There are many NAS manufacturers existing in the market. Each manufacturer might has different NAS models, leading you to a headache to choose the right one.
Buying a NAS device is different to buying portable hard drive. In addition to capacity, you should also consider the network connectivity since you will use it in the network system. Gigabit Ethernet is the standard connectivity of current NAS devices. Some NAS have two or more Gigabit ports for Port Trunking, which provides connection redundancy if one port fails.
Capacity and network connectivity are just the beginning. There are several other factors you need to consider when buying a NAS. Following are 5 essential things to consider if you want to buy a NAS.
NAS is the kind of storage medium so the first thing you need to notice before picking one is the capacity it has. The easiest way to choose certain storage capacity is by understanding your need. The purpose of using NAS is to provide a shared file storage so the larger capacity your NAS, the better. The problem is that more capacity means more costs. If you have strict enough budget you might can to buy a NAS with smaller capacity but consider the one with additional ports so you can extend its capacity anytime you supposed to.
Some NASes, especially ones intended for home use, come with USB ports, allowing you to insert portable hard drives that support NAS. Since NASes are designed for shared use, terabyte is the standard capacity of NAS. Most NAS models have at least 2TB of storage capacity.
Backup and recovery
In the digital era, nothing is more important than data. Having your crucial data in the different locations has been always a good idea. For such case, consider a NAS device that has a good backup mechanism. How do a NAS backup your data?
Some NAS avaialble in the market today offer cloud-based backup mechanism. They works by mirroring the data you have on your NAS to a server on the cloud. To provide a backup medium, some NAS manufacturers can either build their own server or using services like ElephantDrive or Amazon S3.
That type of backup mechanism is known as hybrid backup solution. Having data stored on the cloud will makes it easy for to restore them in the event of disk failure in the local hardware someday.
A NAS system consists of several components, including an embedded software that manage access and the network connection (visit here to learn how a NAS system works). Since a NAS requires software to work, it also has processor component, as well as RAM. The more RAM and better processor a NAS has, the higher its performance. But, you should also know that NASes with such specs cost much higher. QNAP TS-453A is the example of NAS that has a 8GB RAM. It features Intel Celeron N3150 Quad Core processor with the clock speed of 1.6GHz.
I you want to install your NAS at your office where users save and retrieve high volumes of data on a regular basis, then you need NAS that come with a nimble processor and more RAM since your NAS will be handling lots of I/O operations in such case.
Remote access and personal clouds
In addition to via local network, you can also access the files stored on your NAS from anywhere via internet. The vast majority of NASes existing in the market come with the remote access capability for managing the device and access the stored data. Some NASes might offer a specific app to allow you accessing your files from anywhere via internet. Western Digital’s My Cloud personal cloud service is one of the examples. You need a NAS with such capability especially if often access your files stored on NAS from different locations.
Security is another aspect you need to consider if you want to buy a NAS. Nearly all NASes have user accounts and authentication methods requiring a username and password to access the device. Some NASes also offer additional security features such as file encryption and hardware encryption. If you care so much about the security issue, consider a NAS that offer extra security features.