Qnap’s TVS-471 is the type of network attached storage (NAS) device that you could sit down and play with for days. It has functions that make it suitable for serious business, home storage, and entertainment tasks. It can be the centre of your life if you allow it.
Network Attached Storage
We’ve seen wireless drives from the likes of Seagate and Western Digital before, both of which allow you to connect mobile devices so that you can access more content than you would otherwise be able to while on the road. This little Qnap QGenie that we’re reviewing here is also a wireless drive, but it packs a few more functions that make it a rather cool gadget for any tech enthusiast’s bag.
The accessibility of locally stored files over the Internet can be of great convenience to many small business users, but the task of doing so without using a third-party service such as Dropbox isn’t always straightforward unless you have some networking know-how. Many NAS devices are making it easier, though, thanks to automatic Cloud configuration options, and desktop and mobile apps that are a cinch to use. WD’s My Cloud DL2100 is such a NAS device.
Looking at the design of the Personal Cloud Home Media Storage drive, it’s clear that Seagate thinks it should reside right near your TV in your home entertainment unit. It looks as if it’s a set-top box or PVR rather than a traditional NAS device, and we think it’s a refreshing change of pace compared to the more upright NAS designs that we’re used to seeing.
It's easy to get excited about NAS devices these days. That may sound funny, but devices such as the Asustor AS5002T that we're reviewing here allow you to do a whole more than just store data. Of course, storing data is an integral function of any NAS, but this 2-bay device has a rich feature-set that goes far beyond that, to the point where it can work as a server for many tasks, and even as a stand-alone media centre.
Synology’s DiskStation DS215j is a NAS device that can be used for a lot more than just housing and backing up your data. It features the latest version of the company's DiskStation Manager operating system (DSM 5.1), and it allows for a vast array of extra functionality to be added to the device, depending on your needs. So much can be done with this device in terms of managing, accessing, and using data; it’s almost like having another computer on your network.
If you ask Seagate, network attached storage (NAS) devices are no longer IT-driven, but instead crossing over to the mainstream. For this reason, it makes sense that NAS devices for home office users and families be easy to install and maintain. The Seagate NAS (which is as matter-of-factly named as any tech product on the Aussie market) attempts to be simplistic both in terms of the way the drives are set up, and in the way it can be configured.
The Thecus N2310 is a small, two-bay network attached storage (NAS) device that’s designed primarily for home users. Compared to many NAS devices, it’s a good looking unit with reasonable build quality, and it possesses many of the features that are sought by consumers, such as easy installation, and the ability to copy from and backup to USB drives.
Promise Technology’s NS6700 NAS device is a solidly built unit that’s designed for serious data storage and backup operations. It’s not as obviously resplendent with features as other NAS devices we’ve seen recently; for example, you have to dig around a little before you find things such as plug-ins, but that just means the unit is more focused to the main tasks of storing and protecting your data.
Seagate's Business Storage 2-Bay NAS is network storage at its most sincere. It's a product that isn't high in 'wow' factor when you compare it to the likes of Asustor, Qnap or Synology, but it's serviceable as a repository for backups and any files that your want to share across your local network and beyond.
Western Digital's NAS-optimised 'WD Red' drives are now available in 2.5-inch models at 750GB and 1TB, and a new 4TB model pushes up the maximum capacity of the existing 3.5-inch range.
The storage needs of business users vary. If you're on the road, a small and portable external hard drive with plenty of space will be handy. Home office users will appreciate lots of centralised hard drive space, while small offices with multiple PCs should look at the networked and centralised storage offered by network-attached storage (NAS) devices.
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