Cloudbox Features Comparison
The first step is to choose the right equipment. A good NAS solves many common problems such as reliable Internet connection, poor video playback, file copy speed or ability to find what you're looking for when you need it.
Why? NAS technology has come a long way, and today you can choose a NAS with sufficient power and memory to perform multiple file transfers across multiple network connections, streaming video to name a few.
Here at smikBox we want to help you make an informed decision and the following table will help you pick a box that will provide substantial immediate benefits and then grow with your needs over time.
| - Available|
- Manual + buy software
|Mobile ||Casual Home (No Kids) ||Home Studies / Family Office ||Home Enter-tainment||Home Office||Office And Enter-tainment||Home Enter-tainment||Home Office||Office and Enter-tainment||Home Office||Office and Enter-tainment||Branch or Retail Outlet
|Small mixture of files|
|Documents / Research|
|Photos/Videos family friends|
|HDMI to HD TV|
|Home and business surveillance|
|Connect with USB (1 device)|
|Connect and share USB drive|
|Backup to separate NAS|
|Backup to Cloud|
|Backup to/from remote office|
|Scheduled / Automated backup|
|Snapshots (For business users)|
|Sync between devices|
|Remote file access|
|Host (Wordpress) websites|
|Host business apps|
|Host educational apps|
|Host game servers|
|Host - Windows server(s)|
|Host business software|
|Host productivity software|
|In store advertising|
|Links to Xero, MYOB, etc|
The table shows a number of typical environments along the top, select one that best matches your situation and learn from the other table how other people use their NAS, and the features it would provide to you.
Browse NAS solutions used by circumstance.
Each circumstance is different, the most common home users are either bargain seekers and premium users.
Business varies widely where some business circumstances (photography and file making) need a lot of very fast storage, in comparison to a small business using their NAS for office functions and on line sales.
Need more help deciding how much storage you use right now?
Don't forget Blu-Ray movies use a lot more storage than DVD, and with the new 4k and oLed TV's available 20GB / Blu-ray is the new norm.
Why not stream movies you may ask. The answer is you can but it consumes available router resources and bandwidth in both the internet connection and WiFi. Plus when the connection slows, the streaming quality is also reduced, so you're not getting HD or 4K to the TV.
This is just media, you must also allow storage for documents, virtualization, web servers, surveillance footage, home automation, educational resources, camcorder footage, etc.
The potential for growth of your home movie collection is just one factor. The average home storage has been growing at an exponential rate owing to the ever increasing picture and sound reproduction quality of devices. The advancements in miniature technologies, controlling "your things" from a mobile, home / lifestyle automation innovation and the changing nature of what we call a balanced lifestyle are accelerating the need for greater storage, processing power, backup and device interconnection for both business and personal use.
Direct Access Storage Devices (DASD) are the most common form of backup used in the home. Different suppliers provide units with a variety of features, but they are generally restricted to sharing storage across devices inside and outside the home. A NAS is by comparison a central control device for storage, home automation, backup, redundancy and many other functions that permeate our lifestyles.
For examples of the difference and implications see the section below.
If your starting out and just need a low cost device, choose a basic NAS unit, which provides many benefits over a simple DASD at a competitive price.
Lastly, if you have existing DASD devices in the home or business the NAS makes them more useful that they were before, by using them as portable storage appliances, backup, shared guest storage and more.
Why important? Essential for just about everything!
- Saving / moving / sharing files
- Video streaming to devices (Automatically converts video to format suitable for device)
- Playing music / video without effecting network speed
- Running web services , surveillance and web server tasks
- Compromise on memory and CPU and you will end up compromising on efficiency and convenience:
“I have to copy that file later, I will do it later, oh I will do that another way, we can only use one at a time”
- A single Windows Virtual PC needs 2GB, 4GB will run NAS + 1 x Windows machine, recommended 8GB memory for home use, 16GB for business uses
|CPU||1-2GB Atom||2GB Celeron dual core||2GB Celeron Quad core, Xeon i3,i5 or i7 processors|
|Memory||1GB or less||4 to 8GB||8 to 32GB|
Transfer speed between devices
Why important? Essential for just about everything!
- Saving files locally
- Send video to your TV
- Anyone plays music / video on any without network slow down/jittering
- Your new digital world needs high transfer rates. e.g. When surveillance camera triggered high transfer rates to capture video/audio events.
If this saves you just once, you recoup your investment
- Backup and sync devices that belong to your network
- A NAS with faster network options diverts traffic from WiFi making in-house WiFi faster for users
|Ethernet||10, 100 and 1GB max||2GB to 4GB||4GB to 2 x 10GB|
|USB||USB 2.0 USB 3.0||USB 2.0 + 2 x USB 3.0||USB 2.0 + 2 x USB 3.0|
|ThunderboltTM (20GB/s)||N/A||20GB/s||1x or 2x 20GB/s|
Why important? Losing files is risky, time consuming and frustrating!
- RAID storage protects against failure of 1 drive, but what if two drives fail, what if you NAS is stolen or damaged.
- NAS backup solutions can automatically create a second copy of your files to be stored elsewhere
- Incremental backup solutions can backup the data changed in cases where backup solution is on another site
- Sometimes people make mistakes, corrupted files may not be discovered till the last good backup has been overwritten with the corrupted. Thats why NAS has snapshot technology
- Smart backup scheduling so backup is not running in the middle of the day slowing down the network or wasting available Internet bandwidth
|Mobile / Tablet / PC on the road||User must remember to do this||Automatic Sync||Automatic Sync|
|Files in cloud services (e.g. Google, Dropbox etc.)||User must remember to do this||Automatic Sync||Automatic Sync|
|Movies / Downloads||User must remember to do this||Automatic Sync||Automatic Sync|
Why important? The digital age has brought a rapid increase in storage requirements!
- In 2010 the most common external storage unit purchased was 1TB, 4 years later that was 3TB.
- To backup your BluRay movie today to the network so you can share it - is 10GB+
- The new OLed and 4K video standards set to increase resolution and as a consequence, storage size
- Documents, presentations, camcorders, smart phones are amongst the many devices contributing to our growing storage requirements.
- As more new devices, technologies become common place storage of their files, programs and on our personal cloud will become essential to manage costs and convenience
- It's not inconceivable that our storage needs will triple every 4 years.
|Extendable beyond 4TB||Some||Yes||Yes|
|Extendable beyond 16TB||No||Yes||Yes|
|Auto backup/Restore beyond 4TB||No||Yes||Yes|
|Can store backup copy in cloud||Manual||Yes||Yes|
|Cherry pick from cloud automated storage options||No||Yes||Yes|
Why important? The digital age has brought a new risks locally and internationally!
- Protecting files and data
- Restricting/blocking spam or virus attack
- Military grade AES, 256 Bit
- Protecting users against their lack of knowledge that opens up vulnerabilities.
- Simple to set up new users, change access.
|Proxy server to protect local computers on line identity||No||Yes||Yes|
|Embedded virus / Malware scanner for unattended downloads||No||Yes||Yes|
|VPN connection when remote||Manually control||Yes||Yes|
|Bit torrent service to download manager||No||Yes||Yes|
Firstly, many people store files on USB drives that connect directly to a device on the network and are called (D)irect (A)access (S)torage (D)evices or DASD. A DASD only store files and is only connected to one device at a time. A NAS or (N)etwork (A)ttached (S)torage device is shared by all on the network.
A smikBox is both NAS and a powerful computer. It is capable of running programs that are accessed from any device locally or remotely. It performs functions on behalf of your mobile and PC devices, so these devices don't always need to be turned on to do manage downloads, stream movies, share, backup and more. Less computers in the home is less clutter, less low level noise, reduces power use, heat generated in the summer and you're helping the environment by reducing the overall carbon footprint of your home or office. You will be surprised how many tasks can be automated by the NAS, and how it simplifies and automates routine tasks. Maybe you will make use of the ability to download files from torrents, run a virtual Windows PC or server. Maybe you will run websites, blogs, home/lifestyle automation systems, business software, the important point is that the NAS arrives with all these pre-installed and ready to go. It's quite easy and convenient to discover and leverage its capabilities and facilities to automate your digital life.
In 2010 a DVD movie copied to a PC was 1 to 2GB. Today Blu Ray files can exceed 10GB, and with new oLED screens and the new digital standards to replace Blu Ray, HD movies of 50GB or more will be the norm. Your average 1TB USB drive will not cope, worse still lack of power and slow network speeds will make it impossible to use. The increasing capabilities of home automation, surveillance, health and wealth tracking systems are accompanied by greater and greater demands for storage. As storage increases so too does the need for backup, security and technologies that help you use, compress, transform or transfer the information to where it is used, which is often on a mobile device.
A NAS manages backup, organises files so they can be located when and where needed. Do you have time to shuffle files between devices (PC's) and DASD just so to use your files or watch a movie?
With your storage growing steadily you need a device with smart backup. One that will (for example) automatically backup movies only when new movies are added, yet will make backups of important files on a daily or even hourly basis.
Considering the price difference between 6TB and 3TB is so small today, why would you bother with a smaller device, isn't your time is more valuable?
A decent high performance NAS device can do all sorts of cool things if you give it the space to work with (i.e. memory). Consider, that most people accept that a Windows 10 PC won't run well in less than 2GB, and the same is true for a NAS. Today a NAS with 2GB is limited, and at smikBox we recommend 4GB as a minimum. Memory itself is not expensive and the performance difference substantially better.
With the extra memory you can use all the add-on software available. There are two types of NAS devices, the mass consumer brands from Western Digital, Seagate that are Linux based NAS, but are usually using slower processors and a maximum of 2GB memory. If you're certain that's all you want then great, you can stop reading here.
Then there is the next level of NAS devices that have models with 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and over of memory and faster processors. If you buy a NAS with less than 4GB or memory, take it home and try to run network sharing, transcoding (streaming) of movies at the same time you will see what I mean. It starts off OK, but can't cope when you start to load it up with tasks.
What's wrong you ask, why does it get slow? Well there is a long explanation and short one, the short is you didn't get a NAS with enough power to sort all this out for you automatically!
Simply put, the NAS takes load from the network, and handles more functions inside the NAS itself, transferring large quantities of information between its processor, memory and drives at astonishing speeds.
If you're close to your neighbors, other wireless networks can and will interfere. The newer WiFi devices are more powerful, so they interfere more frequently. Using the NAS to use multiple simultaneous forms of transfer reduces load on WiFi and provides those using the WiFi with better service. If you're in a room and your WiFi signal is for example at -60db (means I am in range but signal low). If a second user is beside you then one of you will probably experience drop out. If the neighbor's new WiFi is blasting out a signal on an adjacent channel (or worse still the same channel), then you both will experience drop outs. To make it worse, some of your neighbor's routers may use automatic channel selection, so the WiFi worked 10 minutes ago, but doesn't work now, so frustrating right? You can use a NAS to run multiple simultaneous networks, and smikBox will show you how.
Next tip is to a NAS Proxy server, this is not only better for security (protects from external spoofing) but caches commonly used content and redistributes to devices before re-downloading it again. Really does make the network run smoother and reduces your data download volume.
The next is the speed at which files are transferred, homes with 100MB networks will find it troublesome to move large volumes of data around as is common today, 1GB network is best, and 1GB standard for most new network devices. smikBox recommends using devices with multiple network connections that can use bridging (means it can pump data in/out at between 2Gb and 4GB), plus USB 3 for USB devices, and thunderbolt (40GB) connections between devices transferring larger files (so when transferring through the 40GB network, the local network is not used or affected).
The capability to host a site means you no longer need to pay for hosting. The free hosting through WordPress and other sites has restrictions such as it will not allow you to use your own domain, can't use Google Analytics properly, social media integration, so if you're intending to use Internet Marketing, using your NAS means no constraints.
Plus you can host more than one site, it really doesn't slow anything down. You could have blogs for family / friends / causes or interests. Bulletin boards, social networks, shopping cart with payment gateway to sell online.
Updates and support is still available from vendors (e.g. WordPress, Joomla) and the smikBox network will connect you with skilled professionals to take care of tasks you may not have the time or inclination to do.
A virtual machine is a complete PC or server running inside your NAS. You connect using a browser or remote desktop from any other device inside or outside your network.
Some examples would be, let's say you have a PC that's been around for years and you're concerned it will fail some day. If you create a clone you can run it forever in any machine with Virtualization. It's like storing a time capsule, and you can run it from any PC (even from a mobile device!).
Another example is if you use a Microsoft small business server. If you clone that server it will also be stored as a time capsule and can be accessible from anywhere, as either a backup device (in case the office fails) or as a production machine to run your business (or both using snapshots).
Why buy new computers to access machines used infrequently? Perhaps you want a PC set up for each of the kids, but with limited space or the different times of the day they use it, you prefer they share one of the existing computers to access their own virtual PC from any device in the home. USB device is in a computer in another room - no problem your NAS virtual PC's can share USB devices of any PC on the network.
Access anywhere, collaboration, backup, redundancy, scalability, speed, mass storage, these are the problems, smikBox is the solution.
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