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Tutorial Newbies - Your first NAS, part 1

This guide can help you (NAS Newbies) to save your investment and time to purchase of Network Attached Storage (NAS). If you are experienced, then do not waste your time with reading this post, maybe your comments are appreciated. This thread can help everyone, when principal question will be placed to this forum.

1. The NAS is a kind of server connected to a computer network (or internet) providing data access to users.
If you are not familiar with basic about servers, networks, security ... please find someone near you (probably YT) for the basic principles explanation, because it will be painful when your data will be attacked, stolen or lost = this is the most repeated scenario, caused by hurry actions. The worst case is a purchase of NAS, then discovery of purpose targets. The NAS purchase must be the last decision, follow a preparation stage.

2. Please define your primary target or target list by gradation (Must, important, nice to have)
I need the NAS for private or SME purpose, e.g.:
  • save/share/archive/backup photos, documents, ...
  • data must/should be available anytime/everywhere or during working time only, ...
  • only for backup of data
  • I would like to use server services like Media server, Note, Surveillance, ..
  • mixture of all the purposes.
3. What kind of devices you can attach to the NAS?
  • PC/MAC (Windows, Mac OS), if someone has Desktop+Linux, then this is not reading for him
  • Smart phones and Tablets (iOS, Android)
  • Printers
  • TVs
  • Surveillance cameras
  • external HDD or USB sticks
All of them you can connect to the NAS by data connection (LAN or WAN) and all of them will increase your data storage needs.
This kind of preparation exercise will help you understand what you need from the NAS and where you have to leave the NAS in your home (office).
But think about the NAS usage and place (where the NAS will leave connected to your infrastructure):
A. Ultimate enemy of the every NAS is heat and direct sun (both of them in mix). Discs in the NAS can generate lot of heat, then you have to count with Airflow around your NAS, better is Air conditioning. Never insert the NAS to enclosed furniture (without Airflow). I have seen many "good ideas" with bad finish.
B. If you have a rack for network devices or thing about a rack for network devices like router, switch, ... etc., do not forget for Airflow again. Some people have the rack in a close space (bad idea). You have to find a way, how to bring air to rack and take the hot air from the rack. Easiest way is purchase few PC fans & fan controller to provide basic Airflow from-to rack. The controller must have a feature of fan RPM regulation by temperature control (sensors in the rack).
Think about it, before you purchase the NAS - do I have a appropriate place for the NAS?

4. The NAS needs a disc/s for an operation = data storage or data availability
there is no single source of truth which brand is better than another, but you can challenge the discs choice by your Target or Target list (from the 2nd point):
- disc for data archive/backup must be resistant for long term operation - then you have to find disc for backups. Speed of the disc is not the primary target. Just count how many days (probably money) you will spend with data repair of your photos, videos, ... it is your value, you will save or lose when data will fly away from your disc. People often save their cost for the data archive.
- disc for data availability (personal/private data cloud) must be fast for both Write and Read operation, the durability is not primary target (I will explain later) for the disc.
- disc for surveillance - you need disc with special feature - fast Write, because the surveillance is primary about a writing - and sometime about a reading.
Then you see, that different usage needs different approach from disc point of view. Topic about how to build disk redundancy, or disk speed improvements will continue in second part.

5. How much space I need for the data. 60 minutes with Excel will save your money twice
Example from my archive:
Average digital photo file size (JPEG) from 2000 has been about 400KB
Average digital photo file size (JPEG) from 2005 has been about 1,1MB x1024 =1126KB ... 282% more than 2000
Average digital photo file size (mirror digital RAW) from 2019 has been about 38MB x1024 =38912KB ... 3456% more than 2005
And same for smart phone photos, even if you like HDR feature you need count the average size about 6MB per photo set (Today).
How much photos do you have? How is the total size now? What will be after 4 years (average lifespan of average HDD) in your archive = the size trend is brutal.
Now my photo folder has 1,4TB from 2000. Last year (2018) it was only +45GB increase, just for my mirror digital camera (no photos from phones, no videos from phones/cameras are included to this value).
Videos from cameras and photos/videos from Smartphones of all family members counts next 0,9TB.
In total I have photos and videos: 2,3TB of my NAS Volume size.
This example can provide for you evaluation, that hurry purchase of 2TB (for perfect price in perfect e-shop) for complex photo/video albums is not suitable. You need to calculate the data spending.
Exercise n.2 : you can prepare same logic for your data from smartphones, tablets, ... especially for your action cameras and family videos, ...
Same do it for your documents, scans, surveillance videos, etc. Don't forget for the data growth and period of disc lifespan.
If you don't have more experience or patience, go to:
then you will find perfect base for your data calculation/prediction.
If your total data spending for existing photos+videos is e.g. 2TB and 4y prediction is about additional 1TB do not purchase 8TB disc (even in sale).
After 2y you can purchase same disc for min. 50% discount from Today's price (price of disc size is running down every year) or you can purchase 8TB for Today's price of 1TB.
End of Part 1.

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