Network attached storage drives
Share and back up music, photos, video and documents on your network with a high-capacity NAS drive.
Network attached storage drives have been around for years, but it’s only recently that manufacturers have realised that home users and small businesses can benefit as much as large corporations from a NAS box. For small businesses, it means data can be stored in one location, accessed by any member of the team (wirelessly if you attach the box to a wireless router) and the precious contents easily backed up. And all for a far smaller outlay than a Windows Server 2003 setup.
Smaller businesses – and home users – can also benefit where other functions like integrated FTP servers and web-hosting features are offered, while media serving is also on the menu with most of the devices on test. This is especially useful in a home setup, as it means you can store photos, video and music in one place, and several users can access the content simultaneously. Or, if you have a media-streaming device, you can watch or view your library on a TV or hi-fi without needing a PC to be switched on.
Having all your data in one place makes it far easier to back up and keep up-to-date, rather than having photos spread across several hard disks on different computers. Since all the devices on test have USB ports for connecting a hard disk, backing up your valuable data is simple. However, on-site backup isn’t as secure as off-site, so we’ve tested and rated six online backup services. See page 74 for in-depth reviews.
Manufacturers are packing in ever more features and the cost of storage is still plummeting: now is an ideal time to invest in a NAS drive. The particular drive you buy will depend on how you intend to use it, so check the feature table on page 70 for a detailed breakdown of the features on offer. You get what you pay for with NAS, so if you want every feature going you’ll pay a premium.
Details of the various capacities are highlighted in each review, but for a simpler comparison we’ve reviewed the 500GB model from each range.
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This Group Test appeared in the April, 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine