NAS – Network Attached Storage – Data Storage Device accessible through the network, usually the local area network LAN.

The Goods:

  • Very good option for home and business users.
  • Total ownership and control of data.
  • Relatively easy to install and maintain.
  • Replacing failing internal HDDs is relatively simple.
  • Value for money investment backup solution as a one-off expense.
  • Very good option for automatic backup process.
  • Multiple simultaneous accessibility allowing for concurrent backup processes.
  • Usually for onsite remote backup solutions, can also be used for offsite storage at different location through the Internet.
  • Very high capacity options allowing for not only backing up but also for sharing (multimedia, docs, etc.).

  • Because NAS are dedicated data storage appliances, they are less prone to software corruptions as extra software cannot usually be installed.
  • Multi-disc units usually configured for self backup and redundancy, providing another layer of safety.

The Bads:

  • The actual storage media in NAS are hard disk drives which can suffer some of the inherent problems of external hard disk solutions – HDD do die in a random fashion!
  • Total responsibility comes with total ownership and control (physical care, virus protection, power spikes, theft, etc.).
  • Single drive NASes although cheaper and better than none are less than ideal as they do not provide redundancy.
  • The operating system running the NAS can be a serious problem (proprietary file format/system) if the control unit fails and the data needs to be retrieved and transfered to another storage facility.
  • Access is through the local area network (or the Internet if offsite) that must be fully functional.

Cloud Storage – off-site, normally rented commercial storage space.
Setting up access to a NAS appliance located off-site at easily accessible premises (home for small businesses, friends for home users) can be a non commercial – one-off expenditure cloud storage solution to help manage control and on-going costs.
Ever improving Internet speed and quality make this option well worth of consideration nowadays.

The Goods:

  • Cloud storage companies sometimes offer free limited space that may be enough for smaller requirements.
  • Offsite access to data from anywhere as long as there is good Internet connection.
  • Service provider is responsible for ensuring data safety and integrity and system maintenance.
  • Storage space is as flexible as buying more or less space.

The Bads:

  • Data access experience depends on Internet connection quality.
  • Not a cheap storage solution in terms of actual storage rental cost as well internet bandwidth penalty.
  • No control on what happens to the data, security and safety entrusted to someone else.
  • Data access dependent of provider quality of service (online, stable, sufficient bandwith, etc.).
  • Recurring expenses as storage space is rented at commercial rates.
  • Suitable for system image storage but would be very inefficient due to cost.
  • Susceptible to virus activities at or through the source, accidental deletion, corruption-overwritting, etc.
  • Service providers survival or life expectancy always conditional on ever evolving technologies and business concepts.

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