A NAS server is often used to back up images, music, video and files, but can also be used for many other things. For example, if you want to stream your entire music collection to your multiroom system, a NAS server will be a great place to store your music files. If you also have a large DVD or Blu-ray collection, you can burn all the discs and place them on the ceiling and instead store the contents on your NAS server. Then you have the option to watch all your movies on a Smart TV, Apple TV or via a Raspberry Pi.
Most NAS servers come without a built-in hard drive, so you have the option to choose how many GB or TB you want your NAS server to have. When you buy a hard drive for your NAS server, it is important to choose NAS hard drives as these are suitable for 24 hours of use compared to the usual 8 hour usage per day. If you put an ordinary hard drive into your NAS server, it will wear faster and you will lose everything you have saved.
There are many major manufacturers that make NAS servers. The most popular brands are Synology and QNAP, as they make full solutions. Other brands such as ASUSTOR, Netgear, Seagate and WD also produce some really good NAS products.
To guard against data loss and achieve higher performance, it is a good idea to choose a NAS server with RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10. For private use, it is most common to use RAID 1 and RAID 5 as you get high security.
RAID 0 does not secure you against data loss, but instead increases the performance of your drives. With RAID 0, the system sees all of your hard drives as one which provides a higher write and read speed. However, if one breaks, you lose all your files.
RAID 1 does not give you higher performance, but ensures you against data loss. Half of your hard drives mirror the others so you always have a full backup of your entire file collection.
RAID 5 can be said to be a good mix between RAID 0 and 1. A RAID 5 setup consists of at least 3 drives, the first 2 being used for storage and the last hard drive for backup. The files are stored across the 2 drives and should one hard drive break, you still have a backup of the entire system. If you buy a new hard drive and put it in, the system copies your entire collection and you have lost nothing.
RAID 6 is almost equal to RAID 5. Instead of having one backup hard drive, you have two in a RAID 6 setup. Thus, two drives can break simultaneously without you losing any of your files. RAID 6 is especially suitable for professional use.
RAID 10 is a mix between RAID 0 and 1. Here you get the performance of RAID 0, while at the same time getting the security from RAID 1. In a RAID 10 setup, you must use at least 4 hard drives. 2 of the 4 hard drives work as one hard drive like in RAID 0, while the 2 other hard drives mirror the drives, thus achieving the same security as in RAID 1.
If you have a Chromebook, a NAS server can also be a great solution to expand your storage space as an alternative to what is currently available with SD cards. In addition to file storage, you can also use a NAS server for network camera monitoring, no matter if you need to monitor your home or use the cameras for professional use.