Traditional external hard drives like the USB device are ubiquitous and almost anyone can purchase them at a relatively affordable price if necessary. External hard drives are popular primarily because they are not only great for backing up important data, but they are also sufficiently small and, as a result, portable. Specifically, if necessary, NAS devices can also be sold as a separate computer whose sole purpose is to store data and access information (useful for large companies or business owners).
Introduced in the 1980s, NAS (Network-attached storage) devices have obtained acclaim for their ability to allow individuals to save their data into files which are directly connected to a computer server network. In this regard, NAS devices can help a user to manage data easily (through the server). Also, NAS devices can recognize data and store data much faster. While the blistering speed of a NAS device may not be that much helpful for a high school student saving a report, the speed can tremendously help someone like a business owner who needs to manipulate massive amounts of data on spreadsheet or store business reports in a timely fashion. The speed of NAS devices come from the fact that since they run on a network, they can benefit from connecting to your server through “standard 1Gbps networking” instead of the slower “USB 2.0 connection” needed by your external hard drive devices.
Perhaps the most important property that comes up when attempting to make the decision about whether to purchase a NAS device or a standard external hard drive device is the price. According to www.pcmag.com, NAS devices can be sold from around $65 up to more than $2000. If the price seems to be a concern, then an alternative could be found in cloud computing. Cloud storage website such as www.dropbox.com can be a great way to store data on the “cloud” at a small fee per month. However, if you want to store a substantial amount of data (such as music, movies, games, etc.), then buying a NAS device is the preferred option due to its one time (high) price being cheaper than subscribing to dropbox perpetually.
While USB devices are cheaper and the more popular option at the moment, the value of a NAS device lies in the fact that since NAS devices are connected to a server, the data that is saved on to the device will, essentially, remain on the server until any changes are made by the user. This means that if your NAS device was damaged soon after you saved some important information in it, then your saved information will still be there. However, if your USB device was inadvertently lost or broken, then there would be no way to re-obtain the saved data on it. So, where large amounts of data and security is the ultimate concern, NAS devices offer a safe and effective solution.
Finally, a NAS device is platform independent meaning one can store any type of file on to the device and then it can be opened by a computer running a Linux OS, Mac OS, or Windows. Since the files are automatically uploaded to the server upon their saving, one can easily access them on a public area (such as a library or on a co-worker’s computer) if needed. Additionally, data stored on one NAS device can be accessed (with permission of course) by another person with a NAS device allowing for distributed collaboration and secure changes from individuals in different/remote locations.
As evident, NAS devices seem to work at their optimum when large amounts of data need to be saved and changed. Their quick access speeds and ability to allow for collaboration is an important feature that increases the user’s efficiency. Finally, their platform independence makes them the most reasonable means of saving not only the internal workings of a business, but also the day-to-day data of a home owner.