Tag Archives: NAS

the benefits of nas

The Benefits of Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

So you’re looking for a more effective way of sharing and storing your data, and you’ve come across Network-Attached Storage – otherwise known as NAS, for short. But what is it exactly and how does it work? Here we’ll explain all:

What is Network-Attached Storage?

You could create extra storage by connecting a USB External Hard Drive to your computer – or you could use Network-Attached Storage. By allowing multiple devices to have access to the same data over the internet, this creates a more efficient means of data management along with offering backup of essential information on a frequent basis. So in a nutshell, NAS offers centralised storage.

What are the benefits of Network-Attached Storage?

The key benefits of network-attached storage are mainly speed and convenience. While hard drives will always be the most common choice when it comes to storage, you may find that you could be restricted with their use – as such devices are often limited in use due to the type of computer it’s connected to. Instead of a hard drive connecting to your computer, NAS connects to your wireless router – enabling multiple users from multiple devices to access the files on the network. So, if you’re at home and have a number of PCs and printers, this provides the quickest and most efficient way for everyone to acquire and share the relevant data.

Improves collaboration

By connecting to the network, this aids sharing and collaboration so as to allow users of the network to collaborate more effectively on a project – as any digital data saved to a NAS drive can be accessed from one universal location. So not only can anyone accessing the network get to their desired files and folders between computers with ease – they can also share said digital content. Many NAS units offer options for connecting to your storage remotely meaning you (or friends and family) have access to your files anywhere in the world – effectively your own private cloud storage. Of course as soon as you open your files up to the big wide world you should ensure you have secure passwords and where possible configure firewalls to give you as much protection as possible – with different NAS devices offering different options for this. Some might be simple FTP access and others offer slightly more advanced VPN access or via the manufacturer’s servers.

Which devices can I link to my NAS?

You can hook up your printers, computers as well as USB cameras with your NAS device.

Does my NAS back up my data?

When it comes to backing up your data, RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is your best option. By using two or more hard disks, this helps provide a level of security in the event of a system failure – ideal for NAS.

Configuring the NAS setup

Another great advantage is that NAS provides the ability to customise your storage settings i.e. add even more hard drives when configuring your setup. This offers two useful benefits: one, simply upgrade your storage without ever needing to transfer your data to an external drive – all that’s required is a second drive. Fortunately the majority of NAS systems provide enough space to fit in two hard drives, so having that extra storage solution can be considered a lifesaver. Your second advantage with NAS is setting up two or more drives into a RAID array – whereby you pair multiple drives together to enhance redundancy, performance, or even both.

There are 6 types of RAID. The most common being RAID 0 (striped array), RAID 1 (mirrored array) and RAID 5:

RAID 0 is the simplest way to combine all of your drives into the largest single volume possible, by splitting your data across all the drives (known as striping). It offers performance benefits because the RAID controller is able to write to multiple drives at once but offers no redundancy so it is not suitable for important irreplaceable data.

RAID 1 effectively replicates what is one drive onto another. At best it offers the same performance as a single drive (at worst it can reduce write performance as write speeds will be dictated by the slowest drive). It does however offer full redundancy in the event of a single drive failure. If you’re using an external hard drive and it suddenly packs up on you then this spells trouble – but should one of your RAID 1 NAS drives be affected, the second drive has stored your data so you can easily recover your library.

RAID 5 is by far the most popular and is a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1. It requires a minimum of three drives with one drive acting as a ‘parity drive’. Data is striped (like RAID 0) across n-1 drives (n being the total number of drives in your RAID array) meaning you have the performance benefits of RAID 0. The parity drive means in the event of a single drive failure it is possible to rebuild the entire array (much like RAID 1). This does however mean that you are vulnerable after a drive failure until the RAID is rebuilt (the time it takes to re-establish the parity drive) meaning you can still potentially lose all of your data. For this reason RAID 6 has been developed to supersede RAID 5 allowing failure of up to two drives for large arrays. The downside to this is that you need two parity drives so you get less total storage for your money, and as array sizes increase, RAID 6 becomes even more essential.

Why should I choose NAS?

We’ve already covered the fact that NAS is ideal for users looking to share files, storage capacity, printers plus its regular backup service. But why choose NAS as your preferred storage solution?

Media streaming

Now that you’ve become accustomed to sharing your files, you can now allow other devices such as a media player have access to your media library. Acting like a DVD player, your media player can display photos, play your music and films from a hard drive connected to it – or simply play files direct from your NAS. This eliminates the need to keep numerous copies of the same files.

Printer sharing

If your computer is attached to a USB printer, this lets you print your documents off with ease – but can be an annoyance for someone else who needs to print something but whose computer isn’t the primary computer connected to the USB printer. NAS solves this problem by connecting to the USB printer, thus sharing this printer with the rest of the devices in the household.

Remote access

With NAS, you can share your files from anywhere within the home – but many NAS devices offer remote access capability so you can access your files anywhere in the world. This means you can play your favourite song within your web browser, or share your photo album with friends while you’re on the move.

How much will NAS cost?

Costs will depend on how much storage you’re after – an entry-level NAS can start around £50 but you’ll only be running on a small amount of memory with a slow processor to boot. For NAS to cater for more simultaneous users for heavy-loaded applications such as media streaming or hosting a website, you could be looking at around the £400 mark. Quite simply, the best way to determine how big a NAS you need is to add the entire storage of household’s devices – then double it.

How do I install a Network-Attached Server?

This is a relatively simple process, but before undertaking the installation, bear in mind the following:
• What are your backup options?
• Which users will have access to the NAS server?
• What will the permission levels be for each user?
• What types of files will be shared?
It’s recommended that users should have their own account, thereby customising permission levels for each person.

Installing a NAS server for Windows users

With Windows, the NAS server should automatically display in the Network Places folder once the setup process is complete. If not, users should select the Tools drive on My Computer (this can be found under the Map Network Drive option). Select an empty letter that shows up in a free drive, but don’t use a drive that’s been used before. Then, choose between linking the NAS server for one-off use or on a regular basis – and then you’ll be granted access to the NAS server.

Installing a NAS server for Mac users

Quite often, many of the same systems will be implemented to help you with setting up the NAS server. Most come with a wizard function to walk you through installation, where once installed, the NAS device will appear in the Finder’s list of shared folders. If not, simply enter the IP address of the installed server to gain access to the shared files.

What are the best NAS solutions?

When choosing the best NAS solution for you, take into account how much storage you need as well as what you’ll be using it for. We stock a variety of NAS devices, from the Synology DS214 for its high quality video streaming to the QNAP HS-210 2-Bay Slimline that’s not just for the home but for the living room too. Sample some of our best-sellers, including the cost-friendly D-Link ShareCenter 2-Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure complete with mydlink™ Cloud Services and mydlink™ access app for access any time, anywhere or the impressive Buffalo LinkStation 220 Series 4TB (2 x 2TB) 2-Bay NAS designed to manage intensive data storage tasks.

To find out more about NAS, call on our experts over at Facebook or Twitter – let us help you find the right NAS solution today!

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Win A WD Media Streaming Kit During February 2011

Dabs.com have teamed up with Western Digital to offer a fantastic prize pack of Western Digital Live Streaming Equipment. During February you can win over £300 simply by answering the question via the link below.

The prize pack includes everything you need to STORE, STREAM and PLAY!

STORE with the Western Digital 1TB My Book Live NAS
STREAM with the Western Digital Livewire 4-Port Powerline AV Network Kit
PLAY with the Western Digital WD TV® Live Hub™ 1TB

Click here to enter by answering a question and submitting your details

Good Luck!

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Win a Samsung Tellybox, 3TB, ChristNAS, Welephant and Bad Jokes

“Don’t Call It A Come Back!” 

Hello. It’s me. Dunc. Remember me?

Old faithful readers of Dunc’s Deal will realise that it’s been three long weeks since my last update. I’m not one for excuses, but I will let you know why I’ve been MIA. Two weeks ago was the morning after the infamous Dabs Diamond Awards – and yes as per your voting I wore the kilt! In true Diamond Awards fashion, we were all feeling a little delicate the morning after, and all my hazy mind would focus on was Dominos Pizza. Then last week – as kindly documented by Michelle – I was MIA! I actually took a little holiday – which I know shouldn’t be allowed, as the Customer Service team have been telling me all week!

I’m back now and fully refreshed, so let’s get back to the deals! Make sure you subscribe to the blog so you can get RSS updates whenever we post!

8GB iPod TouchLast week Michelle launched a great promotion for you guys to win an iPod – but guess what – you didn’t take advantage! Shame on you! So for one week (ends 11/11/10) I am going to extend the offer  for you to win an 8GB iPod Touch. Simply place your order and email me via duncsdeals@dabs.com with your order number. I will then enter you into the draw and will announce the winner next week.

 As mentioned in my last post, the dabs.com forum is up and running, and in under three weeks we have already racked up 1,000 posts and over 450 members! Thanks to all the active posters and readers of the forum. If you’re not a member, make sure you sign up today and take advantage of the community knowledge and platform to get in touch with us!

Since I got back we’ve all been busy in the office preparing for everyone’s* favourite time of year – Christmas! This week our head of Design, Mike, has been chained to his desk and been plied with Dominos Pizza in order to get our Christmas Consumer Catalogue out of the door. Many of you will receive it through the post over the coming weeks and the rest will be able to access it online with the digital edition which is coming soon!

*everyone except Michelle – the marketing manager – who makes Scrooge look festive! 

The catalogue is packed full of festive deals and offers – some of which I’ve been working on myself! They include the fantastic Synology Santa and our Merry ChristNAS promotion which gives you the chance to win Apple iPods just for buying Network Attached Storage from dabs! 

 

PRODUCT NEWS! 

This industry never ceases to amaze me! In just three weeks the amount of product news I could deliver here is mind-boggling! I’ve selected a few gems for you that you should definitely consider!

First up is the long awaited and hugely sought after 3TB internal hard drives from WD. The storage giant broke rank and got the 3TB beats to market first – even ensuring they have a ready made solution for the Operating System inability to hand over 2.2TB! The new drives, available in 2.5TB and 3TB options, ship with the Host Bus Adapter required to overcome the software issue! Stock on the 3TB is expected later this month – get your orders on today to avoid disappointment. 

As Michelle mentioned last week the new range of ATI Radeon graphics cards hit the shelves last week – the new 6800 series delivered the 6870 and 6850 at fantastic new price points – ensure you check out the ranges. 

What’s fast and Portable and coming into stock on dabs.com?

*Drumroll* 

Well it’s the brand new WD My Passport range with USB 3.0 connectivity

*Ripple of groans from around the office* 

It’s no joke! Check them out today

Promotion-wise, we’ve teamed up with Shuttle to give you the chance to win a Samsung LE32C530 32″ 5 Series 1080p FullHD LCD TV worth over £350 in November! The promotion is simple – just buy any of the Shuttle products shown on the promo page during November and you will automatically go into a draw to win when your order has been shipped. To find out more click here

 

PRODUCT DEALS – AND CHALLENGE DUNC ROLLS ON! 

Thanks for filling up my Dunc’s Deal inbox while I was away – once again, the response to “Challenge Dunc” has been immense and I am going to keep the doors open via email or speak to Dunc. Keep the suggested deals, ‘Price Match Challenges’ and any requests coming in, and ill do all I can to help!   

With the office currently buzzing about upcoming trip to the darts (or ‘the arrows’ for those in the know), this week I’ve been influenced by Bullseye hero, Bully – so… 

Iiiiiin 1! ATI Lovers can bag the XFX Radeon 5770 1GB, currently £109.99, yours today for £106.99!
Iiiiiin 2! NVIDIA fans can get the Gigabyte GTX 460 1GB, currently £169.98, yours today for £164.99!
Iiiiiin 3! There has never been a better time to self-build with this Asus Intel Value Bundle with Motherboard and CPU, currently £144.98, yours today for £139.99!
Iiiiiin 4! No discounts here, it’s already an amazing price! The Seagate 500GB MomentusXT Hybrid Hard Drive gives you SSD-Like Performance at an affordable price! Only £94.98!
Iiiiiin 5! Save yourself £10 on the Samsung 1TB Portable Hard Drive, currently £84.98, yours today for £74.98

Remember, keep spreading word about the blog offers and let me know about when you mention the blog online as you WILL bag yourself a freebie! 

 


MATCHES MATCHES NEVER TOUCH!
 

 The age old adage is never more apt than on Bonfire Night! Tonight’s the night millions of us will risk life and limb for a sparkler and a dream! Dogs will seek refuge under dining tables while people will stand in the rain for hours eating toffee apples and edging closer to flames licking off door frames and old pallets.

Enjoy your fire-filled weekends, but stay safe, or I’ll send Welephant round – he was at our school every year to make sure we were safe from the hazards of flame! Remember remember the 5th of November… and remember remember to stop by next week for more Dunc’s Deals updates!