What Expandability Can A NAS Offer?


When looking for a Network Attached Storage device what Expandability is there?

Expandability:

This covers a wide range of things when it comes to network storage so we’re going to talk about the main two we see falling under this category.

Storage Expandability:

With multiple bay NAS units you don’t always (or sometimes can’t) populate all of the drive bays at once, so it’s handy to look for a feature like Netgears X-Raid or Synology’s Hybrid RAID (SHR).
Which basically allows you to add additional drives and it will either automatically start mirroring the content of the existing drive(s) onto the newly installed drive(s) also known as a Mirrored RAID Array (In a two bay NAS this is typically RAID 1). Or if you have a Striped RAID Volume such as RAID 0 which would be one large partition spanned across two drives, for example if you have a single 1TB drive installed and you add another 1TB drive, the NAS will expand your storage space to 2TB but you wont have to re-map your network drives or lose any files as it’s just expanded the empty space onto the newly installed drive. This in my opinion if you’re forever filling drives and have a multiple bay NAS that you can’t fully populate with drives from day one then this feature is a must have in our opinion.

Feature Expandability:

As a lot of modern NAS devices are based around Unix or Linux operating systems and therefore support packages (software) for their distrobution, if you’re running Fun_Plug for example there are lots of software packages available however some people find this approach a little too complex or mundane to be a viable option for adding additional features to your NAS however a lot of manufacturers are adding their own packages and options to add additional features using their own package mangement and distribution system for example QNAP support QPKG :

This option is ideal for somebody looking to utilize their NAS to replace some basic (or even complex) functions of a desktop PC or server. The reason for this would be that Network Attached Storage devices are significantly smaller and use much less power than a traditional PC or server, also their smaller hardware is getting more and more powerful by the day (Intel ATOM, AMD Fusion and ARM chips for example) which means these units and features are actually making ideal replacements for certain day to day functions. Such as hosting a website from home or even hosting an internal website in the office. Installing Twonky Media Server allowing you to stream music and video to your other DLNA or uPnP devices on the network. These devices can also be teamed up with Torrent packages and Usenet programs to download your favorite web content while you sleep without the need for leaving your PC on all night and wasting more valuable fossil fuels meaning you’re single-handedly saving the environment, good for you!

Summary:

Drawing this short article to an end I’d like to just cover that when you’re buying a NAS device there’s lots of features and expandability that you will have to consider and take into account. You can just buy a networked hard disk enclosure that lets you share a file or drive on your network with no features or expandability at all. But what happens when you want to take it that one step further and do more with your networked storage? Well that’s where the above two sections come into it and you should really take both of these into consideration when buying your Network Attached Storage device.

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