NAS

Network Attached Storage is a computer connected to the network.

In the past its function was to store and share files over the network.

Today it comes bundled with a lot more functionality.

In general a NAS is:

- headless (no screen, mouse, keyboard)

- low on power consumption,

- low noise

 

 

Talking entry level NAS here as there are also very powerful ones around.
For audio you don’t need a fast one.

 

Most of the time, a NAS is a computer running Linux.
Often it comes with a web interface allowing you to control the box without Linux knowledge.

 

A lot of people struggle using a NAS.

They plug it in and then what's next?
If you want to access files (file sharing) on a NAS over the network you have to do a couple of things.

  1. Make users. These are local users only known to the NAS.
  2. Make shares. These are the folders you are going to access (to share) over the network.
  3. Add users to the shares and specify their rights.
  4. On your PC connect to a share using the credentials of one of the NAS user’s you have created. Windows allows you to connect to multiple shares on a NAS but with one user only.

RAID

Multi bay models can be configured as RAID

RAID1 (mirroring) is a popular solution.
It requires 2 HDs only and the 2nd is a copy of the first.
If one drive fails you and you buy the replacement in time, the NAS will faithfully synchronize the 2.
But what if e.g. the controller of the NAS fails you.
Can you mount these drives in another NAS without formatting?
What in case of theft, fire or simple dropping the unit (cats, children, a beer to many)?
Not to mention the most common disaster, cockpit errors.
You screw up your tagging massively, delete the wrong files, etc.
Than you will notice that all your errors are faithfully replicated from one drive to the other and no way to roll back.


RAID is about high availability, not to be mistaken for a backup!


I recommend you get an external USB-HD (modern NAS do support this), make a backup and store this in a save place.
Because inevitably there will come a day you say to yourself "I should have made a backup".

NAS or external Hard Disk

An external HD is the easier of the two. Just connect it to your PC and you are up and running.
A NAS is adding another computer to your network.
You have to make shares, add users and give the users access rights to the shares.
If you are in to streaming, you have to configure the DLNA as well.

 

A NAS can be placed anywhere, out of sight and out of hearing.
In general it is frugal on energy so you leave it on 7x24.

Functionality

A modern NAS offers more functionality than file sharing only.

File server

This is the original use of a NAS.

A cheap solution to allow users to share files over the network.

Multimedia server

Today a NAS is often used as a multimedia server.

 

Download

Download files using Torrent or HTTP

FTP-server, Webserver, MySql

All you need to host your own website.

Personal Cloud

Accessing your data over the internet.

Router

Modern routers allows you to add an external HD.

Asus RT-AC66U

Router with 2 USB ports.

Services: UPnP, iTunes, FTP and SAMBA.

Add a external USB drive and you have your entry level NAS and a router at the same time.

NAS

Synology

Part of the interface (DiskStation) is the Audio Station.

Audio Station supports streaming music to computers, USB speakers, media renderers, AirPlay or Bluetooth devices.

You can even attach an USB-DAC.

 

Added 2015

QNAP HS-251+

A fanless design. Populate it with SSD's for a silent operation.

HDMI output and a remote control.

 

You can centrally manage and stream photos, music and videos from the HS-251+ to different rooms from a single device using Bluetooth® & USB devices connected to the HS-251+ (for music streaming only), HDMI, DLNA®, Apple TV® and Chromecast™

Added 2015