So I had some fun awhile ago with my hard drives getting fried, and it looks like my Network Attached Storage went the same way. Not entirely sure, maybe it’s just a HomeGroup config problem with Andrea’s computer (the network doesn’t like me configuring homegroups, it only likes Andrea’s computer to do it). But I copied a bunch of stuff from Andrea’s computer over to the NAS before a computer tweak, and while the PC was in the shop, I tried to read the files on to my PC to process some photos. Nope, I could see them, but the NAS did not want to share.
Which means I can’t trust the NAS for the future.
Now, this presents a small but not insurmountable problem. I can simply get a new NAS. The question is if I want one or not. I have a 2TB and a 3TB regular HD that I use for backups. But I also like having a master that I can keep, just in case, on the NAS. It could be simply a third HD, but I prefer to think of it as a common resource. Plus I can copy any of my other PCs to it without tying up my computer, so kind of useful. But I’m not actually using the network functions on it.
Which means I’m at a small crossroads, with two needs:
- a need for a third backup drive, preferably > 2TB; and,
- a desire to stream music all over the house from a common source.
The third backup drive is REALLY simple, just over a $100, no muss, no fuss, done. The second element though is the one that creates a question, or at least some options to consider.
A. Keep the music on my main PC
While my main PC is usually on, I don’t know if I want it to be the source of streaming for any and every device. Mostly, I just don’t want it slowing things down if I’m working on something else. But, generally speaking, the person likely to be pulling things from the PC to elsewhere in the house is, well, me. I’m not able to be downstairs listening to music AND working on my machine upstairs, so maybe it’s not a real issue, but I don’t like the idea of having my PC being the main server.
B. Put the music on another PC
Jacob’s PC will not be stretched very far with his usage, and I could easily use it, but that’s a bit of a slippery slope to me, and in a few years if he’s gaming, that will change easily. Not a sustainable option.
C. Put everything in the cloud
I could, indeed, put the stuff in an internet-based cloud, but then everything I stream will be upload/download drains on my monthly usage. And really, it seems odd to stream stuff from the web when it is already on the network somewhere else.
D. Run my own server
Umm, how can I put this? No. 🙂
E. Copy the music to multiple locations
Most of the machines that I’m going to be streaming to have SD card slots, I could easily just make a bunch of copies and stream from the card. But if 3 backups is a pain to manage, 5 or 6 copies of the music library all over the house seems drastic overkill.
F. Repeat the network-attached storage
So I can go back to NAS options, but then I’m again facing a question mark:
- Do I want a simple NAS that will allow me to stream about 250GB of data around the house?
- Or do I want a more complex NAS that will hold all my current data, around 1 TB in total for active and some change for non-active?
- Or do I want to go whole hog and get a full NAS with multiple drive bays for expandability, that will hold all my backups, can even create multiple copies of the backups with mirrored setups?
I’m leaning towards the simplest NAS storage I can do to put the music on it and leave the backups to straight drive copies. Not sure that’s the best solution, but it should work. The middle option is a good compromise but pushes me into the $200-$250 range pretty fast, and not really enough storage for the long-term. If I go the more complex route, I can easily push $300-400 for now, but with a huge amount of expandability for the future. But that seems like overkill.
Sigh. I know I’m obsessing over wanting to get it right, I just wish the “best” solution was obvious or that I was confident I was seeing the right variables.