NAS: What to Know Before Buying

My approach to storing all of my digital files—from documents to terabytes of digital photos—has been pretty straightforward over the years. I buy new hard drives when the old ones fill up. It’s helped that drive prices have steadily declined per-gigabyte. But that’s left me with a lot of unused drives lying around, and active drives that weren’t always connected and powered on.

What I needed was a NAS (network-attached storage), a device that contains multiple drives that appear as one volume, and—critically—is connected to my home network, not a specific computer. That network-attached portion of the equation means any computer on the network can access files on the NAS, and I can even reach it when I’m away from the network.

Let me tell you, though: actually buying a NAS is what kept me from getting one for a long time. There are a lot of specifications to wade through, and far-reaching questions to ask yourself, such as how many drive bays should it have, the CPU it runs, whether it offers hardware transcoding, and more.

I rolled that experience into the NAS section of my new book Take Control of Your Digital Photos, and now you can benefit from my work via an excerpt published at TidBITS: NAS: What You Need to Know before Buying.

After you read that, be sure to pick up the book to learn about working with files on the NAS, how to mount it when you’re away, and also other storage-related topics on the Mac such as using Disk Utility, working with drives and volumes, and understanding the APFS file system under macOS High Sierra and later.

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