NAS or not to NAS

Been reading about NAS and with 2 computers to upgrade and daughters that have a stack of photos some of which are not backed up I wondered if this would be a solution. I have no idea if it is – colour me clueless on this one. The setup:

me: 2 mac minis that are almost the same in content. Each has a HD attached, likewise they too are almost similar. My laptop/netbook contents can be ignored.
jacq: laptop running Vista
girls: macbook each

Images/files should be shared as we exchange those by email or usb right now, music really should be shared so Jacq can access all of her music upstairs. I have yet to find the equivalent of a digital jukebox with a really clear display and easy to use controls (an ipod touch is not the answer here as good as they may otherwise be for reduced sight and hand mobility). So I understand that a NAS keeps everything together, you add drives to add redundancy and once you are set up everything goes swimmingly. Or do I not need one as it would be overkill and could be done – that is automatic backups and sharing – much more cheaply? Wifi or wires? Plug and Play?

6 thoughts on “NAS or not to NAS

  1. I have absolutely zero experience with Mac-based NAS, so I won’t comment on that. Plus my computer is my NAS (currently at about 7 terabytes in this thing). hehe

    Anyway, you want wired for sure, ideally gigabit. You’ll thank me for it when you’re trying to transfer files over the network. Wireless is painfully slow.

    For my network, I run my normal 100mbit router and then I have a sub-network using a gigabit switch for my gigabit devices as gigabit routers aren’t cheap.

  2. The wired is where I will get unstuck. Mine are upstairs, girl’s could be anywhere, Jacq’s is on the dining table. So maybe an initial wired backup then changes only? That shouldn’t be too painful and as most changes take place up here I should be wired in?

    7TB? nuts :)

  3. Not at all – heard good and bad about them just like others :)

    I love backups and I know I should do more for the others who know not and will trust me to magically have backups when things fail even though they haven’t told me that anything needs backing up. (that’s the women in this house and I’d hate to generalise….)

    What I don’t know is anything about it. Going to sites it appears they think you already know and this will not be a cheap thing. Also the distributed machines won’t help. So, if using a machine that they have to bring their computer to is part of the solution then it will be just as easy to buy another HD or even one each. It would be no more or less automated than a Drobo (or similar). So I don’t want to buy a technology that I don’t actually need because I can do it cheaper.

  4. If you went wireless you could create slightly lower res versions of your photos that would transfer quickly. Say 1024 or 1280 pixels on the longest side? Much better to have perfectly usable photos that are 150KB rather than 1500KB!

    You already have the powerline ethernet plugs, why not invest in another pair for the office to kitchen link?

    You could also have multiple copies of larger files. If you have a laptop downstairs for J then buy a 1TB usb drive and make an initial copy of your mp3/video collection. Then run a nightly rsync with your master copy in the office?

    If you had a Linux box I’d recommend Backuppc, and you can set it up to backup your websites too, all done at night when you’re asleep!

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