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Back up your data - Network Storage

Network Storage

If you have more than one computer, a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device may be a better alternative to an external hard disk for backups. Given the ever decreasing cost of disks and RAID systems, it is now practical and cost effective to back up a large number of machines onto a server's local disk or network storage. They provide incremental and full-system, continuous, automatic backup for network connected workstations.

NAS systems contain one or more hard disks, often arranged into logical, redundant storage containers or RAID arrays (redundant arrays of inexpensive/independent disks). Unlike a direct attached storage, NAS sits on a network as its own entity, which makes it ideal for storage across a local network of machines.

NAS provide incremental full-system backup bare-metal syste restoration encryption for individual files or entire volumes. But they offer significantly more than simply a general centralized storage facility. Typically they can provide load-balancing fault tolerant email and web systems, some drives also offer FTP, BitTorrent clients, iTunes media server, Bluetooth, remote access, IP security camera support, and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP functionality).

There are open source NAS-oriented distributions of Linux available, such as the popular FreeNAS, which supports a wide range of protocols, software RAID, local user authentication and more. NAS-oriented distros are usually configured using a web browser.

Many NAS drives run an embedded Linux operating system. Major manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, Seagate, Qnap, and Netgear all produce Linux based NAS storage devices. Some of these are real heavyweights offering up to 8TB of storage. At the other end of the spectrum home users may find a Mini NAS enclosure solution to fit their needs. For example, the Addonics Mini NAS lets you install a 2.5" SATA hard drive or Solid State Drive, providing a highly portable low cost (under 70 US dollars) backup device.

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Jump ahead:

1. Introduction - Optical Discs
2. External Hard Disks
3. Network Storage (current page)
4. Online Backup Services (next page)
5. Tape Drives
6. Solid State Storage

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Last Updated Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 09:39 AM EST

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