Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

New lenses and cameras are always fun to purchase, but equally important is finding a way to store those photos you’re making with those cameras and lenses. Here’s why you should consider network attached storage before you spend that money on another lens.

I get it — cameras are sexy and hard drives are not, but network attached storage is much more than just a simple hard drive to store your photos on. I started using a NAS unit that uses Synology’s DSM (Disk Station Manager) a couple of years ago and it was life-changing. Instead of shuffling around external hard disks and waiting forever to make backups of backups, I had a much more reliable option that gave me a lot more flexibility to store and retrieve my photos.

Reason 1: Flexibility

With standard external hard drives, I’m limited to what I can physically plug into my computer at all times. The beauty of a network attached storage unit, such as Synology’s DS718+ or DS1618+ is the network part. Instead of plugging directly into a computer, which would need to be powered on to access files, I’m plugged into my router with a Cat 6 cable. I can then access the NAS unit directly on my home network by plugging into the same router or connecting to my wireless network. I can even access my files remotely though the DSM interface. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed to grab an old file on the road and a NAS unit with Synology’s DSM lets me do that with ease. I’m also able to use any computer or laptop in the house without having to physically plug in or unplug drives.

When I’m transferring a massive amount of files, I can plug things directly into the NAS, set up the transfer through the DSM web interface, and walk away without worrying about my computer losing power or going to sleep and interrupting the transfer. It requires much less thought and effort.

Reason 2: Expandability

Before switching to a 2-bay NAS Unit, I would buy increasingly larger hard drives until I was hitting the limit of what’s possible in a standard external drive (which was about 10 TB when I switched over). That’s a lot of data to carry around on one platter, but more than this, it took forever to back up that drive, even with a fast USB 3.1 connection. I also finally hit a point where I hit the limit and couldn’t even fit everything on one drive anymore.

The DS718+ out of the box supports 2 hard drives (but with the DX517 expansion unit, it can go to 7) and the DS1618+ supports 6 out of the box. Depending on your needs, you can configure for maximum storage (in my case, I have 2 12TB Seagate Iron Wolf drives set up to give me 24TB) or for redundancy in case one drive fails. While this redundancy shouldn’t necessarily be considered a backup, Synology’s DSM makes it easy to seamlessly sync to another NAS Unit offsite or the cloud using Hyper Backup to offer a true backup solution.

All in all, it’s much easier than having multiple hard drives and having to separate which files are on what, and then backing that all up to another set of hard drives.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Reason 3: Hard Drives Will Fail

When you put all your eggs in one basket, you are destined to lose or break that basket. Using a NAS gives important peace of mind for photographers always worried about calamity striking their photos. A common saying among IT professionals is that there are two types of people: Those who have had a hard drive failure and those who will have a hard drive failure.

Even if a NAS is the main unit or secondary unit in a backup system that includes hard drives, it’s a valuable upgrade.

Giveaway

If you’re looking to get your hands on a unit yourself, Fstoppers is giving away a Synology DS718+ with two 14TB Seagate drives. Just leave a comment about something you wouldn't want to lose in a hard drive crash, and you will automatically be entered in the draw.

This giveaway is open those with a US address. Winners will be selected in one week.

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444 Comments

Previous comments

7 Terabytes of family and client photos so I cannot afford to lose any images!

Stan Banash's picture

Family photos and video

user-267697's picture

I need to scan many years of Kodachrome. But where to store them? Hopefully on a reliable NAS like this one!

Any folder labeled with my daughter's name :)

Nicholas Vettorel's picture

I don't think I want to lose my life in a hard drive crash, I've heard they can be pretty deadly.
Seriously though, I took a trip to Alaska a year ago and that trip changed my world. I would hate to lose the videos and photos from that trip.

Gerry O'Brien's picture

9+ Terabytes of photos and client files.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

I made my own Nas - so i'll give it away to someone else. I like to be in full control. One Nas = no Nas. You still need to make backups of the nas. Disaster can strike, malware, encryptors and other nasties (dogs/cats/wife)...

I can't loose footage from surgeries.

All my photos and videos, plus the old home videos I spent countless hours digitizing from my family and my wife's family and old family photos I've been scanning. I'm already a nut about archiving all that stuff and would be devastated if I lost it all!

I have redundant image storage processes, but very manual. This would take it up a step...

Photos... duh!

There are tons of files I want to keep safe, like most sane people.

Michael Austin's picture

Oh man... I'd loose where I store the password to my f-stoppers account!

I have over 15 years of raw images backed up on multiple hard drives. It would be nice to have a master drive with everything in one place.

What wouldn't I want to lose? I have no idea, I can never remember whats on all my portable hard drives!

All of my images

As a photographer who doesn't have a ton of extra cash to even buy more external hard drives, it would be my photos. I have a few external drives that are either full, getting close, or have completely stopped allowing me to mount/transfer data to them. My whole lightroom catalog is currently on my laptops built in backup drive (which is also getting close to being full). So definitely the years of photos I have taken I would not want to lose!

As a photographer who doesn't have a ton of extra cash to even buy more external hard drives, it would be my photos. I have a few external drives that are either full, getting close, or have completely stopped allowing me to mount/transfer data to them. My whole lightroom catalog is currently on my laptops built in backup drive (which is also getting close to being full). So definitely the years of photos I have taken I would not want to lose!

Joe Eley's picture

All of my film scans. I couldn't do it again!

Julian Ray's picture

All my image files represent not just tones of time crafting them but years of study and learning. Zillions of miles of travel and countless stories of so many people's lives are in those images. If any of them are lost it would be like pages of a book were torn out and thrown away.

I photograph for various international refugee non-profits and have a large database of images from all over the world, but they're all in random external drives. Definitely don't feel secure in my back-up workflow and would be devastated to lose the images of people that have opened up and allowed me to photograph them in some of the worst moments of their lives.

Ilija Veselica's picture

Don't wanna lose my highschool photos where I look like Bulgarian football player from 80s

Pete Whittaker's picture

I'd love to have one of these. Obviously wouldn't want to loose client pictures but also some personal stuff. A decade ago I lived in Iceland for a year doing a M.S. degree and met some fantastic people. I have the best shots from that time backed up on Flickr but I'd still like to have a better local backup.

My day job is an IT Database Admin. I know the importance of backups. I always tell people “If you don’t have current backups, you better have a current resume”. I have about 1.5 TB of photos and design resources. I would hate to start from scratch.

I would not want to lose any of my clients footage, but especially the footage of weddings.

Dan Grayum's picture

Family first, friends 2nd and clients 3rd.

I wouldn't want to loose anything due to a crash... or any other reason. I went through this a couple of years ago. But, for me, the most important would be the photos of my children and family.

I would never want to lose the digital camera pictures I've taken over the last 10+ years, I'd never recover from that. All the memories.

I wouldn’t want to lose the pictures or my kids!

Franklin Rau's picture

Photos of my two daughters!

Jason Hoover's picture

I would not want to lose photos of my deceased grandson

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