USB attached storage vs. NAS

My question is basically an opinion question.  I have to replace my current backup system and, after spending way too much money on Iomega REV drives and disks (which aren't manufactured anymore or really even supported), I've decided to backup my critical data directly to some type of external hard drive.  With the cost of multi-terabyte HDDs becoming very reasonable, this approach appears to me to be my best option.  So now the question becomes, do I buy a USB connected HDD or should I opt for a NAS device.  I have a small network, but I do backup critical client databases every night.  I'm sure that other members of EE have similar situations and I'm looking for some direction as to my best alternative.  TIA....
Jim KlocksinOwner, Data ArchitectsAsked:
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helpfinderIT ConsultantCommented:
if you want just copy data from A to B than probably external HDD will do the same for you as NAS but for less money.
On other hand with NAS you can do more things, you can establish VPN server on NAS for quick connect to the LAN, you can use it as DHCP or Proxy. Also you can create users (or integrate with your AD) to create folders (backup) for users etc.
I would go for a NAS for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, if you use a NAS, you can locate it away from the devices you're backing up, this means that in the event of a fire or theft, you have more chance of retaining your data.

A NAS is also a better solution because it will allow you to simultaneously backup multiple devices. With a USB HDD you'd only be able to backup one device at a time and it will require manual intervention to move the HDD and kick off any subsequent backups.

Another, non-backup related benefit, is that a NAS can also double up as network accessible non-critical file storage if you were to need it.

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Zac HarrisSystems Administrator Commented:
I use a Buffalo Terastation NAS for all my backups currently. It was an inexpensive unit...I think around $250 and it's a 4TB RAID1 NAS. I prefer NAS over USB for critical things simply because I have had too many USB devices fail to copy things for one reason or another, be it a hiccup on the Root HUB, a power surge from plugging too many things in, or in one case the USB port just decided in the middle of a copy once that it no longer wanted to work and stopped.

That last one was fun, I had to delete some registry entries in Mounted Devices to get it working again... Sure USB may be faster in some cases but I would rather take a little longer and make sure it happens.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
Use a viable online backup tool in conjunction with a NAS(local) Cloud(remote) backup policy, 2 copies.

That would be my recommendation.
Since backups are best done to more than one media, it is easier and cheaper to get several disks to backup to and which you can then rotate, than getting several NAS.

I recommend that you get a USB dock for your disks, then you only need to get cheap 2nd PC disks which you can drop into that dock for your backups. For backups it is more important to have a higher quantity than to look at the high quality of the disks. If one fails, that doesn't matter much, you just replace it with another. Every disk will fail, whether it is a high quality expensive disk, or a cheap 2nd hand one. Besides that, rotating between the disks will give you several versions of your backed up files, so if necessary you can return to an old version if necessary.

In the link is an example of such a dock:
Jim KlocksinOwner, Data ArchitectsAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the feedback.  Since I've also had some (albeit, infrequent) problems with USB, I've decided to go the NAS route.  It's a little pricey, but since the information I have to backup is my livelihood, it just seems like the right way to go!
andreasSystem AdminCommented:
But remember, NAS also has some disadvantages nobody wote about yet.


The NAS is usually always on and usually accessible from the user account that is currently logged in, especially if its also used as a daily data storage drive.

So if the NAS is always on and always reachable and accessable from the currently logged on user, a virus for example could just delete/encrypt all files on NAS also your backup files.

If an attacker manages to break into your router, he also may further attack your NAS and cause damage.

A good and safe backup is only a good and safe backup once its offline and stored at a safe place after you have made it,
a NAS cannot provide this requirement.

But there are NAS out there with an USB port. You could from time to time attach another external USB HDD to copy the most im portant stuff off to another USB-HDD.

BTW. Do not use ANY flash based Drives for backup storage.
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