Admit it, we're all data hoarders. Be it photos, videos, movies or just simply documents, our personal store of data is always on the rise. This Diwali, you'll be adding a significant chunk of data to your hoard as well, possibly in the form of photos and videos of this festive occasion.
And it's not just that, maybe you get a new PC or a new phone, your family pops over and you decide to peruse through past photos or just settle for a movie from your iTunes library. All this data has to be stored somewhere accessible and secure. So what do you do about it?
The best option, in our opinion, is to simply get yourself a NAS device. NAS or network-attached storage is something that the average person might expect to find in the realm of the geek. But what is it? Think of it as a tiny PC that has one job to do, and that is to store and manage your data. It's like Google Drive or iCloud, but stored at your home. Given the amount of data we generate daily, we could all do with a NAS device, and today, these aren't that hard to set up. Whether a layman or a geek, here are a range of NAS options for everyone.
WD MyCloud 4 TB
Price: Rs 13,849
Not to be confused for an external hard disk, the WD MyCloud is an easy-to-set-up NAS device. Hook it up to your home network, follow the 3-step setup process and you're done. For beginners, that's all there is to it.
You can access the device from any PC, Mac or Phone in your home and use it as personal storage or a backup device. What's cool about the WD MyCloud is that if you tinker with the settings for a few minutes, you can do a lot more with it than simply use it as a file server.
For example, as a Mac user, you can set up your Time Machine Backups to automatically happen on the device. Set up DLNA and you can access your multimedia on any DLNA-supported device like a TV. Set up cloud access and you'll be able to remotely access your data via the internet from any corner of the globe. You can throw your iTunes backup here, download files here directly, manage users, and do a lot more besides.
If you have a fast home network, whether wireless or wired, data access will be quick and easy. When I tested the device on my own network, which is quite fast and uses high-speed CAT6 cables, I could easily transfer files at over 100 Mbps.
Synology DiskStation DS216j
Price: Rs 18,999
For the more advanced user, a stand-alone NAS box like the Synology DiskStation DS216j is a great option. Unlike the WD MyCloud device mentioned earlier, this one requires a bit of tinkering to set up initially. Your storage (hard drive or SSD) will need to be purchased separately, pushing the price even higher. However, you get greater control and flexibility with your storage options. You can, for example, throw in two 2 TB drives and set up a RAD array for greater redundancy and speed.
Regarding the rest of the features, a DiskStation is just as capable as the MyCloud device mentioned earlier, if not more so. If you have a lot more data to store and future upgradeability is a concern, this is a good device to consider.
For hard disks, consider a dedicated NAS storage drive like one from the WD Red or Seagate IronWolf lineup.
The last, most interesting but most advanced option involves building your own NAS device from scratch. It's easier than you'd think but still requires that you have a basic knowledge of PCs and networking. For this, you can simply repurpose an old, unused PC or laptop and convert it into a DIY NAS Box. Since you'll only be using the device as a NAS device, ancient PCs powered by Celeron or Core Duo chips and featuring 512 MB RAM are perfectly fine as options. Simply throw in a free operating system like FreeNAS.
You are building a PC here and there might be some troubleshooting and maintenance involved, but if you're the resident geek in your home, this should be a fun task. As with the Synology device, we recommend that you use a dedicated NAS drive to go with this DIY NAS box you're making.
So, which NAS setup are you going for this Diwali?