A NAS is a pretty practical thing: just buy a large enough bay and stuff your HD’s in for more space. You’ll get cheap storage, automatic RAID and a solid data solution for your local area network. That’s the beauty of a NAS, because it is connected to your network you can technically access it from anywhere. One problem is that they are a local storage solutions – in the vast majority of cases – and could be affected by natural disasters or theft.
So this article argues that device makers will offer a cloud storage bundle together with their their hardware devices.
The top providers for NAS devices are Buffalo, Synology, QNAP, Iomega and a lot more. All offer NAS for different budgets and purposes most differ in size (how many hard drive you can plug in) and CPU power. So if you’re looking for a solution for your home office you can have a good one for around 200$-300$ – plus hard drives.
Many business owners rely heavily on NAS for all of their data needs and have stored massive amounts of data on their NAS. Storage has become very cheap and the price will continue to decline – just have a look at the storage price development and forecast from 2009 – 2015:
This graphic suggests that storage price will have fallen to .37 dollars per gigabyte in 2015. Not bad!
Small Business Owners will move to NAS
Considering the price, availability and ease-of-use small business owner will move to using a NAS for their business if they haven’t already. In our digital world we need access to our data all the time – even when we’re not at home or at the office. A NAS allows you to do just that a few things more:
- You can backup your server
- You can backup other computers’ data
- You can even use a NAS as your own (Email)-Server
- Manage people who have access to your NAS
- and a lot more…
Also, many NAS storage makers equip their console with a variety of additional “Apps” or open their system up to third party services. Take a look at Synology’s “Package Center”, for example:
Even for personal use there are a tremendous amount of “packages” like media servers, download stations, iTunes server etc… you get the idea. If you’re very savvy, then you can program your own extension to adapt the NAS to your needs.
But what about backup?
Of course you can backup all of your computers’ and servers’ data on one or several NAS in your office or home. In fact, this is what we do here at Cloudwards.net. I have already pointed out why this is a useful and affordable solution.
However, if you only rely on your NAS as a backup what if anything happens to that device? If one hard drive fails that might be OK because your RAID setup will prevent it from losing data on that disk as everything is kept redundant. But what if somebody breaks into your home or office and steals everything? What if there is a fire destroying your assets?
Certainly, your business depends on the data you’ve accumulated over the years. So losing it might put your whole existence in jeopardy.
That’s why it is important to have an off-site backup as well. The easiest way to get your backups off-site is using an online backup service.
Online Backup and a NAS?
Today, you need to rely on third party online backup services to get your NAS off-site backup coverage and it is not quite easy to integrate. Some online backup services do not allow backing up NAS devices because they can’t control how much is actually stored on those devices. That’s why you have to buy their expensive business online backup plans.
Why would NAS device makers offer a cloud storage offering?
Buffalo just announced to offer a cloud storage solution to go with their LinkStation 400 series and is one of the first providers to enter the cloud storage market. But let’s see why it actually makes sense:
- Better service for customers
Cloud storage is what many people want, even if they don’t understand it fully. While they can access their files from anywhere already with their NAS (if configured properly), they still don’t have a backup solution in place. This is especially important for home or small business owners as they generally tend to think little about having “a backup of your backup” in the cloud.
- Close-knit integration
As cloud storage software is produced in-house and is tested with the actual devices the whole process should work a lot more smoothly than with third party software that might have to adapt to dozens of device makers’ hardware. Also, customers will be more “locked in” to their services and system and thus, will eventually lead to more loyalty (if the software actually works).
- Build upon know how
Device makers know how to produce and assemble storage hardware. Of course, a whole network infrastructure for a cloud storage service is a different type of expertise, yet it is related. Device makers can build upon that and get a beta running more quickly.
- Recurring fees
One of the more interesting facts about offering an own cloud storage solution is to get recurring fees from their customers. They might buy a NAS once every couple of years but it is a nice additional revenue stream to get from recurring fees.
The cloud storage market is tough
The cloud storage market is tough, there are many players out there struggling for our attention and data. So why not use the advantage device makers have: they already have a lot of customers that they can easily leverage. Cloud storage is highly scalable so for me it’s just the logical next step and might be an important future revenue stream for device makers.