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What is a NAS?


A NAS is a Network Attached Storage Device.  Put simply, instead of plugging the Hard Drive directly into the computer via a USB cable, you plug it into your router or switch via a network cable.


So what benefit does a NAS have over a standard USB Hard Drive?


A USB Hard Drive has no smarts, it is simply a place to put your local files or use as a backup of your PC.  The USB hard drive can be shared with other users, but your computer must be switched on for you to do this.  A NAS however is designed to be on all the time and accessed by anyone on your network or even from the Internet.  A NAS for all intents and purposes is a mini server.  A NAS is designed from the ground up to be a file server that can be accessed by multiple users and computers simultaneously.


What are some of the features of a NAS?


The consumer level NAS’s that we provide can do many more things than just share out your computer files;

Print Server Plug in a USB printer and share that out amongst your networked computers
Web Server Host your own Web Site.
 iTunes Server Act as an iTunes Server and share your music library to iTunes Clients.
Multimedia Server Store videos and stream to compatible media players connected to TVs
Digital Photo Gallery Store your digital photos and share them by an automatically generated photo gallery accessible via web browsers
Security Camera Recorder Control, monitor and record the video of networked security cameras.
Music Server Stream your music library to iPhones, Computers and networked media players.


Plus much more.



So why are they so expensive?


By comparison to a computer you will find that price wise they are quite reasonable.  An average computer sells for around $800.  Granted, a computer is a lot more flexible, so therefore it can do many things, but it can’t do all of those things very well.  A NAS device however, excel at being an always on, always ready, low powered file server – with a whole host of value added features.  In addition, a computer on average, will consume more than $300 worth of electricity in 1 year.  By comparison and average NAS will consume around $40 worth of electricity in 1 year.

Some of the low powered NASs consume as little as $25 per year running 24 hours a day.  With features such as scheduled power on and off and system idling when inactive you can further reduce this down to as low as $10 per year.  Try doing this with a computer!


So why are there so many different ones?


Choices.  Basically the cheaper models are designed for fewer simultaneous users and less storage space.  As you go up in price, the internal processor becomes faster to handle many more simultaneous users and to allow for larger storage space.  In addition turning on all of the features of a NAS on a more expensive model has less impact on performance than on the cheaper models.  So when choosing a NAS you can find one that fits your budget, number of users and storage requirements.  Just be sure to factor in a little bit of growth.



Are they easy to setup and manage?


Most NAS devices come with well thought out setup wizards and instructional help.  Once setup, management is simply done from a very intuitive web interface accessed by a web browser.  If you know how to use a computer and access the internet you can setup the basics of a NAS.  In addition there is a whole community of NAS users on the Internet itching to help and make sure NAS Devices become a common household item.



Is one brand of NAS better than another?


This is like saying, “Is one car better than another”?.  I suppose it depends on which salesman you talk to.   J

I researched the various makes and models and then purchased one.  I love the technology and simplicity so much I decided that the only way to get the word out was to become a reseller.  However I decided to settle on a couple of makes of NAS devices based on their quality of hardware and the software features they bring to the consumer.

If you ask me Synology and QNAP provide some of the best value and well thought out consumer level NAS devices on the market.