If you have multiple computers on your network, you’re a candidate for a network-attached storage (NAS) device. Some NAS servers simply act as a shared volume for backing up and sharing files across your network, while others can do a lot more, such as sharing a printer among your networked PCs, acting as a media streamer or even a surveillance system by supporting IP cameras. You’ll find NAS devices with a single drive and those with multiple drives that allow for greater data protection and higher capacities.
Here are two examples of some of the best rated network-attached storage devices available: Synology Disk Station DS412+ is four-bay NAS (network-attached storage) server in a way is the follow-up to the award-winning DS410 that was released more than two years ago, and makes an excellent upgrade. It now offers an excellent drive bay design, much faster speeds, support for USB 3. 0, and a lot more. Running the Disk Station Manager (DSM) 4. 0 operating system — and upgradable to future versions, such as the upcoming DSM 4. — the new server offers a vast number of features with a stellar Web interface that operates much like a native operating system. Each of its four drive bays comes with a tray that you can easily pull out.
After that, you’ll need a standard screwdriver to attach or detach a standard SATA hard drive. The server supports both 2. 5-inch (laptop) and 3. 5-inch (desktop) hard drives, of any capacities. This means with all four bays occupied by 4TB hard drives — the top capacity of 3. -inch hard drives to date — the server offers up to 16TB in RAID 0 or 12TB in RAID 5. RAID 0 is optimized for top performance and capacity. RAID 5, which is the most popular RAID setup for multiple-drive-bay NAS servers, balances performance and storage space while still guarding data against a single-hard-drive failure. The bottom line: Synology DiskStation DS412+ makes an excellent NAS server for advanced home and small-office networks.
The Synology DiskStation DS712+ : The new dual-bay server is now much faster and much better designed, supports up to 16 IP cameras, and can be scaled to up to seven hard drive bays, when coupled with a DX510 Disk Station Expansion Unit (not included), for a maximum 21TB of total storage space. The DS712+, however, also shares a few minor shortcomings with other Synology servers. These include the overly simplistic desktop setup utility, called Synology Assistant, and the primitive Data Replicator backup software.
The server also comes with only one IP camera license, meaning you’ll have to pay more if you want to use two cameras or more for a surveillance system. The DS712+ supports both desktop (3. 5-inch) and laptop (2. 5-inch) standard SATA hard drives, of any capacities. Out of the box, the dual-bay server can host only two hard drives, but it comes with an eSATA port that works with Sinology’s DX510 DiskStation Expansion Unit to host another five drives. It also has three USB ports, two on the back and one on the front.
These ports can be used to host more external storage devices or printers. The front USB port can also be used to quickly back up the entire contents of a USB storage device, such as a thumbdrive, via the quick-copy button right above the port. Unfortunately, none of these USB ports supports USB 3. 0 standard. While this is not an end-of-the-world shortcoming, it’s rather disappointing considering that USB 3. 0 has been out for a long time, and other lower-end NAS servers, such as the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2, already support it.
The bottom line: The Disk Station DS712+ is one of the best dual-bay NAS servers on the market, for both home and office environments. It’s also one of the few that offer storage scalability for those who want to start small and add more capacity later. In conclusion, after researching NAS, they basically come in all sizes, based on what your uses are for, from picture/music sharing with family to file backup, that can be accessed from any computer, but logging on to your drive.
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