Network-attached storage (NAS) is simply the ticket for storing and streaming your personal movies, music, and digital pictures round the home and even the world over. It may be similar to Spotify, YouTube, or Netflix, besides with your personal media.

NAS can also be immensely useful for backing up and synchronizing the info in your computer systems and cellular units. Backing as much as native storage is way quicker than counting on a cloud service akin to DropBox or OneDrive, and the identical goes for restoring an unintentionally deleted file or recovering from a crashed system.

It’s additionally straightforward to arrange a NAS field to perform similar to these cloud providers, enabling entry from wherever on the earth. In truth, NAS field builders have taken to calling their merchandise “private clouds” in an effort to make the idea extra acquainted to shoppers.

Updated June 19, 2019 so as to add our evaluation on the Synology DS419slim NAS box. Being designed to accommodate 2.5-inch mechanisms—we examined it with SSDs—this NAS field can pack 4 drives into the footprint a 2-bay field made for 3.5-inch drives would occupy. It’s additionally significantly shorter. But as a lot as we prefer it, it doesn’t displace any of our present high picks on this class.

To get the most effective of each worlds, most bins will sync with cloud storage providers, offering one other layer of information redundancy and disaster-recovery choices. If you expertise a catastrophe at dwelling—a flood, fireplace, or earthquake—you’ll no less than have the peace of thoughts that comes with understanding your information is safely backed up at one other bodily location.

A phrase on pricing: Not all NAS field producers additionally construct laborious drives, so a lot of them promote these bins “unpopulated;” i.e., with none laborious drives put in. When you’re evaluating costs, be sure to know whether or not or not the drivers are included. If you’re not conversant in formatting a tough drive or establishing an array of drives, you would possibly discover it extra handy to purchase a NAS field that’s populated and able to go proper out of the field.

Best NAS field for media streaming and backup

The WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra is without doubt one of the least-expensive two-bay NAS bins you’ll discover, however it’s nonetheless very quick; the truth is, it was almost as quick because the business-oriented Netgear ReadyNAS 212, which prices twice as a lot. That’s a mix that’s laborious to beat. We’ve picked the unpopulated model right here, however you should purchase one with the drives already put in and configured as RAID 1 for information redundancy (a 4TB configuration costs $349 on Amazon).

All of the bins within the My Cloud collection characteristic the identical easy-to-use interface, and this mannequin comes with a wholesome assortment of apps, together with an onboard DLNA media server. You may even plug a Z-Wave dongle into its USB port and use it as a smart-home management middle. WD’s consumer-oriented My Cloud Mirror (Gen 2) is actually the identical product with fewer business-oriented options. Populated My Cloud Mirrors are barely cheaper than populated EX2 fashions ($299 for a 4TB model on Amazon), however you’ll be able to’t purchase one unpopulated.

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