can be from 2 to 6, and sometimes more. Depending on the model to such ports, you can connect the SSD, additional hard drives, wifi adapters, flash drives, printers, and the like. The Ethernet ports can be accommodated on the device panel, up to four, and possibly more. In addition, some models have HDMI, FireWire…

Some network storage for a network connection already have built-in Wi-Fi router, and the NAS does not have such a module, you must connect through a Wi-Fi router.

This way you will be able to combine all the devices (NAS, Smart TV, computer, tablet) in one local network and the Internet to access the personal repository from the network.All NAS models are designed to provide convenience and uninterrupted operation regardless of class.

The reason the producers of some network vaults worried about good ventilation and is integrated in the device a few fans to reduce the temperature of hard drives. In addition, complement NAS multiple connectors for power, which can be used to communicate with the uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

In the market well-known manufacturers such as Buffalo, D-Link, LenovoEMC, Seagate, Netgear, Synology, Thecus, QNAP and WD. They regularly update their product range and extend the line «up» (released a more powerful and multi-disc solutions for large companies), and «down» (complementary lines for the home and small office). That's all. We are always open to constructive comments and glad good and useful additions.

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