NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE (NAS) drives connect directly to your router rather than to your desktop or laptop - and while this has some disadvantages (such as slower file transfer times, comparatively speaking), this setting has many benefits.
Initially, files on a NAS drive are accessible from any computer or device on your network and can even be accessed over the Internet. If you have a family repository of music, movies, and photos, or if you and your partners need access to a shared set of files and folders, a NAS is ideal. You do not need to remember to keep a specific computer turned on or a specific hard drive connected - NAS drives are always accessible, around the clock.
Another key benefit is data redundancy. Although you can get NAS drives with a single disk bay, most have two or more hard disk slots, and these drives can be configured in a number of ways: You can, if you wish, gather all the storage space together and deal with multiple disks as a single volume, giving you a serious amount of storage in one place.
Alternatively, you can have your NAS reflect the data on your hard drives to end up with drives that are exact copies of each other. All of this is handled automatically by NAS motion software, so it 's really simple to operate.
Many of these disk functions are referred to as RAID or Redundant Array of Independent Disks: RAID 0 in the case of combined storage and RAID 1 in the case of "mirrored disks", for example. While buying multiple hard drives and a NAS drive to hold them means extra expense, you can set up configurations that are not possible with the hard drives you have on your desktop or laptop.
NAS drives are also able to run their own applications, so you could have a NAS connected to your Dropbox account or one running a custom VPN for you. Another popular option for NAS drives is Plex, which lets you store audio, video and images in your storage and stream them. (It's a bit like having your own private Spotify service or Netflix.)
If you're convinced that a NAS drive is for you - whether to back up key files, stream movies at home, or whatever - then you have many different models to choose from, at any price. While this type of network storage management may seem daunting to the novice, modern NAS drives are not at all difficult to configure or use.
Setting up a NAS Drive
We can not give you detailed instructions for configuring every NAS driver on the market, but we can give you an example of how to configure a NAS to give you an idea of what it includes - namely the Synology DiskStation DS220 +. The two-bay unit is ideal for users who need an affordable, simple NAS with great flexibility. Other NAS units will have similar setup procedures - especially other Synology models.
Depending on where you buy your NAS, it may already have hard drives installed, but if not, this is your first job: NAS specifications will tell you which hard drives are compatible, and then you can enter the market and buy as much storage space as you need. Most modern NAS drives have hard disk ports that are easy to use and in most cases you will not even need a screwdriver to mount your disks.
With that, it's time to set up your NAS: This is usually done via a web interface on a desktop or laptop connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your NAS. In the case of Synology DS220 +, once the drive is located, you will need to download and install the DiskStation Manager software, which handles formatting, file transfers, and other disk operations on NAS Synology drives.
Before you can start transferring files between your NAS and your other devices, you'll need to select a disk format - here you'll find options like RAID. Do your research in advance to make sure you choose the right configuration for you (although in the case of Synology drives, each option is fully explained to you via the interface). You will also need to provide one Username and a password to restrict access to the basic settings on the NAS.
Assuming everything is set up correctly, you can access your NAS drive through your web browser as well as File Explorer (in Windows) and Finder (in macOS) - you can start moving files just like you would any other drive. You can also choose to install additional utilities (which Synology calls packages) for a number of specific uses: starting a Plex media server, for example, or using the NAS as an automated backup destination.
Remote access when you are away from home is done through a web browser and with Synology disks this is called QuickConnect. You must first enable the feature through the NAS settings, and then you will receive a custom URL - enter it in any browser tab, enter your username and password, and you can download your files from anywhere if you are.
There are also mobile apps that have been developed to do whatever you might want to do on NAS: DS File for Android and iOS, for example in the case of Synology drives. You can use these apps to do everything from backing up photos you take on your smartphone to streaming movies from your NAS, and again, you'll be able to access your NAS whether you're at home Wi-Fi network or remotely.
Source of information: wired.com