Backup Solutions 2: Small Network Attached Storage

Greetings! I am working on a whole series of article that deal with data safety. As an employee of a hard drive recovery service I see a lot of data recovery case studies. The fact is everyone faces data loss at one time or another. My post about How and Why Hard Drives Fail has gotten a lot of attention and has raised a lot of questions. The most common is what do we do about it? Well, backup your data! Last week I wrote about external hard drives as an option for backup. This is a good solution for some, but what about those of you that have a home network?

My husband Michael and I both work from home. We have 2 dedicated broadband Internet connections. Our network is both wireless and wired. We have 4 primary business machines as well as a laptop and our children’s computers. A while back Michael’s computer died and we faced data loss. It turned out that it wasn’t just the hard disk drive that was the problem, but heat within the case caused his hardware to stop functioning properly. Read my post about how Heat Kills Hard Drives  if you are worried about needing hard drive recovery someday.

To make a long and sad story short, Michael ended up going to to buy a new computer. While he was configuring his new dream machine, the online options asked about storage devices. We were happy to see a major computer company adding storage and backup solutions along with their machines. One of things we were always concerned about Dell is their penchant for offering dual hard drive configurations set up with RAID 0. This is the most dangerous setup imaginable. If one drive fails, that is it, you need hard drive recovery services.

At least now they are offering good options including external hard drives at a good price. We ended up going with a NAS device. This is wikipedia’s definition of a NAS:

Network-attached storage (NAS) is the name given to dedicated data storage technology that can be connected directly to a computer network to provide centralized data access and storage to heterogeneous network clients.

Heterogeneous? I think it would be good to add that definition as well:
Main Entry: het·ero·ge·neous
Pronunciation: “he-t&-r&-’jE-nE-&s, “he-tr&-, -ny&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenEs, from heter- + genos kind — more at KIN
: consisting of dissimilar or diverse ingredients or constituents : MIXED
- het·ero·ge·neous·ly adverb
- het·ero·ge·neous·ness noun

So now that we know what we are talking about, a NAS device is a good thing. It basically sits on the network as a virtual or “mapped” drive.

We ended up going with a Buffalo device:

Terabyte Network Attached Storage – 1.0 TB
Model: HD-H1.0TGL/R5

Solid Business Storage Solutions
• Four operating modes for configuring internal drives allow either data access in a massive volume or in fault tolerant RAID arrays
• Journaling File System to prevent loss of data during writing in the event of a power loss
• Robust user and group level permissions for securing network data shares (not Active Directory)
• Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame support ensures speedy delivery of large office files or multiple multimedia streams
• UPS compatibility to allow automatic or manual shutdowns safely when power is interrupted

 So far it has worked very well. We are using built in software to do complete backups of our important data. When we get a computer and have it all set up, or make major changes to an existing computer, we use Speed Clone to make a sector by sector copy of our hard drives. If something happens, we just slap in the cloned drive and restore our incremental data backups off of our new Buffalo device. This is the best way we could think of to prevent hard drive recovery services.

There are a ton of options when looking at NAS devises. By far the most popular is SNAP. Due to their saturation of the SAN/NAS marketplace we see a lot of these devices arrive needing SNAP Server Data Recovery. SNAP not only comes in many models including standalone and RAID configurations, but it has it’s own proprietary operating system called Guardian OS. Based loosely on Free BSD, it is an absolute nightmare when it comes to SAN NAS Data Recovery. Fortunately DTI has the means to recover data from SNAP devices.

Hopefully this article has helped you in making an informed decision about NAS devises as a backup solution. We all have important data. Try to avoid hard drive data recovery by backing up your disks!


  1. I wanted to update the status of our NAS device. We were able to restore a profile off of the NAS to my laptop. I was amazed at the speed that it restored all my files.

  2. Ernie Wright says:

    I have a Dell , that I had to restore last week , it spent about 3 hours it said saving documents and programs and pictures , but I can’t find them . Anybody know ?

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