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