The last few days, I’m debating on do I really need a NAS? I have asked myself many questions, and until now it hasn’t come to a conclusion. Basically, I have a few SATA hard drives lying around and as a gadget guy, I’m thinking what can I do with those drives? The idea of NAS strikes. But the question is do I really need one?
Here’s my analysis. A NAS can be something off the shelf or you can build one. The primary purpose is to upload, download and share files within your LAN network with many devices. A NAS is installed 2 drives minimum for redundancy. In case, one drive has failed, your data is safe. When you have 2 drives 2Tb or slightly lesser. Here comes the question? What do you store in a NAS for 2TB space? Isn’t it is cheaper to buy an external USB hard drive?
Actually, a USB 3,0 external hard drive writes and read faster than a NAS. An external hard drive is attached to your computer. For sharing, you need to physically transport the drive to someone. During the transport, if the drive is damaged, you can lose everything has stored. For NAS, you do not need to transport them when you are sharing data. They can be either shared on a LAN or WAN. The answer may not apply to some. If your network router has a USB port for file sharing, it is still possible to share data using an external hard drive.
The shortcoming for an external hard drive is 5Tb for 2,5 or you can maximum 8Tb for 3.5″. If you need a larger capacity device, you still need a NAS and USB drives do not have redundancy. So your current cut off point is 8Tb.
Today, NAS is more than a NAS. A NAS is like a mini server. There are a lot of applications the manufacturers package them into their NAS software. If you got enough RAM, you can use the NAS as your web server, a database server, a mail server etc. Manufacturers are smart, consumers can find many reasons to buy themselves a NAS device. Again, what you are doing probably there is another option. You can use the Google drive to store and share files. NAS will work in the LAN if there is no internet.
I personally think it boiled down what exactly need. If you do not need the large disk space, NAS is not your choice because of the upfront cost will cost more per Gb ratio.