NAS Server Final Thoughts
I think I’ve said this before but, Everybody needs a NAS. Most people don’t know what that means though, so I have to continue on and say, Everybody needs a private Cloud. Despite the fact that few people know what a cloud actually IS, everyone innately understands that they need one, or two… That’s OK, because most people actually know what to DO with a cloud, and the whole point of cloud computing is that the user doesn’t have any reason to know what’s going on inside the cloud. It’s meant to be as opaque as possible, because the focus is on the services that the cloud provides, not the mechanics of how it works. Pay very close attention to what it does, not how the cloud does it.
My first and solemn duty is to remind everyone that relying on a collection of drives in any RAID configuration for data backup purposes is a huge error. RAID systems provide protection against loss of services, not loss of data. Several examples will illustrate the problem, I hope:
- the drive controller goes bad and corrupts the data on all the drives in the array
- the entire storage device is physically or electrically damaged by external forces
- the entire storage device is lost, stolen, or destroyed
- a single drive in a RAID 5 cluster dies and during the rebuild process, which puts higher stress on the remaining drives, a second drive fails
- floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. (AKA El Niño, Derecho, et. al.)
All these points lead to the inescapable conclusion that multiple drives in a common system, in a single location do not provide effective and reliable data backup. At times in this review I’ve talked about high-availability systems, and the Thecus N2310 fits that description reasonably well when employed in a RAID 1 configuration. With a single drive failure, your data is still available and accessible. The NAS device stays online the entire time while the failed drive is replaced and the array is rebuilt. That’s what RAID systems are designed to do. The inherent redundancy is not meant to serve as a backup file set. Remember, we’re not talking about losing data here, we’re only talking about the ability to keep working uninterrupted, if one or two drives should fail.
In contrast to some Mega-NAS products I’ve tested recently, the Thecus N2310 is a product that most readers of Benchmark Reviews could easily contemplate purchasing. The cost of HDDs is coming down, and the total storage needs of a modern household with all the latest high tech goodies are increasing rapidly. Although you can start with one disk and expand/migrate to RAID volumes later, I would recommend beginning with two drives and RAID 1, to get some data redundancy right away. Especially if you plan on using your NAS as front line storage, if you can avoid having to restore your data from backups, it’s worth it.
The home and small business network is going to stay on Gigabit Ethernet for awhile. The cost to upgrade switches and routers to 10 GbE is still cost prohibitive for everyone who doesn’t have a dedicated LAN room with a couple racks of equipment. Given that your bandwidth is going to be capped at 125 MB/s, if your data storage needs are modest you can get by with a simple RAID 1 system and two drive bays. Look ahead five years if you can, and see what your long term needs are for sure, but if you need to get something in place NOW that will hold you for 1-2 years, don’t hesitate to buy a smaller NAS and put the rest of your money elsewhere.
So, what conclusions can we draw about this high performance, two bay Thecus N2310 NAS server? Click NEXT to find out, and discuss…