Community-attached storage (NAS) is simply the ticket for storing and streaming your personal movies, music, and digital pictures round the home and even internationally. It may be similar to Spotify, YouTube, or Netflix, besides with your personal media.

NAS can be immensely useful for backing up and synchronizing the information in your computer systems and cellular gadgets. Backing as much as native storage is way sooner than counting on a cloud service equivalent to DropBox or OneDrive, and the identical goes for restoring an by accident deleted file or recovering from a crashed system.

It’s additionally straightforward to arrange a NAS field to perform similar to these cloud providers, enabling entry from wherever on the planet. Actually, NAS field builders have taken to calling their merchandise “non-public clouds” in an effort to make the idea extra acquainted to shoppers.

To get the perfect of each worlds, most bins will sync with cloud storage providers, offering one other layer of knowledge redundancy and disaster-recovery choices. If you happen to expertise a catastrophe at residence—a flood, hearth, or earthquake—you’ll at the least have the peace of thoughts that comes with figuring out your knowledge is safely backed up at one other bodily location.

A phrase on pricing: Not all NAS field producers additionally construct arduous drives, so a lot of them promote these bins “unpopulated;” i.e., with none arduous drives put in. If you’re evaluating costs, be sure you know whether or not or not the drivers are included. If you happen to’re not accustomed to formatting a tough drive or organising an array of drives, you may discover it extra handy to purchase a NAS field that’s populated and able to go proper out of the field.

This story was up to date on October 6, 2017 so as to add our opinions of the Netgear ReadyNAS 422 (which we discovered to be effectively constructed and really quick, however dear) and the WD My Cloud Home Duo (which we discovered to be too gradual to advocate.)

Greatest NAS field for media streaming and backup

The WD My Cloud EX2 Extremely is likely one of the least-expensive two-bay NAS bins you’ll discover, nevertheless it’s nonetheless very quick; in actual fact, it was practically as quick because the business-oriented Netgear ReadyNAS 212, which prices twice as a lot. That’s a mix that’s arduous to beat. We’ve picked the unpopulated model right here, however you should buy one with the drives already put in and configured as RAID 1 for knowledge redundancy (a 4TB configuration costs $349 on Amazon).

The entire bins within the My Cloud sequence function the identical easy-to-use interface, and this mannequin comes with a wholesome assortment of apps, together with an onboard DLNA media server. You may even plug a Z-Wave dongle into its USB port and use it as a smart-home management heart. WD’s consumer-oriented My Cloud Mirror (Gen 2) is actually the identical product with fewer business-oriented options. Populated My Cloud Mirrors are barely cheaper than populated EX2 fashions ($299 for a 4TB model on Amazon), however you may’t purchase one unpopulated.

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