Let’s Talk About Storage

I believe I’ve mentioned on several occasions how uptight strict I am about backups.  I have a LOT of digital files, and I don’t want to lose a single one.  These days, I believe it’s unacceptable to lose data.  There are so many ways to protect your data, that you would be foolish to not utilize some or ALL of them, like I do.

First, let’s have a conversation about external hard drives.  I don’t use them.  They fail entirely too often.  I have owned several, and on definitely more than one occasion, I’ve gone to pull a file off of my “backup” residing on an external hard drive and the hard drive is toast.  Poof.. all of that “backed up” data GONE.  Instead, I’ve moved to NAS devices.  NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.  Think server, but without a Windows operating system.

Netgear ReadyNAS

What I love about my NAS devices (and I use two Netgear ReadyNAS devices) is that I’m not reliant on just ONE hard drive, that WILL fail.  I’m not saying might… I’m saying WILL.  The Netgear ReadyNAS has multiple hard drive slots.  The two that I have have two slots each.  What this means is I put two hard drives into the device.  The ReadyNAS will mirror the drives to each other so they are exact duplicates of each other.  Meaning, when one fails, the other just takes over.  This allows you to replace the failed drive with a new one, and it will re-sync the data across to the new drive.  What this also means is that you don’t even have to power down the device to replace the failed drive.  You simply pull out the failed one, and replace it with the new one, and you are DONE.  This also makes upgrading the storage on the device SUPER easy.


Let me explain a little about the storage works in a NAS device with this type of RAID configuration (meaning how the drives mirror each other).  Say I have two 1 Terabyte hard drives in my ReadyNAS.  This doesn’t mean I have 2 TB of free space.  It means I have 1 TB of space, and the drives are redundant.  I’m ready to upgrade it to 6 TB, but I can’t afford to purchase two 6 TB drives today.  I can purchase one and stick it in the device.  The drive will still only show 1 TB of free space, since that’s the amount of the smallest drive in the device.  Then, when I get some more money, I can purchase the 2nd 6 TB drive, replace the remaining 1 TB drive and now I have 6 TB of free space.  Without moving data, without turning off the device, without doing much of anything!


So, how am I currently using my ReadyNAS devices?  My larger one (3 TB) is used to store all of my Plex video files.  The entire drive is used to store videos.  Whether they are my DVD’s that I’ve ripped up to the drive, or whether they are videos I took with my phone, real camera, or even the GoPro.  Any video I take goes directly to that device, since the files can be quite large.  My second ReadyNAS (1 TB) I use to store backups of the computers in my house, documents I want to keep, and pictures.

I keep both ReadyNAS devices plugged directly into my Netgear Nighthawk wireless router so the data transfer between the devices can be super quick.  I have my Lenovo Tiny also plugged into the router, and typically remote into that machine (which also serves as my Plex server, and our local Minecraft server) since it has no monitor, and do my file transfers from that machine.  The transfer speeds are seriously amazing.

There are also several benefits to using the Netgear ReadyNAS devices.  Since all of my pictures and videos are stored on these local hard drives (meaning they aren’t stored in the cloud), I’d like to be able to access them when I’m out and about.  With ReadyCloud enabled on my device I can open up an app on my phone and look at all the pictures and files I have safely stored on my hard drive at home.  I don’t have to pay a monthly fee to some place like Dropbox to have files in the “cloud” with the ReadyCloud.  I can even set up my phone to copy every photo I take on my phone’s camera to the NAS device automatically!  You never have to be scared of losing all of those pictures again!

I really do love not having to rely on someone else’s servers, or my own hard drive, to store all my backups and important documents.  It’s very comforting to have them in my house and accessible any time I want.  There are several other apps you can install on the NAS device as well, so definitely check out all the details.

Disclaimer: I was provided ONE of my ReadyNAS devices to facilitate the review.  I may have gotten the second on my own…. I admit nothing.


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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

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