If you're a photographer or videographer you probably already have some sort of external storage. As your workload ramps up, it may become more convenient to house all of your files on and work from an external device like a NAS box (network attached storage). They can have practically unlimited storage, your data is redundant, they are able to be accessed by multiple computers at once, and now they are faster than ever.
Synology has been our NAS of choice for the last few years. We have been running the Fstoppers office off of an old Synology 8-bay NAS. Our unit has four 1 Gbps Ethernet jacks in the back that all run out to a Netgear switch then runs to eight computers we have in the office. Surprisingly, this tiny "server" has been powerful enough for five of us to work off of it all at once for years. As we have added more employees and we have started shooting 4K video, our NAS has finally started to slow down and fill up. As I am writing this we only have 3 TB left and we expect to fill that up in the next few weeks.
When we upgrade our NAS we will be moving over to a 10 Gbps system, and you may want to consider it as well. 10 Gbps technology has been available for quite some time but it never really took over in the consumer market. Luckily that is beginning to change.
Synology has just announced the DS1817. The first ever consumer NAS with dual 10 Gbps Ethernet jacks standard for just $849 (without the drives). This price is quite impressive considering that 10 Gb ethernet cards for desktops computers can run over $500. With the right drives, this NAS is capable of 1,577 MB/s read speeds which means that you shouldn't see any dip in performance from working off this NAS or an internal SSD. When you need more storage you can add 18 more drives by adding 2 DX517 expansion units. If you have four computers or less, you could plug each of them directly into the DS1817, but if you have more like us you will need to purchase a 10 Gbps switch.
Keep in mind that to take full advantage of this NAS you will need a computer with a 10 Gbps Ethernet card. Apple has already announced that their new iMac Pro will come standard with 10 Gb Ethernet, and for many Apple users, this may be enough to upgrade, but laptops do not have the option for 10 Gb Ethernet cards (at least not yet). Windows users should expect to spend around $250 on a 10 Gbps PCIE network card but we have found many cheaper options that we will report on in the future.
I think all photographers/videographers should have a NAS for storage but for many shooters, 10 Gbps may be overkill. If you don't need to work off of your NAS with comparable speeds to internal SSDs, then 10 Gb certainly isn't necessary. If you aren't batch culling thousands of raw files or editing 4K footage, standard 1 Gb Ethernet should be plenty fast for you. It has worked well for us for the last six years.
Moving to 10 Gbps certainly isn't going to be cheap but for us it's a necessary investment in our business. Luckily prices have come down significantly in the last few years making 10 Gbps networks a realistic option for small studios rather than a standard for gigantic corporations.