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As technology demands continue to grow in the home, consumers face an increasing number of technology challenges and find themselves functioning as household “IT Directors". With the advent of downloadable music, digital photography and video from multiple sources, as well as the growing number of files stored on computers for work, school or household management, ensuring this data is stored safely and easily accessible can quickly become another chore.
Central to this issue is where should data be stored? Should it reside on local disks on desktop or laptop computers or on a centralized shared network storage device? And what about all the data stored on smart phones and tablets?
Local storage happens almost by default. Today’s desktops and notebooks ship with a significant amount of storage capacity. It is not uncommon to find desktops with disks larger than 500 GB. Even the least expensive netbooks feature 160 GB disks, while the average tablet ships with 32 to 64 GB. With so much storage capacity available, it is easy to slip into the belief that data should be stored on local disk drives. After all, it’s right there at your finger tips. Plus, both the Windows and the Macintosh operating systems support simple file sharing and provide security with user logins and passwords.
However, storing data – like those precious memories from a family vacation or a video of your child’s first steps – on your computer’s local drives is fraught with a number of risks:
To avoid these risks, you should consider a centralized data storage policy.
As consumers, we rarely consider the sophisticated network sharing system we experience in the workplace as something to add in our home. But that is beginning to change as more and more homes are installing devices to stream programming and games on television sets and setting up wireless routers to allow for more mobile computer use, such as in the backyard.
But how does that relate to centralized storage, you ask? Centralized storage involves setting up a Network Attached Storage (NAS) hard drive to your wireless router. In doing so, you are creating a central network drive with which you and other members of the household can connect to from their individual computers or tablets. This drive can be used to store large amounts of data (we’re talking terabytes where 1 TB = 1000 GB) that can be accessed from any computer or device attached to the network. Especially with tablet computers that feature such a small amount of storage space, centralized storage is a great place to store music, photo and video files, which you can then access from an Internet connection – even if you are away from home.
The benefits of centralized storage include:
A Network Attached Storage device (NAS), which is optimized for storing and serving files, can provide the benefits of centralized file storage but presents unique advantages and disadvantages.
NAS devices are easily configurable by non-IT professionals. User-friendly web interfaces and installation wizards ensure that a NAS can be fully operational in about 15 minutes. Additional storage capacity can be added to an existing network by deploying a NAS. Since the NAS device is being added to the network, there would be no downtime. NAS devices can integrate into an existing network environment. Virtually all NAS products provide cross platform support for Windows, Macintosh and Linux/Unix clients. No special configuration is required.
For the growing IT needs in your home, centralized NAS storage offers a number of advantages over a local storage model, and today’s NAS products provide a very cost-effective and scalable alternative for local storage.