If you’re a photographer, you know the importance of having a reliable and efficient storage solution. With so many photos to store and edit, it’s essential to have a system to keep up with your workflow. That’s where network-based storage comes in, so we’ll be looking at Network Attached Storage or NAS for photographers.
Modern computers have moved storage solutions from spinning disks to solid-state disks (SSDs). Using an SSD for storage has many advantages; they’re lighting fast and rarely fail. However, the downside of SSDs in the current market is they are limited in storage capacity, typically providing less than 1 TB of storage. So as photographers, what’s the best solution for dealing with our ever-growing photo libraries?
Now more than ever, photographers are turning to external storage for their photo libraries. The two most common types of external storage are directly attached storage (DAS) drives and network-attached storage (NAS) drives.
The DAS solutions are commonly store-bought external drives that plug into an existing USB or Thunderbolt port and are placed on your desk. DAS drives deliver with excellent price, speed, and storage capacity. However, they typically come with the downside of putting your storage back into jeopardy of using spinning disks.
So a better solution to look at is to use a Network Attached Storage device. A NAS sits as a separate device on your local home or office network. The NAS can then provide storage for any device on the network. One of the significant upsides to using a NAS is that they typically offer redundant storage. This means if one disk fails, then there is a second disk that still contains your data.
This blog post will discuss some of the best NAS solutions for photographers. We’ll take a look at some of the essential features for photographers and compare different NAS devices to help you find the perfect one for your needs!
Our Picks for NAS devices for Photographers
The Good Solution
The Zyxel Personal Cloud Storage is a great starter NAS device. It supports up to 2 16TB drives, which can be configured as 32 TB of plain storage or 16TB of RAID.
The device supports Windows and Mac operating systems and easily connects to your network router using a standard ethernet cable.
Who Its For
The NAS326 is for someone who needs basic network storage. It’s an inexpensive solution with just two drives but will be a great way to test how a NAS fits into your workflow.
- Up to two hard drives.
- Max support up to 32 TB
- File security using user accounts.
- Support for JBOD or RAID
- Easy to set up, maintain, and organize.
- Print server support.
- Slow CPU with limited memory.
- Only two bays for hard drives.
- Needs specific hard drives. See Zytel documentation
The Better Solution
The AS5304T is a powerful mid-level four-bay NAS. It supports both SSDs and Hard Disks for speed and expandability. It also has dual 2.5-gigabit LAN ports with link aggregation for fast network access.
What makes this a great solution is that the device equipped with top-notch hardware and a generous catalog of add-on network apps lets you use it as a media server, a backup solution, an IP camera surveillance station, a web server, and more.
Who Its For
The AS5304T is for someone looking to add a top-notch storage solution to their network and wants to explore how a NAS can provide more network services than just storage.
- Excellent storage performance
- Dual 2.5 GbE ports.
- Four tool-less drive bays.
- Support for a hot-swappable hard drive.
- Instant backup from the array to an additional hard drive.
- Loads of apps – Docker, VPNs, Media Server, etc.
- Drives not included
- No direct support by chat or phone.
The Best Solution
For ultimate storage for photographers, the Synology DS10119+ comes with six hard drive bays and supports RAID types 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, F1, SHR, and SHR2.
The NAS storage starts with 5 internal disks. Additional storage can be added using a Synology 5 bay Expansion Unit and has a full storage capacity of 140TB.
Who Its For
The DS1019+ is the best NAS device on the market for photographers that need ultimate performance and expandability. The DS1618+ is a powerhouse of a NAS designed to meet the needs of even small & medium businesses. It’s expandable and will be a useful storage solution for years to come.
- A 5 bay Solution that is expandable to 10 with extension unit
- RAID support for types 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, F1, SHR, and SHR2
- Two M.2 NVMe SSD slots for system cache support
- Virtual Machine Manager
- Two Gigabit Network ports with Link Aggregation & Failover support
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- One eSATA expansion port
- Lack of integrated 10Gb networking
The Tinker’s Solution
If you have an old computer, Unraid Server is a good choice if your goal is not to spend too much money but still back up and share files across multiple devices in the home network.
It’s also great for tinkering since it lets you quickly set up Docker containers and Virtual Machines. It’s the swiss army knife of home servers.
UnRaid Server is a Linux-based operating system for personal and small business use. It lets you set up a NAS without buying expensive hardware or configuring the network interface card. In many cases, you are just reusing an old computer.
The first step to installing Unraid is to put the operating system on a Compact Flash, SD Card, HDD, USB key. Boot up the server from this device and you will be up and running in no time. UnRaid is well thought out and its user interface is a breeze to learn. If you get stuck there is a very active and helpful user community.
You can use UnRaid to store photos, share files with other computers on your network, and serve media (e.g., music and videos) to devices such as an Xbox or Roku. The system is relatively easy to set up and has a similar user interface to Windows.
UnRaid is free for one drive, but you need to pay for more than one drive.
Download UnRaid (https://unraid.net/product)
Check Pricing (https://unraid.net/pricing)
Network Attached Storage for photographers is a must-have if you plan to store and share your photos with other computers on the same network. NAS devices can be expensive, but some inexpensive options will work just as well.
Ensure that any NAS device you buy has support for all of the operating systems your family members or coworkers in use so everyone can access their files.
When deciding which NAS option is right for you, consider the most important features – file security, photo sharing capabilities, etc.
Getting a NAS to store your evergrowing image library on is the best investment you can make outside of buying more camera gear.
If you liked this post, you can find more in our Reviews section.
What is Network Attached Storage (NAS)?
Network Attached Storage, often referred to as NAS, is a storage solution that attaches to your local network. A NAS provides file-level access to its connected clients, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. This separates it from other common external storage solutions such as DAS (direct-attached storage) and SAN (storage area network).
A NAS is typically used for centralized data storage in a home or small office environment. It can also be used as a media server to store and stream your music, photos, videos, or any content you may want to share with other users on the network. The best part about using a NAS is that you can access your data from any device on the network. Imagine editing your photos on your computer and then reviewing those photos in bed on your tablet!
One of the main differences between a NAS and other types of external storage is how it’s accessed. A NAS provides file-level access to its connected clients using protocols such as SMB (Server Message Block) and NFS (Network File System). This means that you can access the files on the NAS just as if they were stored locally on your computer. Other storage solutions, such as DAS and SAN, typically provide block-level access, which is not as user-friendly for accessing your data.
What to Look For in a good NAS Solution?
When looking for a good NAS solution, there are a few features that you should take into consideration. Here are some of the most important ones:
One of the first things to consider when purchasing a NAS is how much storage space you need. This will vary depending on your photo library size and how often you plan to edit and backup your photos. A good rule of thumb is to buy the largest capacity hard drives you can afford so that they’ll last longer before they need replacing!
Another thing to consider is how many drives will come with your NAS enclosure. Some vendors offer these in single-drive configurations, while others include two or more bays for added storage capacity. If you plan on expanding your storage in the future, it’s important to make sure that the NAS you choose has room for additional drives!
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It is a type of disk storage in which data is distributed across multiple hard disks. When a drive fails in a RAID array, the system can continue to function because there are other disks that contain all the data.
Using a RAID 1 configuration on your NAS will reduce storage capacity by 50% because the data is stored on multiple drives. However, it will also provide you with added protection against disk failures.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all NAS solutions support RAID configurations. If this is an important feature for you, be sure to check before you buy!
The network interface on a NAS is responsible for connecting the NAS to your local network. Depending on your needs, this can be done through a wired or wireless connection. Most devices come with a Gigabit Ethernet port, which is more than enough for most home and small office networks.
If you need to connect the NAS to a faster network, check to see if the NAS device has support for a 10 Gb ethernet port or has multiple ports that can be bound together into one fast port.
Operating System Compatibility
Ensure you have the right NAS for all of your computers and gadgets. Because the NAS device is a computer in its own right, check the specs to see what Operating Systems (OSs) it can serve as clients.
Most NAS products are compatible with Windows OSs, but if you have a Mac or Linux machine in your home network (or both), make sure that the NAS is also compatible with these operating systems.
Access & Security
When you set up a NAS for your home or office you probably want to make sure that the files are not available to everyone on the network. Accidents can happen, and you don’t want someone deleting your photo archive because they need space for something else.
In some cases, the NAS device will support only one user account. This can be enough to prevent others from deleting your files. But it’s not foolproof since anyone with a bit of knowledge about how networks work could still access them by reconfiguring their computer, for example.
The best way to keep your data safe is to use a NAS device that supports multiple user accounts and file permissions. File permissions allow you to decide who can access what files or folders. In other words – it has the same function as a security guard at an airport.
Many NAS solutions also allow you to connect to a printer and work as a network print server. This is a great way to share one printer with everyone on your network.
Many NAS devices can be used to store or stream media files such as music, videos, and photos to any devices on your network. This can be done using software built into the device or installing an add-on media server package.
One of the benefits of using a NAS as a media server is that you can access your files from any device on the network, regardless of whether it is running Windows, Mac, or is a media device like a Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV.
NAS stands for Network Attached Storage, and it is a storage device that connects to your home network. The NAS can be used as a central location where you store all of your photos, which any computer can then access on the network.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It is a type of disk storage in which data is distributed across multiple hard disks. When a disk fails in a RAID, the system can function because other disks contain all the data.
Professional photographers typically use a combination of NAS, cloud storage, and external hard disks to store their photos. The NAS provides a central location for all the image files, while the cloud storage can be used as a backup in case something happens to the NAS device. External hard disks can be used to take photos off-site for safekeeping or to speed up access.
Synology is a company that makes Network Attached Storage devices, and they have models specifically designed for photographers. The Synology NAS devices come with software that allows you to manage your photo collection and share them with others easily.