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NAS devices for home users, how reliable are they?

Posted on 2011-04-29
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I'm thinking of setting up a network attached storage device as a backup solution for all my home clients but I don't like all the software that comes with these devices, I just like to use windows to drag and drop files into there over the network, just like an external hard drive.  Have any of you had experience with these devices and if so which ones, and have they been reliable?

Thank you.
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Question by:now2010
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ja1clark earned 500 total points
ID: 35495803

Whatever NAS you use you will need to set up exports to access them over the network, which means you will need to work off of the NAS OS to do this. Most commonly for Windows based networks these will be CIFS shares, and can be accessed as any other windows shares (eg browse by UNC path or map the share to a drive letter). You will need to set up these on the NAS device and set ACLs accordingly. Alternatively for linux one might set up Samba or NFS shares.

The best NAS devices I've used are DROBO (http://www.drobo.com/professional.php) and QNAP (http://www.qnap.com/images/products/comparison/Comparison_4BayNAS.html). These are more business oriented but the lower end products are reasonably priced and fantastic in terms of build quality and reliability. Consumer based solutions are made by many vendors including NetGear and Buffalo etc. and are much cheaper.

There are many ways to go about network file storage though. You could build your own barebones PC with a few drives in a raid array, install Windows and create shares Windows/CIFS. You could also use FreeNAS or similar. But in any case you are going to need to configure these network shares via a host, whether it is a proprietary interface on a NAS device or a copy of Windows etc.

Given all the free cloud storage there is these days as well, if you have a reasonably fast internet connection and not a ton of data, you can easily configure backups in this way.

Lastly, there are many backup solutions. You can drag/drop to mapped shares, you can use tools like SyncToy or Windows Backup, the options are quite wide and varied.



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by:now2010
ID: 35495811
Maybe I'm clueless, but that's why I'm asking this, why can't the NAS just show up as another device on the network, without using the software that comes with it?
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by:Javedtariq
Javedtariq earned 500 total points
ID: 35496043
I have got one from Netgear.
I would somply recommend what ever you buy do not buy a netgear solution.
It is quite cheap,small and easy to configure but draw backs are:
1.You can not use it with out its own software. i mean you can not just unplug a hard drive from NAS and plugin to a computer to reterive the back up data.
2.The Read and write spead is realy realy slow which is annoying
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by:hmarcbower
hmarcbower earned 500 total points
ID: 35496080
I would definitely recommend a QNAP product.  They are going to be more expensive than the little ones that you can get for $100 or so, but the quality is great.  There is software/firmware built into the device, but once you have it set up you can basically use it as you're suggesting - drag/drop files over the network.  If you're willing to spend a bit extra again, and you really value the files you are backing up, you can get one that holds two hard drives and you can configure them in RAID 1 - meaning the drives are mirrored.  All of your information is stored twice when it gets copied to the NAS, which means if one of the drives craps out you can replace it without losing any of your data.
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by:ReclaiMe
ReclaiMe earned 500 total points
ID: 35496083
Typically, NAS shows up as a webserver, on which you do setup and configuration, by visiting http://nas.ip.address. You then connect to shares (map network drives) as if it was Windows machine (net use x: \\1.2.3.4\share). Drag and drop to that share then.
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by:now2010
ID: 35496173
Thank you.
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