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To a person that lives and breathes storage everyday, the term NAS, which stands for network attach storage, is probably one of the most widely used and coveted acronyms out there.


Because nearly every company that sells storage today wants a piece of the action, and the numbers say why. A recent research report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. says the worldwide market for NAS is projected to reach US$7.0 billion by the year 2017. According to a Storage Newsletter.com post on the subject, “Growth will be primarily driven by the increase in the number of home and small business networks, continued data explosion, and the growing need for data backup and archiving.”

I could go into all of the numbers floating around about data growth over the next 8 years, but I will spare you the numbers game.  It’s somewhere between 7 and 35 thousand exabytes by 2020. Need less to say, it’s a lot of data, and home users and small business users are not immune to the growth.

What this does tell me is with all this talk about the cloud, and the success companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, among others have experienced, there still remains some heavy growth in the small business and home storage market. Ironically, the same markets that have predominantly adopted public cloud storage.

So what gives?

I am not about to refute the research, because I do believe that network storage is the most cost effective way to backup and archive your digital files. But it also provides the flexibility to do much more.  Maybe that is the difference between network storage growth vs. cloud storage growth.  Flexibility vs simplicity. My home NAS is ideal for backup, but I can also use it as a personal server for my music, photos, videos, etc. I even have the ability to share my content with numerous devices as well as friends and family.

In the cloud, it’s all about simplicity…I use DropBox and Google for the most part, but mostly for documents I want to have access to whether I am at home or in the office.  I think of it as a replacement to the floppy disk, then zip disk, then CD, thumb drive…etc. I don’t think I even have a single piece of removable media left that I use. So is that what cloud storage is?  A glorified floppy disk, or thumb drive?

I guess for me it is…at least right now. Who know what the future “has in store” (pun intended).

How about you?  Do you have a home NAS?  Are you still carrying around a thumb drive?  Don’t tell me you still use a floppy disk…I won’t believe you :)

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