Difference between NAS and external drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by radiogoober, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    This is rather embarrassing ;) , but I can't really figure out what the advantage of a NAS unit like a Synology is. I currently have a pair of external drives hooked up to a USB hub that my Mac uses. I use them for cloning my drive and also for storing bulk media. I guess I'm asking what NAS would bring to the table that my pair of USB discs can't do.

    Thank you
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    If you have a wired Gigabit network (Gigabit router <> iMac), connecting an NAS to the router will give you faster transfer speeds and have access to the data on the NAS via your entire network.
    I am not completely sure, if cloning to an NAS will work though and give you a bootable backup, even if you connect it to your iMac via USB to boot from it later.
    If you don't transfer dozens of GBs daily and don't need network storage, USB should suffice your needs.
     
  3. hitekalex, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012

    hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #3
    Absolutely untrue. Directly attached external disk gives you block-level disk access, which is always the most efficient and usually fastest (other things being equal). NAS is file system level storage, and your I/O is limited by TCP/IP overhead.

    My FW800 enclosure typically gives me about 75MB/s reads, you'd be lucky to get that with NAS, even with Gigabit network. Thunderbolt or eSATA enclosures will easily support over 100MB/s I/O, no NAS will get near that.
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #4
    Okay, as the OP mentioned using USB, I should have explicitly mentioned, that an NAS connected via Gigabit is faster than an external HDD connected via USB 2.0 to avoid further confusion and present my sentence in a "totally independent from the OP" way, thus one did not need need to read every post.
     
  5. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #5
    Ah my bad, I missed the "USB" part in the OP. I agree in that case, Gigabit NAS will offer better performance.
     
  6. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #6
    A lot. Compared to USB 2.0, a GigE NAS will be faster. You also get consolidated storage, i.e. 2, 3, 4+ disks can be placed into a storage pool, and presented as a single logical volume. Or you can issue separate logical volumes, with quotas, per project or per user. Multiple users can share the storage over a network, simultaneously. And depending on NAS features, it can support failover in case a drive dies, snapshots, and data replication features.



    75MB/s is about to be expected for a decent NAS. Very clean network cabling, and switch, and jumbo frames, I've seen a NAS push 100MB/s.
     
  7. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #7
    Usually a NAS box can sit on a network by itself with the need to be connected to a computer to run. It usually has an OS like a linux kernal running. The synology and the like come with programs that allow you to do functions with the NAS so as backups of multiple computers to one device. Some are fast enough to allow you stream multiple music/movie files etc. They are usually setup up in a raid configuration so there is back up of files across multiple drives etc.

    Backed up network storage. Some NAS boxes can also be setup as JBOD (just a bunch of drives) so you see four drive letters associated to the four drives in the nas box.

    There is a lot more but that is some of the basics.
     
  8. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #8
    My ReadyNAS Pro units go at 80+ MBps Read and 90+ MBps Write, but the best reasons for a NAS are resilence to drive failure and absence of noise. The quietest NAS is the one in another room !
     
  9. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #9
    Have you taken a look at the Synology site? Take a look at the overview and features for any model.
     
  10. sinoue macrumors newbie

    sinoue

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #10
    Synology is the best NAS for Mac

    Until Apple gets serious about their loyal userbase running out of storage for all their Time Machine backups (time Capsule doesn't cut it), ever growing iTunes libraries (iTunes Match doesn't offer cloud storage of movies) and our huge photo and video libraries (iPhote/Aperture & iMovie/FCP) you won't find a better NAS for storing and accessing it than Synology.

    Synology even has iOS apps for letting you stream your data to your device and using AirPlay you can even reroute it to your Apple TV to your big screen. Very cool and plays nicely in an Apple environment.
     

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