Question NAS or Cloud for storage / access?


Well-known Member
I'm currently exploring my file/photo/media storage strategy. Currently have all family photos and iTunes library on an iMac with an external hard drive used for time machine backups.

Like most families, we now have a plethora of devices including multiple phones, tablets and a couple of laptops. So I'm seeking a simple way to centrally store / back up everything and be able to access it from any of those devices. This leads me to either :-

Option 1 - a cloud service. I could go iCloud as the household is Apple centric. I could use Amazon as a prime member with the free unlimited photo storage. Or others such as Dropbox etc.

Option 2 - a NAS to centrally store everything locally, with 2 drives in RAID format for back-up. So far it looks like Synology, QNAP or Western Digital My Cloud Duo would be potential options.

Firstly - experiences and recommendations to help me make the above choice would be good. I'm aware that using both may be the best strategy too.

Secondly, if I do go for a NAS solution, what would you recommend? Also some tech queries: I understand that its best to connect the NAS directly to the router. My router is in the living room next to the TV. It has no spare ports, which I assume could be solved with the addition of a simple switch. But I am a bit concerned about noise from the NAS. Should I be? Are some NASs quieter than others? I also have some Devolo AV200 power line plugs. Would I be better putting the NAS in another room and connecting it to one of these?

I should also add that my internet set up is BT Infinity 2 fibre to the home via a BT HH6 (so called smart hub). Average download is 65-70 MB/s, upload 11 MB/s.

All thoughts & advice appreciated.


Well-known Member


Well-known Member
Yes, agree that RAID isn't actually back-up, fair point. But a copy of all data on a 2nd disk is useful nonetheless. Thanks for the info on QNAP and Synology


Distinguished Member
...But a copy of all data on a 2nd disk is useful nonetheless...

It's not really the right mindset to think of it as "copies." In RAID1 the data is written to both discs simultaneously or not at all. If for some reason you send "bad" data to a RAID1 stripe (virus, DOS has a fit, kids record Trumpton over the wedding video, etc.) the RAID system will faithfully corrupt all instances of the data and won't "save" you.

RAID's principle purpose is to safeguard again hardware failure, ie a disc dies - (they all die in the sooner or later.) There's performance implication for RAID too, but they are of little if any consequence in lightly loaded SOHO use case.

"Backup" means making "point in time" duplicate(s) "somewhere else." I don't think any of the solutions you propose provide backups unless the cloud systems offer such, though I don't know them.

When people advise to "connect the NAS to the router" what they mean is to avoid having on the end of things like Wi-Fi and HomePlug links. NAS doesn't literally have to be sat next to the router. Maximum lobe length for ethernet over UTP is 100m so if you can string up a suitable cable, you should be fine to tuck your NAS away anywhere convenient.

If you have other switches downstream of your router, connecting NAS to them will be fine too. Technically it adds a tiny tiny bit of latency, but unless your LAN is super busy, you'll not be able to measure it, let alone "notice" in normal use, especially if your ethernet links are all Gigabit.

Connecting NAS downstream of Wi-Fi and/or HomePlugs will still "work" - it just won't be as fast. And anything we can do to "free up" Wi-Fi air time, helps improve Wi-Fi performance for all the remaining Wi-Fi devices. In each Wi-Fi cell "only one thing at a time can transmit" so the more "things" you have, the more data they need to send, the more competition there is for the available "air time." Much the same for HomePlug links which have a similar "shared medium" which has to be competed for paradigm to Wi-Fi.


I would use a combination of everything. I do the following.
Music - NAS and backed up external disk and Google play.
Photos - NAS, backed up to external disk and Amazon Prime
Videos - NAS only I'm not that concerned.
Documents - Synced with Dropbox to local PC accounts, phones, work PC, NAS etc.
Most cloud platforms hold multiple copies of document changes and deletions. Dropbox gives 30 days, although you can pay for longer.


Well-known Member
Thanks for the info all, appreciated.

I'm getting a NAS demo today via a pal who uses Synology and swears by it as easy enough to use for a novice like me. Will take it from there.


One thing I would say is that *if* you get a NAS, don't use the homeplugs to connect it. You'll want good reliable performance to the NAS and my experience with homeplugs is that they aren't the most stable creatures. (so much so that I rewired cat6 in the walls to get around the issues I was getting.

If you are worried about noise of a NAS near the TV, consider connecting a switch to the router but with a long patch lead and away from the TV. i.e. another room. provided you can hide the cable from sight, you can run a long cable. (up to 100m)

Personally I have a NAS because I dont like the idea of some company storing (and having access to) my data. But I appreciate a cloud solution may be more convenient, cost effective and offer better protection from loss.


I'm using a Seagate Personal Cloud 5TB at the moment and it seems to be working pretty well. Everything backed up and accessible from anywhere

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