Storage – Why Use A NAS?

29th October 2017
Office with people working on laptops, computers and tablets

We know our customers and blog readers are pretty savvy when it comes to technology, but just in case you were wondering NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.
In recent years we’ve all been storing more and more information in ‘the cloud’, entrusting some of the most important things in our lives to third party companies who we hope are trustworthy. We obviously don’t want to return to the days of saving everything onto those temperamental floppy disks, but local Network Attached Storage (NAS) is available and there may be more reasons to start using it than you’d think.

What is NAS?

Most data storage options that you’ll be aware of are either cloud based, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or local, such as an external hard drive. A NAS is hard drive which is connected to a network, so it’s a mixture of the cloud and local storage options.
A NAS is connected to a network, so it can be accessed by any number of PCs within that network, unlike a external hard drive which can only be connected to and accessed by one computer at a time. They are similar to external hard drive in terms of functionality, but unlike them NAS devices usually have a form of built-in operating system adding software functions such as media streaming and remote access.
If you use a cloud storage service like Google Drive, you are in effect renting space on a network connected drive that belongs to someone else, giving you access as long as you’re connected to the internet. Using a NAS gives you this access without having to hand over your data to another company.
You can configure a NAS to support Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) which is where two, or more, hard drives are connected together to add extra redundancy – storage of data on all of the drives – to act as a fail safe should one of the hard drives fail.

How do you calculate your storage?

Did you know your NAS wont give you 100% storage capacity? So 3 x 3TB, wont give you 9TB storage but 5.4TB, this is because the redundancy mentioned above to ensure your data is always safe uses 30% of your capacity. However 3 x 3TB could store 1 Million Photos or 17M large data documents. Drobo have a great storage calculator which you can use to help decide which storage is right for you.

Why do I need redundancy?

Redundancy protects data against drive failure in real time. This means if you are working on a file and one of the internal drives in a RAID fails, the storage device can continue to work normally. (Some RAID setups can even survive when two drives fail). It will give you an indication that one of internal drives has failed, allowing you the chance to back up important data and replace the failed drive with another one.
The slight drawback of a NAS is, as mentioned above, you may need more or larger drives than you at first thought in order to achieve the same storage space.

HardSoft can help

We have various NAS storage devices to lease such as the unique LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3, which meets all your storage needs in one unit. Connect your digital camera, charge your phone, or connect a shuttle drive using the front facing USB 3.0 Hub. Use the SD and CF card slots at the front to download files from all of your other devices, such as a GoPro®, or even a drone. You can power your laptop whilst you daisy chain using the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. The display port allows you to connect to 4K and high resolution displays. Get universal compatibility with USB-C and USB-C 3.0 via an adapter cable. The LaCie 2big Dock is available to lease from HardSoft from £5.95 + VAT per week.