Tip of the Week: Your Own Cloud Storage

If you have a computer, laptop, netbook, iPhone, iPad, or any combination of them, how do you access your files, share your music, or back them up without being limited by the free solutions of Dropbox or iCloud? With many operating systems and more devices, it has become difficult to keep track of all our data and media. And what if you want to access it when you are away from home?

Answer: NAS. Network attached storage. A simple solution that solves so many problems.

NAS devices are increasingly shipping with cloud capabilities, which are are useful for sharing content.

As a media server, you can stream video files to your tv without going through a computer.

BACKUPS

We all know we should back up our data, but its a daunting task to design a backup system. But, drives fail! Google did an extensive, five-year study on the failure rate of consumer hard drives and found that age has the most direct correlation with hard drive death — drives either fail right away, or start to degrade after the second year mark.

Software: If you use a Mac, Apple’s Time Machine software is included with OS X and hard to beat.   For PC, CrashPlan’s free client is a great choice.

Hardware: A single external is a good place to start, but having a NAS lets you use mirroring to ensure you have 2 copies at all times.  Mirroring is done through RAID 1.  It uses two hard drives.  One holds accessible data, the other is a copy (mirror) of that drive. While you only get half the space of both drives combined, you can rest assured that, even as your drives age and become more likely to fail, you’ll have one duplicate copy. And you can get one for around $150 dollars. The cost is small compared to commercial data recovery services which can easily cost $1,000 or more.

For more info, visit these reviews.

There are many choices for what NAS to pick, based on your budget and needs, but the best seller list at Amazon has the highly rated Synology DiskStation as #1.

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