At home I use a Synology 1511+ NAS (Network Attached Storage) server for all my family's digital things. Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. For those folks who don’t trust their data in the cloud, the best storage solution is usually local, meaning either an external hard drive or a computer.
However, there are several disadvantages to storing everything locally on internal and external hard drives. Secondly, it can be really difficult and frustrating to access data stored on a single external hard drive from anywhere in the world on any device.
If you want the advantages of cloud storage, but the security of having everything locally stored, you should consider setting up personal cloud storage.
In my view, a network hard drive is a single hard drive inside a device that connects to the network and provides a web interface to control and access data. I recommend staying away from single network hard drive solutions because it’s pretty much the same thing as using a regular external hard drive, except you get all the cloud features. For example, if you consider the WD My Cloud Personal NAS, the single drive is really just a network hard drive. As you can see, though, you can get 8 TB worth of storage for about $400, which is not bad at all. All of the devices mentioned here support RAID on the NAS devices and it’s actually really easy to setup.
Considering you can get a dual drive 16 TB NAS for around $750, even being left with 8 TB is probably way more than enough for even creative professionals. Beyond the personal cloud benefits and being able to sync your data across all your different devices, NAS devices provide a lot of other benefits. Ability to backup entire NAS to online cloud storage services like Amazon S3, Glacier, etc.
As you can see, the benefits of having a NAS are much more than just having your own personal cloud storage. I personally have a WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra and a Synology DS 411+II and I find the Synology to be an absolutely amazing device. They have several mobile apps that work very well for managing the NAS, viewing your files, streaming photos and videos and for managing your personal cloud.
Whereas Synology pretty much has a separate app for everything, WD only has two apps, which aren’t that great at what they are supposed to do anyway. You can also check out the Expert Series, which is basically a more powerful NAS in addition to the cloud capabilities. Seagate is one of the biggest manufacturers of hard drives in the world, so it’s no surprise that they have also gotten into the NAS business. The drive only has about 3.5 stars on Amazon, with most people seeming to complain about the software.
There are obviously more choices for personal cloud storage, but these are your best choices on the market right now. About Online Tech TipsWelcome to Online Tech Tips – A blog that provide readers with daily computer tutorials, technology news, software reviews, and personal computing tips.
Thanks to iCloud physically plugging your different devices in so you can sync them has become a thing of the past. Apple’s iCloud is a web-based service that stores data and syncs it across multiple devices. Once you have entered your Apple ID you are then free to scroll down and browse all of the different options you have as far as syncing goes. When you scroll to the very bottom of the screen you notice an option for Storage & Backup. Get in the habit of backing up your data to iCloud frequently so that in the event that anything should get erased from your device you will always be able to recover it.
The Synology gives me virtually all the features I had when I was in love with the Windows Home Server.
I know it just came out but would you consider switching to windows server 2012 essentials. Why don't I build a private cloud at home, in my garage, so that I can get the experience of setting up the technology?Vijay told me I was crazy, so to prove just how easy it would be I did it anyway, and as a result I've had a private cloud running in my garage since early March.

Firstly, unless you have a good backup solution in place, you are more at risk of losing your data. Cloud storage services usually make this really easy by having desktop apps and mobile apps for accessing data. Personal cloud storage is also really good for anyone who has terabytes of data they need to store, but don’t want to pay the hefty monthly costs associated with anything over 1 TB. A NAS has multiple hard drives that can be configured in a RAID array, thereby providing in-built data protection. However, if the drive fails, you lose all your data, which may or may not be duplicated somewhere else. Not every device I mention below supports all of these features, except for Synolgy, so be sure to check the features on the device you are considering.
My Synology NAS is several years old, but can still be updated to the latest version of DSM (DiskStation Manager). What I like about Synology is that they are constantly updating their hardware and software so that it supports the latest technology. Overall, these devices are great, but they lack the feature set and finesse of the Synology products.
However, if you don’t care so much about all of these extra features, then the WD My Cloud products are still a good choice. I personally have not used their Personal Cloud Storage drives and I recommend doing your research before you buy anything. If something new comes out or something better, I’ll be sure to update this post with that information.
Transferring files from device to device is a very time consuming process that isn’t fun for anyone. If you need extra storage, you need to pay yearly fees acording to the size of storage you need. There is no doubt that once you see just how convenient iCloud is and how much easier it makes your life you will wonder how you ever lived without it. I can add a drive of any size and get more storage, I can install add-in packages for more functionality, and most importantly, everything has multiple copies.
It's a little expensive for home use but I imagine you could get a deal :) I'm using whs 2011 and every few days when I'm logged into it fixing some backup issue I keep thinking I need to find some other solution.
For example, after the 1 TB plan on Google Drive, it skips to 10 TB and you have to spend $99 a month. For example, if you take the 8 TB NAS above and use RAID 1, you’ll only have 4 TB of free space. All the major hard drive vendors have NAS devices with some sort of personal cloud option, but only a few work really well and have a suite of apps to manage the cloud data. I found them to be a little harder to setup and I didn’t like the selection of mobile apps.
I graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 2002 with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics.
From here your next step is to configure any features that you will want to share automatically and wirelessly across your devices. In order to sync any of these features with iCloud you must move the slider to on for whichever feature you wish to use. Using iCloud Storage & Backup is highly recommended as it will make it much easier when you need to restore a device wirelessly. Make sure to utilize the Storage & Backup as it will come in handy not only when you need to restore a device but also when you update iOS.
Now that you’ve got yourself set up it’s time to enjoy the benefits of all your information being synced wirelessly, automatically and effortlessly. If you put your drives into a RAID array, one drive can fail and you won’t lose any data.
If you use RAID 5, you’ll need at least 3 drives, but will get two-thirds of the total space of all three drives.
Even so, I wasn't able to deep dive into everything so if you have questions please fire them off in the comments and I'll be happy to keep the conversation going there. The Synology does support Amazon S3 as a remote backup location, but I find the opacity of my digital blobs in Amazon's S3 buckets systems frustrating.

S3 is great, but it's not an awesome cloud backup experience like some of the more consumer focused backup systems like CrashPlan* or BackBlaze. Sure, these guys might use S3 underneath, but as a consumer (or pro-sumer) I don't need to know or see that. My research had lead me through all of the NAS devices and other consumer options but at the end of the day I really wanted to build my own system.That realization led me to looking at some rack mountable servers with hot swappable SATA on eBay for hours on end.
When I finally found the right server, and it was enroute to me via the logistics loving courier, I realized that I wasn't far off from being able to set up a small private cloud with just a little more hardware.Technology ShuffleIn order to proceed with some confidence I needed to make a few decisions about what technologies I would use.
I also wanted to have the option for my cloud enabling technology to handle network security.Another requirement was technologies that could be acquired and run for free, but had enterprise support available.
Of course I could also have chose Eucalyptus or OpenStack which are technologies supported by RightScale. I like that DropBox is automatic, the Synology can backup to another external automatically, so I only have to think about rotating drives off-site every month, or at least a few times a year. In order to have some resiliency I would have to do continuous backups of the management database at a minimum.
Having a runbook or automation scripts to easily reconfigure the management server from my backup would be even better.If you're thinking that sounds a lot like a RightScale ServerTemplate, I'm glad you're enjoying the koolaid you're right on the money. Running CrashPlan headless (headless - there is no monitor) has been the final piece I needed for a simple process that requires no effort on my part. If you took a closer look at the diagram above you've probably already figured it out, I'm not. I did it so that I could take full advantage of the configuration and orchestration tools built into the RightScale Database Manager ServerTemplate.
Also that way I didn't have to "waste" a physical system that I could be utilizing for more important tasks, like running VMs!This approach has it's own issues of course. Will the images be stored on the management node, requiring my hypervisors to essentially download their OS from the internet each time?As it turns out, setting up connectivity became the most complex part of my implementation, and I can't say that I would recommend it to anyone. That's built into the ServerTemplate linked above, but chances are you'll need to do some tweaking to get your network working smoothly. Your mileage may vary, caveat emptor, etc.Needless to say, networking is hard, when you get stuck it's probably a routing problem, and I'll stick with software engineering. The one thing which was fairly confusing is that once I'd added all of the appropriate components (a Zone, Cluster, Hosts, IP ranges etc) I expected to be presented with a big red "GO" button to initialize my environment. Instead, CloudStack was periodically checking the configuration of my environment and when it determined that it had everything it needed the initialization started automatically. Later, when you try to install the CrashPlan package you'll get a warning if Java isn't there and that warning will give you the right file name. For Intel, I needed "x86 Linux Small Footprint – Headless." Download this file and copy it to \\yourserver\public. That's where the CrashPlan client comes in that you'll run on any regular computer you have. I am choosing not to backup super-large files like DVD backups, 60 gig VMs and other things.
My #1 concern is family photos and personal files, so my initial backup set is only 200gigs.
By signing up for CrashPlan using his link you help him out a little, as we should, given his fine efforts.
I hope my tutorial makes it even easier for folks to get their CrashPlan back-ups setup so cleanly! I thought I had opened the port in my firewall, but didn't realize I had not saved my settings. According to the gentleman at PCloadletter, he said it will work but don't try to backup a huge amount. I have about 70 gigs and it has been backing up since yesterday with a couple of days left.

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