Finding the best hard drive NAS storage for a photographer: The QNAP TVS 871-T
Jan 09, 2016

Over the years we’ve gone through quite a few external hard drive solutions for our photography business. We’ve tried to find the right products for our requirements as we’ve built up our company, and this hasn’t always been easy!

In the early days a portable and fast external drive was fine, with a good amount of space on it. More recently however, we have needed a lot more space, and crucially, a lot more speed. Up until our latest ‘server’, we’ve been using typical hard disc arrays that run on our local office network. These have plugged into the ethernet ports of our router and generally have been very reliable. They were easy to upgrade and buy more discs for, offering good RAID protection and user interfaces.

The one thing these hard disc ‘home office’ enclosures lacked was speed. As cameras get better the photographic files sizes increase, which historically has left us with painstakingly slow data transfer speeds. We resorted to working locally on our computer hard drives to edit our photography assignments, and then backing everything up overnight.

Our business has two partners who often need to both be able to access the same data, and this always provided us with a file transfer speed problem, the 1Gig limit of Gigabit ethernet was just too slow when trying to access backed-up projects.

We didn’t want the hassle and investment of huge server racks in our small business, and didn’t want to have to re-structure the infrastructure if we moved premises.

Recently, a new product came to market which has revolutionised our workflows. The product is the QNAP TVS 871-T. This hard disc array varies from the traditional NAS (Network Attached Storage) hard disc array because, due to some incredibly clever stuff we don’t understand, it allows us to use DAS (Direct Attach Storage) connections to access our data.

This means we can have two computers connected at the same time via Thunderbolt 2 to around 64TB of external storage. There is also plenty of expansion via 10GbE ports which may well come in handy when using freelancers and hiring staff.

All in all, we now have a system that is blisteringly quick, easily assessable and very expandable. We can’t thank QNAP enough for putting thought into their product development and creating such a great bit of kit. I imagine professional photographers and videographers will be investing in this gear, and not looking back.

Check it out below!