Question Considering NAS drive vs External storage

dat789

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For all things backup and archiving photos, and videos, I have had an external harddrive of 4 TB USB 3.0 that needs to be plugged into the wall for power. I have been using this for over 5 years now. I am concern about its lifespan and uncertain when it will begin to fail on me -- if it did, it will be painful! I mean, is this a valid concern at all?

So, just pre-empting and planning ahead for a possibility that it might break, would one recommend implementing a NAS drive with cloud access as a solution as an one up from the external harddrive? If so, what might the the things, features, specs to look out for for a decent and reliable one? That's the first option -- to buy. The other is to build one -- thinking of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. I've never done this before, so, if anyone has this and knows of a site you've used and would totally recommend, please share it.

How it will be used will not be any different from the external HDD -- power on and connect when I want to access the drive; power off when I'm done. I think the NAS drive is always on? (that's okay)
 

popatim

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Your external drive isn't a backup if it is the only copy of your data/files which is what it sounds like you are implying.
A drive dying on you should only be an inconvenience, not a disaster so i applaud you for planning now.
Valid backups involve having more then 1 copy of your precious data stored on separate devices.

A Nas drive need not be 'Always on' but is also not 'instant on' since it will need a minute to boot up.
I wouldn't bother with a Pi4 either, it doesn't have Sata ports leaving you needing to use USB drives which you might as well just connect to your PC instead.

Synology and Qnap are well respected in prebuilt NAS space but you also have open source options if you have an old PC about; Freenas, Unraid, Amahi, OpenMediaVault, Xpenology...
or use a free Linxu or BSD distro; even a copy of Windows if you have a spare will work good enough.
 

USAFRet

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If you already have most or all of the parts for an old PC, that can be an option.
If not, then a commercial NAS box is absolutely the way to go.

I have a 4 bay QNAP TS-453a, and can't say enough good things about it.
Synology is a good alternative, similar functionality.

Don't go down the Pi route unless you want to do it as a hobby.

In either case, more than one copy of your data is required, as indicated above.
 

dat789

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Ever heard of "What if your backup drive dies? What if your backup of backup dies?"

I used to burn everything onto DVDs. But I think it's safe to say that DVD medias are no longer in demand or not a popular choice anymore. They may still be the best solution.
 

dat789

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I did look up the QNAP TS-453a -- pricey! But I gather from you that you are completely happy with it. But if you had to complain about 1 thing about it, would you mind sharing? What then will make it perfect?

Does it have Wi-Fi connectivity?
 

USAFRet

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Backups in depth. There are generally 3 copies of anything that lives on the PC's. 2 copies of stuff that doesn't really matter, like the music library.
There is also a 4th copy offsite, of anything really important. If all that goes bad all at the same time, I have far bigger things to worry about.

Slightly modified since I wrote this, but...

Changes to the QNAP? Can't think of one. It does what it needs to do, no more, no less.
And they need not be pricey. A 2 bay can be had for ~$175.
https://www.newegg.com/qnap-ts-228a-us/p/N82E16822107984

WiFi? Why would I want to cripple it with a WiFi connection?
No...It's a little box that sits over on the other side of the room, connected directly to the router.
 

dat789

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I don't exactly know how it works.
So, you have the NAS connected directly to the router -- presumably a CAT5 cable. How does a laptop access files from the NAS?
 

USAFRet

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I don't exactly know how it works.
So, you have the NAS connected directly to the router -- presumably a CAT5 cable. How does a laptop access files from the NAS?
The NAS is its own little server. Shared volumes or folders are accessible from other client systems...all the regular Windows/Linux/Apple/Android boxes.
 

dat789

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Thanks!
So, I just purchased the QNAP TS-453BE-4G, and a compatible Seagate Ironwolf 12TB for it. Out of its 4 bay, it looks like I will only be needing one. I mean, is this kind of set up the same as having only ONE backup drive on the NAS? You know, like the one I have now with an external drive? Do I need another harddrive for the NAS?

12 TB is a lot more than I can eat. (LOL!)
 

USAFRet

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Thanks!
So, I just purchased the QNAP TS-453BE-4G, and a compatible Seagate Ironwolf 12TB for it. Out of its 4 bay, it looks like I will only be needing one. I mean, is this kind of set up the same as having only ONE backup drive on the NAS? You know, like the one I have now with an external drive? Do I need another harddrive for the NAS?

12 TB is a lot more than I can eat. (LOL!)
You can run it with a single drive.
But don't have that one single drive be the only location for your data.

For instance, a large movie collection, too big to fit in your PC.
So you have it on that 12TB. That would be a single location, and not advisable. It still needs a true "backup".
 

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