It's becoming easier and easier to just store your files in the cloud. By cloud, we mean online. For example, a lot of people are now using Google Docs as an easy way to store their files. This makes them accessible via any internet connection and saves the hassle of always keeping your files backed up and up to date.
Even though the cloud is excellent for files, it's not the best way of storing all of your files, especially the larger ones. Sure, Gmail has got some Firefox extensions that will really let you leverage the 7 GB of storage that Google offers you for free, but what about larger files? That's why network attached storage is becoming so popular.
Both Seagate and Netgear have dived into the consumer NAS market. Seagate has released an NAS Adapter, which will transform any external USB drive into an NAS device. The $100 DockStar will be complemented by an lineup of compatible hard drives, from 750 GB to 1 TB capacities. Prices for these FreeAgent HDs vary between $200 to $250. Seagate's offering combines PogoPlug technology, which enables you to back up data into the cloud. The first year of this backup solution is free, but after that, it will cost you an additional $30 a year for unlimited sharing and remote access. This doesn't stop you from accessing the data stored on you HD from anywhere, which is really cool and it also works with other external HD brands.
Netgear's most recent offering is slightly different. It's named Stora and meant for users who want to make their data available via the internet. They can bet accessed via FTP or the mystora website. It works with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It can double as an iTunes server and has two bays, which can be configured to mirror data. The MS2110 only comes with a single 1 TB drive and costs $230. There is also an optional service which allows for third-party integration, such as Flickr and mobile phones. This will cost you $20 a month after one free month.
Of the two options, Seagate's sounds better. It's cheaper in the long run and the $30 a year service is really worth it compared to Netgear's $240 a year. Clearly Seagate beats Netgear's. Plus, you can use the adapter to work with your existing external HD. However, you have to remember that uploading data will hamper your bandwidth quota. Usually, internet providers put a cap on upload speeds. This means that anytime that you are accessing your data via the internet from afar, you'll be eating into your quota. This doesn't concern users with unlimited data plans. Both are easy ways of making your data available to yourself and others via the internet.