More space for stuff
Our digital assets take up more space than ever with large collections of photographs, movies and other files filling hard drives to capacity. The modern home is starting to resemble an office environment in terms of its IT requirements – you need a good local area network at home, along with a backup plan for your data and, increasingly, a network-attached storage (NAS) device. The latter is like a big hard drive connected to your network and shared by multiple computers. Western Digital recently launched a special drive specifically for this use – just the thing for home and small offices where hard drives are overflowing.
The Western Digital Red hard drives are designed to deliver large capacities with high reliability so they are best suited for computer backups, but also work well for storing media and other files to be shared on a home or office network. We were sent a batch of these drives to test with a Synology DiskStation NAS product with slots for two hard drives. You can choose to use the combined total storage of both hard drives in the DiskStation or to halve the storage space and protect your data by mirroring it across both drives.
We tested the set-up with two 4TB Red drives, which we opted to configure for high protection, so that gives us a total of 4TB for file storage, but if one of the two hard drives fail we can replace it without losing any data.
The DiskStation is plugged directly into the router that powers your network for best results. It is then automatically detected by software running on your computer. Setting it up was a tad technical, but there is good documentation in the box and you can get by with default settings that should work for most people. The Synology website also has great tutorials and information for specific set-ups.
One of the things that we did in testing was setting up the DiskStation to allow Apple Mac computers to use it for their built-in Time Machine backup system. Doing so wasn’t very intuitive, but simple once we followed a guide on the Synology website.
With about half an hour of fiddling around we had the DiskStation configured and showing up on all the computers on the network. My Mac started backing up to it via Time Machine and we were able to transfer some media files. The system even has media centre software