Cheap NAS storage is better than no network storage at all.
I typically am willing to spend a little more money for better quality, higher reliability or longer service life when it comes to buying any computer equipment but especially something as important as a NAS for home or office.
At the same time, though, when the budget is limited you work with what you have, get the best you can for the money you can spend.
There are so many people out there running with no backup or additional storage of any kind that I am naturally much happier to see them buy a cheap NAS solution than none at all.
Build Your Own NAS
I’m not really big on building your own cheap NAS device, I think the solutions already on the market will give you better options, warranty and ultimate value.
Pick a name brand for your Cheap NAS
Companies like DLink and Seagate have cheap NAS solutions that can offer you most every option you want, not require you to spend a ton on a hard drive and get you out the door without spending a fortune.
Cheap NAS RAID
The thing about buying a cheap NAS is that you probably are NOT going to end up with many RAID options. Most of these units are two drive maximum so your only choice will be RAID1 or mirroring for redundancy. RAID0 is an option for speed, but there is no redundancy with that; if one drive fails then you lose your data, simple as that.
You can get a decent two drive bay solution, though, not spend a fortune on the two hard drives and create a RAID1 array and have the piece of mind knowing that if one drive fails you can keep running, replace the failed drive (promptly!) and not lose data.
The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. The Netgear ReadyNAS Duo is about as “cheap” as I want to go in a NAS device; it’s a solid two drive unit with most of the features of their larger and more expensive NAS lineup.
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