Of course, you need 10GbE equipment, which remains quite expensive per port, and is not readily available in consumer grade network gear. I use the QNAP in my rack as a central repository for my music, so I can record with local caching and edit from several different PCs. It also serves as a TimeMachine destination for several Macs, as well as the WordPress server for my personal website.
There are more than two dozen backup apps, including clients for many online storage services. Exploded view of the HSDX with the magnetically secure front panel off and the drive trays extended. If you know Windows or macOS, or Linux… you can use it.
Beyond that and things get difficult in a hurry. Then you have tool tips that do nothing but mimic the item name, plus help that often reads more like advertising than help. The HSDX is fast, can hold a lot of data, and can fill a multitude of roles along with its rather unique multimedia mission. A Windowed browser interface, and a multitude of apps including video surveillance and Web serving spice up the deal. But the price of admission is steep, and the box is overkill for the average user.
It's also not particularly easy to set up or use. At a Glance. Conclusion The HSDX is fast, can hold a lot of data, and can fill a multitude of roles along with its rather unique multimedia mission. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. If you already own a bank of hard drives you intend to install, you'll want to look for such validation.
If yours are not on the list, it doesn't mean they won't work, but if you are buying drives new, it's best to stick with the NAS maker's recommendations. IronWolf Pro drives are rated for service in enterprise or commercial situations. As we mentioned earlier, NAS units that have more than one drive are built to offer the option for redundancy, so in two- and four-drive configurations the extra disks can simply "mirror" the contents of the other drive. Example: A two-bay unit with two 4TB drives would offer only 4TB of usable storage if you leave it in mirror mode.
The other drive is in a sense invisible, as it's used to make a second copy of all the files from the other drive in the background. Usually, the user has the option to reconfigure the drives to gain the capacity of the second drive, if desired. One way you can do this is via "striping," in which the data will span both drives. Striping by itself is chancy; under some circumstances, it enhances the speed of reads and writes, since you're accessing two drives at once.
But if either disk fails, it's possible that all your data will be lost, so we don't recommend this approach. It essentially doubles the failure risk. This is marginally safer than just basic striping, but any data you save to a given drive is still vulnerable to the failure of that specific mechanism. It's also possible to combine striping and mirroring across three or more drives for enhanced speed and data security. In such an arrangement, the NAS would copy the data across the drive array in such a way that the failure of one of the drives would allow the NAS to reconstruct the array and thus save your data if you swap in a replacement drive.
This is mainly of interest to business users that need to maximize both redundancy and data transfer rates. If you think a NAS drive will let you stream any type of media you have to any device or TV, keep in mind certain devices will only play certain types of files, and you'll need to get software and hardware to work together to make this happen. It needs to be in MP4 format to be recognized. It can be complicated, though, to guarantee that a specific file or file type will play on a given device, so look at the specs of the NAS closely to determine its capabilities.
A late development in NAS circles is special kinds of support for streaming 4K video, and the spec sheet is your friend in these cases. Some NAS with 4K acceleration will convert this high-resolution video on the fly to formats better suited to the bit rates of devices, such as smartphones, that are requesting it. This is an esoteric need at the moment, but know that some NAS makers will charge a premium for some of these features. It's also possible to get such on-the-fly transcoding for other, lesser resolutions.
Once they are plugged in, just like everything else on the NAS, they can be shared with all the connected users. USB 2. Some NAS units also have a "copy" button on the front panel designed to make copying the contents of an external drive, such as a flash drive, to the NAS a one-button-press affair. You just connect the drive and tap the button, and everything on the external drive is safely copied to the NAS to a predesignated location. NAS drives, by definition, will come with an Ethernet port, possibly two for redundancy or channel-bonding essentially, using two Ethernet connections to enhance speed with very high-end business models.
Recent high-end models may also offer the option for gigabit Ethernet, for screaming data transfer rates, though the throughput of platter hard drives makes this moot for most consumer and SOHO usage cases. That said, a few models come with a PCI slot that may let you install an enhanced network card. In addition to the above sharing features, most NAS drives let you send web links to people to allow them to access remotely certain files or folders located on your NAS.
Your NAS can thus serve like your own private Dropbox or Google Drive , but with way more storage capacity—and no monthly bill. Many NAS makers tout this. Look for the much-bandied term "personal cloud" around this kind of feature. With this functionality, you can also access the NAS itself from any internet connection, not just via your local network. As a result, you can download files you need on the road, or stream a movie or music files resident on your home NAS to your laptop in a hotel across the country or the world, network bandwidth permitting.
Most, but not all, NAS drives offer this kind of feature, so be sure to do your research before you pull the trigger if it's a must-have.
We wouldn't get a NAS without it. Below are the top NAS devices we've recently tested, ranging from simple home-oriented models to multiple-drive arrays that can serve dozens of users in an office environment. Whether you want to serve media files to the rest of the house, keep office documents in a single, accessible repository, or simply back up your digital life from your PCs , tablets , and mobile phones, there's a drive here for you.
For more storage options, take a look at our lists of the best external hard drives and the top SSDs , as well as our top-rated cloud storage services. Up to 5GbE speeds with link aggregation. Tool-less chassis. Good selection of apps. Cons: Drives not included. Mobile app has limited management options. Pros: Solid performance. Quiet operation. Dual 2. Toolless drive bays.
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Loads of apps. Pros: Speedy performance. Easy setup. Lots of ports. Generous selection of apps. Pros: Easy to install.
Offers 4K video transcoding. Supports numerous RAID configurations. Generous port selection. Cons: Does not come with hard drives. Easy to install.
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Lots of RAID choices. User-friendly operating system. Pros: Easy to configure. Fast performance. Tool-free drive installation.
Massive app catalog. Slightly noisy. Pros: Very easy to install and manage.
Robust apps. Stylish design.