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.
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.
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.