You know when you drag your feet about going out to a party and then when you actually arrive you realize that the party is amazing and that you wish you had left earlier?
That's how I feel about Network Attached Storage devices now.
I cannot believe that I waited this long to set up my own NAS, let me tell you all about it!
One quick note; the device I used for this demo was sent to me just to test out and there's no sponsorship or fees being paid.
The Network Attached Storage Device
The folks over at Synology recently sent me a Disk Station DS218+ this is an NAS which allows you to access your files and your services from the internet from anywhere, on any number of devices, either from inside or outside of your home.
These devices act in a similar way to the Cloud but with a few notable benefits such as not having to pay usage fees, no storage capacity limits, you can upgrade your storage any time you want, and no there's worries or fears over privacy; your data is all stored in your home and not in a server room in some foreign country.
The best part of having a NAS in your home though is that it acts as a sort of redundancy for all your data. As our lives become increasingly reliant on technology I think we have become complacent about what can happen when that technology fails. These are still machines we are talking about and machines can still malfunction and fail at any time.
A NAS will have a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) backup system which is a fancy way of saying your NAS will always be mirroring on one drive everything that goes on on the other drives. If the main drive fails, the RAID drive has a perfectly mirrored image of what was on there to allow you to restore your data.
Synology has made it very easy to set-up and configure what might seem like a complicated piece of technology. Fear not!
The tool for launching and managing your DiskStation is actually all done through your browser. It's very convenient and very intuitive.
The DiskStation will identify nearby networks and will easily connect to whichever network you have your other devices connected to so make sure your phones, tablets, and especially desktop computers are all on the same network that you want the NAS to operate on!
Next the DiskStation will update itself to ensure it has the latest firmware before setting up something called Quick Connect which allows you to…surprise…connect quickly to the NAS! This is done through a desktop shortcut, or you can create a browser bookmark, which opens a browser window allowing you access to your data.
The Features and Services
When the set-up is complete and you first enter the NAS portal you will see some very important diagnostic information on the right hand side of your screen. This is a very important thing to realize about an NAS, it's still a computer! It still has a CPU and RAM and a storage capacity (which can always be expanded). It's not just a data retrieval tool, it can compute and run processes and services as well.
In the DiskStation these services can be found in the ‘Package Center' where you can install different ‘Packages' to perform certain functions. Some of these might be backup functions which allow you to backup your contacts, photos, or videos if you don't want to use Apple or Google for this service. Other packages might be communication functions that allow you to set-up your own chat portal or broadcast your own podcasts like I do with Grey Matters.
By far the most popular way to use your NAS at home is using it as a media server. Storing all your movies, TV shows, photos, music, and even games on your NAS allows all your devices across all your rooms to access them. This provides you flexibility and control over what you watch and where you watch it.
These Network Attached Storage Devices such as the one I have from Synology are the gift that keeps on giving and the more you use it the more uses you will find for it.
Until next time,
Have fun storming the castle!
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