6 minute read

How to reliably stor all you images, videos and all other data.

TL;DR1 If you can affort it, get a NAS to store all your digital assets on. By that I mean all you data except the internal drive that contain the computer operating system and apllications. While this is the best solution, be avare that it’s also expansive and will require you to learn how to set up and mantain a NAS.

With the tldr out of the way, we will now look at the different options that can be used to store your digital images. That will take us from internal drives all the way to external file servers.

Internal Hard Drive

On almost all computers an internal hard drive is the primary storage device located inside the computer system. It usually contains pre-installed software applications, the operating system and other files. As the name suggeste, the hard drive is inside the computer, and is generally not user replaceable. For most laptop computers it may not even possible to change the internal hard drive, it’s there for the lifespan of the computer.

Most desktop computers can have several internal hard drives, allowing them to provide greater data storage. On the other hand, laptop computers can usually only accommodate one internal hard drive, forcing the user to add an external storage device to store data that exceeds the laptop’s internal capacity.

External USB Hard Drives

External storage comprises devices that store information outside a computer. Such devices may be permanently attached to the computer, may be removable or may use removable media. An external drive that is uasable to store images on is a hard disk that comes in a case that connects to your computer with a USB cable. This allows you to add and remove a particular disk as needed, or have multiple external drives connected to your system.


The main difference between a SSD and a HDD is in how data is stored and accessed. A hard disk drive (HDD) is a traditional storage device that uses mechanical platters and a moving read/write head to access data. A solid state drive (SSD) is a newer, faster type of device that stores data on instantly-accessible memory chips.



Direct-attached storage (DAS) is a type of storage that is attached directly to a computer without going through a network. The storage might be connected internally or externally. Only the host computer can access the data directly. Other devices must go through the host computer to work with the data.

A DAS is usualy a separate system that can host two or more drives that can be attateched directly to your computer insted of through the network.


A NAS (Network Attatched Storage) unit is usually a computer connected to a network that provides only file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. Although it may technically be possible to run other software on a NAS unit, it is usually not designed to be a general-purpose server. For example, NAS units usually do not have a keyboard or display, and are controlled and configured over the network, often using a browser.

A full-featured operating system is not needed on a NAS device, so often a stripped-down operating system is used. For example, FreeNAS or NAS4Free, both open source NAS solutions designed for commodity PC hardware, are implemented as a stripped-down version of FreeBSD.

NAS uses file-based protocols such as NFS (popular on UNIX systems), SMB (Server Message Block) (used with MS Windows systems), AFP (used with Apple Macintosh computers). NAS units rarely limit clients to a single protocol.

There are several benefits of using NAS storage for home use:

  1. Centralized storage: NAS storage provides a centralized location for all your digital data, including music, videos, photos, and files. With NAS storage, you can easily access your files from any device connected to your home network, making it convenient to share data between family members.

  2. Data backup: A NAS storage can be set up as a backup solution, automatically backing up your data at regular intervals. This will ensure that your data is always safe, and you can easily recover it in the event of data loss.

  3. Media server: With NAS storage, you can set up a media server that can stream music, videos, and photos to your connected devices. This is particularly useful if you have multiple devices in the house, and you want to access your media on all of them.

  4. Remote access: NAS storage comes with remote access features that allow you to access your data from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This is useful if you travel frequently and want to access your personal data without physically being at home.

  5. Easy expandability: NAS storage can be easily expanded by adding more hard drives or upgrading the existing ones. This will give you more storage space, and you won’t have to worry about running out of space on your computer or laptop.


While a NAS provides both storage and a file system, a SAN (storage area network) provides only block-based storage and leaves file system concerns on the “client” side. SAN protocols include Fibre Channel, iSCSI, ATA over Ethernet (AoE) and HyperSCSI.

One way to loosely conceptualize the difference between a NAS and a SAN is that NAS appears to the client OS (operating system) as a file server (the client can map network drives to shares on that server) whereas a disk available through a SAN appears to the client OS as a disk, visible in disk and volume management utilities (along with client’s local disks), and available to be formatted with a file system and mounted.

SAN is for professional IT operations, not something a photographer shuld be conserbed about, so you can now forget that this exists when desciding what storage solution to chose.

Main fileserver





Powered by an 8th generation Intel® Core™ processor, the high-performance TVS-872XT NAS features both 10GBASE-T and Thunderbolt™ 3 high-bandwidth connectivity for tackling heavy workloads and smoothly transferring, displaying and editing 4K videos in real-time. With M.2 SSD support and the ability to install a graphics card, the TVS-872XT provides the ability to boost performance and create a scalable working environment for collaboration and high-speed file sharing. The TVS-872XT is driven by high-quality hardware that delivers optimum performance, comprehensive multimedia features, expandable storage capacity, and numerous other NAS functionalities to inspire greater creativity and accomplishments!

WD 10Tb disks

WD 10Tb disks

Backup server



Featuring an AMD Ryzen™ V1000 series V1500B quad-core processor and 10GbE/2.5GbE connectivity, the 9-bay TS-h973AX packs a high-capacity hybrid storage infrastructure into a compact physical footprint. With five 3.5-inch SATA 6Gbps drive bays, two 2.5-inch U.2 NVMe SSD slots (Slot 1 & 2 support both U.2 NVMe and SATA SSDs ), and two 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps SSD slots, the TS-h973AX can benefit from SSD caching to boost IOPS-intensive applications. With the ZFS-based QuTS hero operating system, the TS-h973AX ensures data integrity and supports block-level inline data deduplication and compression, near-limitless snapshots, and real-time SnapSync to satisfy mission-critical file servers, virtualization servers, collaborative video editing, and efficient data backup and recovery with business-class performance, job reliability, and lower overall cost.

Segate 16Tb disks

Segate 16Tb disks


Ronny A. Nilsen
  1. TL;DR or TLDR is an acronym that stands for “Too Long Didn’t Read.” While originally the acronym was was an insult to criticize a piece of writing as overly long, tl;dr have now taken on a second meaning as a shorthand for a “summary,” frequently called the tl;dr version of a longer account or article. Like it is used here.