Cloud services like Google Photos, Drive, OneDrive, iCloud almost made us forget how we used to manage our photos and videos in the era before smartphones. Days when we used to back up manually and store them in pencil drives and external drives.
Cloud service has almost convinced people to move to a more modern, streamlined and easy-to-use option that not only allows for unlimited storage of our photos (Google Photos), but also offers convenience to share them with others in a single click. as well as accessing it from all devices.
However, last November, Google announced changes to its Google Photos storage policy. As of June 1, Google has ended unlimited storage on Google Photos. Post this, all photos backed up by Google Photos will be part of the 15 GB storage provided with all Google Accounts. This means that this 15 GB storage will be shared with other Google services such as Gmail, Documents and Drive. This means that users no longer receive unlimited storage for their photos.
This leads us to examine alternatives that may offer more storage. The most common and simple solution seems to be to buy additional storage from Google or any other cloud service provider. However, while it’s a good idea, the long-term costs aren’t really cheap.
We do simple math. For 100 GB of additional storage, Google One costs 1,300 rupees a year and 6,500 rupees at 2 TB. Now, in the long run, say five years, this figure becomes 32,500 rupees and you will still have to keep paying to continue using the service.
If you calculate, buying additional hard drives and storing photos on them can be relatively less expensive. You can get a 2 TB outdoor unit for about 6,000 euros or even less. You have so much storage at your fingertips, at no extra cost or monthly subscription.
What if you can set up these hard drives with the Internet and access them from anywhere, anywhere on all platforms. Well, that brings us to our second solution: create your own cloud service at home using the broadband connection and router you already have.
This is where you need to create a local NAS at home. Let’s understand the idea behind the whole system.
What is networked storage (NAS)
As mentioned, the NAS is a custom cloud storage of your data, which works similarly to Google Drive, OneDrive, or any other cloud service. Offers users the ability to store, manage, share, and access content locally or remotely from all of your devices. In simple terms, an external hard drive is connected to the Internet via an ethernet cable.
Network Attached Storage (NAS): configuration and functions
NAS systems are available in different formats. You can buy pre-configured ones from brands like WesternDigital or Seagate and download the compatible software or application to your laptop or smartphone and start using it.
Alternatively, you can obtain an uninhabited NAS enclosure with open compartments where hard disk drives can be inserted to add to the total storage capacity or replace the drives.
They need an IP / TCP Ethernet network to function, which is present in all routers and modems. It also provides controlled access to your data via local Wi-Fi and the Internet.
NAS devices with more than one hard drive bay support RAID for data redundancy, making it a reliable backup option. In addition, they support automatic backups as intended by Google.
We understand RAID configuration. It basically creates a clone of the main hard drive which reduces the risk of losing data in case something goes wrong with the main drive. You can simply replace it with the other drive and all content and data will be automatically transferred to the new drive.
NAS systems work on all operating systems and devices. You can access your data from anywhere in the world using the supported application or software or by creating FTP servers. For example, if you are using Western Digital NAS devices, you will need to download the WD Cloud application to access the data.
What are the advantages of network storage (NAS)
- Affordable and flexible storage option
- Easy to expand storage capacity
- Easy to set up and works with standard Ethernet connection
- Automatic backup of all connected devices on the local network
- Works with RAID configuration
- It offers users complete control of permissions, restricted access and more.
- These systems can be configured from 2 TB to 28 TB at home
Disadvantages of network attached storage (NAS) configuration
- High initial cost
- More risk of losing data compared to cloud storage
- Requires good internet connectivity and stable electricity
- It may not be as fast as cloud storage
- NAS solutions are limited in terms of the number of users or devices that can access the files at a time.
The real question is how they work and are as good as the cloud services offered by Google, Apple, Microsoft and others.
As already mentioned, a NAS is a hard drive connected to the Internet just like any data center in the cloud. The difference is that you use it on a small scale. Which makes it completely personal and solves two problems: the possibility of being hacked and limited storage
You can even set up a media service using a NAS. Services like Plex allow you to set up a home media server. This means you can simply transfer all your content, movies, videos, photos and set them up on your TV to access them directly from your storage in your local cloud.
The real offer is the freedom of monthly subscription programs. For the price of this, you can create 4TB of cloud storage at home and this can take you years, of course, depending on how you use it.