TerraMaster F2-223

5 reasons why buying network-attached storage (NAS) is worth it

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I’ve already gone into detail about why you should consider buying a network-attached storage (NAS) enclosure, but does it offer good value compared to other means of storing data? I’m going to run through a few points on how buying a NAS today is worth it and will allow you to transform how data is managed at home and in the office.

A NAS can be used by the entire home or office

TerraMaster T6-423 with trays pulled
TerraMaster T6-423 with its trays pulled out. (Source: NM)

Let’s start with the obvious. A NAS can be used by an entire household or office team. Unlike direct-attached storage (DAS) and cloud platforms, there aren’t any limitations on who can connect to the NAS and access stored content, as well as utilize any active services. So long as the NAS has ample RAM and processing power, you’ll be good to go for collaborative efforts.

Whether you want to set up your home security system, a media streaming platform, or host a company intranet website, a NAS can do all of this and so much more. Depending on which branded enclosure you buy — or if you go it alone with a DIY NAS — you can create a hybrid storage and services platform for managing all aspects of your home/work life.

You cannot beat a NAS for capacity

Synology DiskStation DS223j
Synology DiskStation DS223j. (Source: NM)

NAS can offer incredible amounts of storage space, depending on the number of available bays and the drives you’ll be using. For instance, an affordable Synology DiskStation DS223j has just two drive bays, but with two 20TB drives, you can enjoy 20TB of storage space with full redundancy through the second drive. Moving up the ranks of NAS you’ll see enclosures with six bays and more.

Building a custom DIY NAS is a good way to get as much capacity as possible. Some PC cases can take countless 3.5-inch HDDs, such as the Fractal Design Node 804 which can hold up to 9 drives. With the same 20TB capacity NAS drives, you could enjoy 180TB of raw capacity before taking into account RAID.

A NAS is easy to set up

whether you go with a prebuilt NAS enclosure or use an old PC and build a custom NAS, the process of setting it up with storage pools, an OS, some apps, and users is painless. The NAS enclosures I’d recommend have user-friendly web interfaces that resemble a modern PC operating system such as Linux or Windows. Aftermarket options such as TrueNAS SCALE are just as straightforward.

Some NAS offerings even have mobile apps available that let you manage the enclosure from the comfort of your sofa. It may be a daunting prospect to set up and manage your very own server, but development has made the process simple for beginners.

A NAS is more than simply storage

And that leads us to the next point, which is a NAS is more than simply storage. I have a few servers running at home and in the office. At home, we have a NAS that runs Plex Media Server, cataloging all the movies, shows, and music the household has purchased over the last few decades. Another acts as a dump for device backups and general file storage.

The “work” NAS is a custom server running TrueNAS SCALE, which manages all the company files, runs an internal website and even had a few IP cameras connected for security surveillance. If you have a goal in mind, there’s a very good chance there’s an available app to help you achieve it on a NAS.

A NAS will save you in the long term

The upfront cost of a NAS enclosure is a fair chunk of change, especially compared to cloud storage plans. Google Drive costs $12 per month for 2 TB of space. There is the ability to enjoy 5 TB of capacity, but this requires a more expensive payment plan. Even at $12 per month, you’re looking at $144 each year until you’ve grown tired of the service.

Let’s take the same Synology DiskStation DS223j enclosure and match the storage capacity of the 2 TB Google Drive plan. The NAS itself costs $190 and a 4 TB Seagate IronWolf drive costs $95. This equates to a total of $185 for the NAS and a drive. I would recommend using two drives for redundancy, but let’s assume you’ve got backups (which you should).

In just two years, the NAS will start saving you money compared to the Google Drive plan, and we’ve doubled the capacity because 2 TB NAS drives can be difficult to locate due to demand. That’s how cost-effective NAS servers can be. Repurpose an old PC and you’ll save even more!

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