QNAP TS-464

5 reasons a NAS is better for storing your data than cloud services

When you run out of local storage space, be it on a mobile device or desktop PC, cloud-based storage is one of the more popular (and easier) options. This usually involves a small monthly fee for a sizable amount of storage space, measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). Network-attached storage (NAS) is another option for storing data and I will run through some reasons why it’s better.

You have full control over your data

TrueNAS SCALE 22 Dashboard
TrueNAS SCALE 22 dashboard. (Source: NAS Master)

Instead of relying on a third-party company to manage your data storage, the best NAS is managed locally and connected to your home or office network. This uses a hard disk drive or solid-state drive to then store or load data on request. There’s no middleman, aside from the operating system, which can be used completely offline and only available across the local area network (LAN).

No recurring subscription costs

Synology DSM 7
Synology DSM 7 home screen. (Source: NAS Master)

In my guide on NAS vs. cloud storage, I ran through how a NAS enclosure and its storage drives will cost more than cloud services upfront, but it will save you money in the long run. The smaller monthly fee for cloud storage may be alluring, but this subscription will keep running unless the company shuts down or you cancel the storage plan.

A NAS device doesn’t have a monthly fee. The only additional cost on top of the enclosure and drives is electricity, but even that is minimal with a low-power CPU and lower system loads.

A NAS is tailored to your storage needs

Synology DSM 7 Cloud Sync
Setting up Cloud Sync on Synology DSM 7. (Source: NAS Master)

When picking the best cloud storage subscription, it’s important to consider just how much data you plan on storing. Cloud platforms are good for allowing you to pick and choose how much storage you require, and upgrades can take place within a few moments after payment has been made. A NAS isn’t as easy to expand storage, but it’s still tailored to your needs.

To begin with, you need to buy at least one drive to use inside a NAS enclosure. This allows you to purchase larger drives upfront and have ample free space for years to come.

Speeds not limited by service providers

TerraMaster F4-424 rear I/O PCB
TerraMaster F4-424 rear I/O PCB. (Source: NM)

Because everything is stored on remote servers for cloud platforms, you’re at the mercy of various companies, your host included. There are also intermediaries such as your internet service provider (ISP). Should there be an issue somewhere along the line between your device and your cloud storage server, you’ll have trouble getting access to your files.

That’s not the case with a local NAS. The LAN is unaffected by outside issues and should the network somehow go offline, you can directly connect to the NAS. Your data is always present on the storage drives, providing you with immediate access, should it be needed.

A NAS is more versatile than cloud storage

A network-attached storage device is more versatile than available cloud storage solutions. This is because you can purchase a NAS enclosure (or build your own) to your precise requirements, both performance and storage capacity. You’re also free to choose an operating system of your liking, so long as the device you’re using is supported.

Need more system memory for running intensive applications? Upgrade and expand the RAM. Need more storage space? Replace drives with larger models if no free bays are available. Some NAS enclousres even have PCI slots and support expansion units for a larger number of drive bays.

Synology DiskStation DS224+

Synology DiskStation DS224+
Synology DiskStation DS224+. (Source: Synology)

Ready to start your NAS adventure? I’d recommend the Synology DiskStation DS224+. It’s a powerful enclosure available at a reasonable price, just remember you’ll need to purchase up to two drives separately.

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