NAS (Network Attached Storage) or External Hard Drive? Here's how to decide

in technology •  6 months ago

Like many of you, I have a lot of content that I've collected over the years. Photos, music, movies.. At first, a 500 GB external drive did the trick. Today, I need a 4 TB drive - which means I own 2, 1 for backup. And every time I add more content to the library, I have to copy twice.

In 2018, things got more complicated - and better - thanks to blu ray. Instead of 4 GB movies and videos of concerts, we're talking 35 GB per video. That's a lot!!

I read about NAS - Network Attached Storage. A consumer RAID system to store, manage and play content. Here's the question to ask -

Do you need to play content on multiple devices? If 3 or more, consider a NAS. For just my laptop and TV (where I use a small USB drive), stick with your external hard drives.

When you start to need to play content on a 2nd laptop, a NAS starts to become worth buying. On one hand, I don't want to have to learn another system/UI, but I can see I'm moving to it very soon. NAS = Media Library.

Do any of you use a NAS or media server? How and why??

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you know, devices that just serve your data is passe! There is no difference between a nas server and an external disk except for the protocol that they connect on.

of late there are lots of applications that we need on our home front like media servers, tv streaming software...

you are better of just using a regular old pc, loading linux on it and using it like a server where it doubles up as a NAS server and also to host your applications.


That's another smart option. A simple laptop/pc that you can plug external drives into..

I use NAS Drives , as NAS drives continue to be available even when your computers are turned off. They are, in fact, little computers in their own right, Hard drives have traditionally been pretty dumb devices—for the most part, they neither know nor care about the machine they are attached to.

I use a NAS. Recently my netgear readynas started behaving erratically and required daily reboots. A few days ago however it stopped booting altogether. I decided to create my own NAS using a raspberry pi and two harddrives which will be mirrored (currently the raspberry pi is only connected to one drive. I am looking for a cheap enclosure for the 2nd HD. I believe that I will also be switching the OS from rasbian to OVM which customized to be a NAS server.

The beauty of a NAS is the data redundancy you can achieve. If you loose a single HD you do not loose all of the data. As the NAS get bigger, ie more drives you can get RAID types that can survive dual drive failures. I guess you need to decide the value of the data you are storing. I have a 2 drive RAID 1 (mirror) NAS, but I still do weekly backups.