ioSafe N2 - Your own Private Muscly Cloud

ioSafe N2 – Your own Private Muscly Cloud


I wrote recently about the Synology NAS, I will write more about it soon as I’ve added to it! But there are, as they say, two sides to every story and here’s the other side to that story!

Introducing the ioSafe N2 NAS


Having (had!) an IT background and experiencing first hand a number of times people losing their data – sometimes LOTS of data – and being completely overwhelmed at the thought of not knowing what they had saved somewhere else and what was “gone forever*” I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case for me.

At the same time, I wanted to be able to get to “stuff” from wherever I was. I do use multiple “online” storage things, Dropbox is my main online storage space, I’ve also just started using COPY who give much more free space.. Why multiples? Who puts all of their eggs in one basket? But we’re talking 20gb here and 30gb there… If I wanted to have an entire copy of my computer online just incase something really shoddy happened like theft, flood, fire, or something else… The ability to get to my digital life (as I like to call it) is crucial. I work from home, I have client data (As a photographer, I have photographs obviously, but they’re covered with my other NAS, the DS1512+) and I need to be able to access that data at all time.

There’s also the whole “would I walk up to someone in the street and hand them all the photos of my kid, all of my important business data” that Robb touches on in the video below… I’m sure you’ve heard of businesses folding – well, it has happened to online storage companies too [READ THIS this is from 2009, but there’s nothing to say it can’t happen today] and with this firmly in mind, I smile about my N2 sitting securely in a cupboard in my house, out of line of sight, quietly backing up all of my precious digital stuffs…

That said, having this NAS packed in a cupboard out of harms way, I don’t get to use the SDXC slot on the front of the unit, but it is there if you want to use it – simply take photographs on an SD card, pop the card into the front of your NAS and it mounts up like a little external drive and you can copy all of the images across. Very handy.


Lets hop around a little.. I run my own business, but it isn’t large and I don’t have co-located servers with my data replicating across multiple sites – if I wanted to make sure I was 100% safe, I’d do that, but it is cost restrictive for me right now, so I needed to be able to trust what I could afford** The ioSafe N2 is sort of like a baby army tank that stores data.. It can withstand fire, water, three year olds etc… 1500 degrees f. for half hour – you’d want to hope the fire brigade had put your house out in that time!, Under ten feet of water for 72 hours… This is no ordinary NAS (Network attached storage) device. There’s also the included one time data recovery service – ioSafe will recover your data up to $5K worth of DRS included with every ioSafe product… that is pretty rad if you ask me! (read more on that here)

I’m using the WD Red NAS specific drives in the N2. They are more efficient, and with a 35% MTBF (mean time between failures) increase as well as dedicated 24/7 support, they’re pretty much the only choice for home / small office NAS. I also use them in my Synology DX513 – I’ve certainly noticed that they run cooler than any other brand drives I’m using.


You can see above (and below) where your data is stored, on those two disks in the middle… Then there’s a solid metal plate that goes on the front of the disk bay, then a plug that is the front of the unit… There is airflow around the sealed unit that has heat dispersion wings on it, so your disks maintain a normal working temp, too.


Lets jump back to where I was talking about accessing my data remotely shall we… The ioSafe runs Synology DSM (I’m currently running the 4.3 Beta on my ioSafe with great success) DSM pretty much turns the N2 into a fully fledged cloud (cloud simply means server that can be accessed remotely in this case.. sort of) and there are some very handy iPhone and Android and (even haha) Windows phone apps that you can use to get to your data.. You can log into your server via FTP too.. (It also works as a web server, print server, ftp server, media server… this thing can’t make a decent espresso, but then I can, so we’re good!)

My ioSafe N2 is setup using the Synology Hybrid Raid, I use two 2TB disks in (basically) raid one so I have a one disk fault tolerance.. My stuff is essentially safe unless Godzilla comes along and eats my N2..


I use my N2 in conjunction with my other ioSafe drives.. I have a Solo G3 and a Rugged Portable (That my brother has borrowed to take around the world!!)

Who is the N2 for? 

Anyone that is serious about keeping their data safe but maybe not quite ready to buy a serve in a datacentre. (You can also bolt the N2 to your floor / hide it in a cupboard and access it wirelessly!)


  • Life proof.
  • Connectivity.
  • Massive feature set via DSM.
  • Small footprint by comparison.


  • Errr? For the market this beast is aimed at, there are none.

I want to leave you with a video from Robb Moore, he’s the guy that started ioSafe when nothing else would suit his needs… I’m very glad he did because right now, for me, nothing else does what this N2 does.


I was provided with the N2 for review, I was already an ioSafe user… I use product I love, I don’t have time for rubbish that doesn’t work – who does. I give this N2 a total of 10 out of 11 gold stars, I only deduct one because I know I’m going to need more space soon and there’s not a 4 disk model – yet.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.



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Sime (aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Some Older Comments

  • Sime August 29, 2013 07:40 pm

    Hi Martin, Take a look at the larger Synology units.. Start at the 1813 I guess, and go from there.

  • Martin Johnson August 29, 2013 07:37 pm

    This looks like a nice solution for storing stills. I currently have 17TB of video data on 7 X 2TB firewire drives and 3 x 1TB drives. Backing up to the cloud is not an option (hurry up NBN), so I'd love to know if there are any seriously large (20TB or so) hard drive systems out there.

  • Raymond August 27, 2013 03:10 am

    This is great. Another backup option is to backup all of the data periodically to external hard drives and then store them in a safety deposit box at the bank. I have two sets of backup drives, one in the safety deposit box and the other one at home. I circulate them once a month or more frequently if there has been lots of activity. I use Tarylynn from KanastaCorp as my backup software. It is very easy to use and I am always in control of the backup process. For me, this level of disaster backup works very well.

  • Sime August 27, 2013 01:13 am

    Hey Ray, as it is a network attached storage device, it is compatible with most computers... You need to be a little tech savvy, or have someone in to set it up and let it run. There is a LOT of support online for the operating system, DSM, so with some Googling you'd find the answers you needed. --Sime

  • Sime August 27, 2013 01:11 am

    Ahhh, I see what you're saying... Right, well, there's no way around that for me currently - I have a 200K+ LR5 library that is on a fixed 4TB external drive. I keep my raw files on my NAS, but that is a backup of them... I guess you could take a copy of the your LR cat on an external disk on holidays / with you when you travel, get your request in for an image, look at your library, work out which image, connect to your NAS, download the raw, process and send - round about, but until I can easily stick 4TB in the cloud, that's how I have to do it.


  • ray August 27, 2013 12:59 am

    I think this is awesome. I use various ext drives for all my stuff. But I am not very tech savvy, so what's a guy like me to do? I would like to get something like this but how do I know if my current system will be compatible, etc? Does this kind of thing come with detailed instructions?

  • Jaap August 27, 2013 12:56 am

    Hi Sime, that's exactly my problem. I have about 60.000 photos organized in LR5. Now I'm on my holiday and I get a photo order regarding sports photos I shot last year. When I should have had a NAS with web access, I could have sold a photo, but have can I find hit without LR with only a folder structure via web/ftp access? How do you manage this?

  • Sime August 26, 2013 10:58 pm

    Hi Jaap, It has been so long since I've used anything but Lightroom to manage my images, I don't remember how I used to find images that I want.. I use tags in Lightroom, I sort by year -> month -> date.. I've searched using Finder on Mac and I've had very annoying results (finding nothing, really...) Sorry! --Sime

  • Jaap August 26, 2013 10:09 pm

    Sounds like a heavy duty solution. I don't know how it's in other countries, but in the Netherlands one can have unlimited back-up space at KPN for only €5 a month. Okay, it'll take much time to restore my 2GB of photo and video, but most people will anyway have an external harddisk for normal back-up purposes, the datacenter is only for theft and emergency. As for me my main back-up is a simple external harddisk plus a second external harddrive I store at my office. Maybe I will once buy a (less sophisticated) NAS, especially for being able to access my photos from anywhere. The remainng question is, how to find the wanted photo without Lightroom?