Computer assistance required
At work we have two of them for cad file storage and retrieval which is by no means slow like wifi. The two at work are hardwired into our Office LAN. After reading your post I am going to look into a "WD MyCloud EX4, 8TB setup. Configured into a raid so I have 6TB available".
cool idea. ?
NAS is the way to go. The smaller Western Digital versions are great but if you want to get something with some serious ease of use and just as much functionality as a full blown Windows Server take a serious look at the Synology NAS devices. Something like this:
There's nothing special about the hardware, they're all just a box that holds drives, what sets the Synology apart is the operating system Disk Station Manager or DSM. It has nearly every function available that a Windows Server does but the management and administration is EASY by comparison. You can set it up as a FTP or with VPN for remote access, create user accounts with access permissions and there are multiple options for backing your data up either to the cloud or locally or both. It also doesn't discriminate on the brand of drive you use although I would recommend using drives that are specifically made to use as NAS storage drives. One of the cooler features is that if you format the drives to Synology's RAID setup you don't have to use all the same drive sizes so stuff it with whatever you have; 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 1.5TB and upgrade the sizes as they fail.
I have the 8 bay version at the office. 4 drives are used for local storage, 2 drives are used as a local backup and the last 2 drives are SSD that are used as a read/write buffer. I have an identical unit at home that the office unit mirrors to every night. I also have the office unit setup to backup to Dropbox in real time. So my backup approach is 3 pronged, local onsite, local offsite & cloud. If a local file is corrupted I can easily go back in versions within the local onsite backup to recover it, if the onsite hardware fails completely I run home grab that unit and plug it back into the office, if my office and my home burn down everything can be accessed via DB which is current to the last time someone hit save.
For the cloud backup it integrates with all the bigs, DB, Google Drive, One Drive, Amazon, ect. There are also options for backing up user work stations if you want. You can also build Virtual Machines if you need to run a local license server for example.
I fought with traditional Windows servers for several years when we started out. I think it's because that's what I saw at the firm I came from. I soon realized that's why that firm had a dedicated IT department to administer it. I can't say enough about the functionality and ease of use of the Synology system. There's also a HUGE support community out there to help with questions.
I use the WD external drives - my passport, elements, my book and a handful of thumb drives
I Second the idea of Google Drive, and also a co-located version of that data in your office that is updated to the Google storage. Always keep an active back up of your data. Applications can be reinstalled cheaply. Data that disappears, is gone forever.
RAID systems and multidrive set ups are great if you have huge data sets and intensive constant usage( think web servers and large office groups) however, you can scale your need for this based on your current catalog of data and expected usage needs pretty quickly.
For most stuff any more, I use Google, Thumb drives, and occasionally external HD for massive data (imagery, music, etc) but keep it simple, inexpensive and effective for the most part. Good Luck.
NAS storage drive (can be accessed with wifi). AND google drive. Keep your files in two places in case one burns down or gets accidentally erased.