I have three Network Attached Storage drives on my network.
It is really nice because no matter what machine I connect to the network I can access them.
I have them set up as samba servers since I have Linux and Windows machines on the network.
It is really handy to just drag and drop files that I want to share. Most of the machines that I connect to the network are already set up with the ability to access windows shared drives so I usually don't have to do any setup to make use of them from a new machine.
Two of mine are made by Hawking and have a very annoying setup utility that only works from windows because they seem to have hard coded the initial default IP address for them into the utility and they do not tell anywhere in the documentation what it is. This is particularly ironic since the internal code on them is Linux.
Oh well, once they are set up using the setup disk, they are just an address or name on the network and can be accessed via any machine on the network using any operating system so it really doesn't matter.
My experiences in the early days of personal computers has left me with a deep distrust of any backup system that uses compression and therefore has the potential of holding your data hostage if said system is ever updated after you have created the backup files.
So, like you, I prefer to just save complete uncompressed files in multiple places. Having a couple of terabytes of storage on the network allows me to keep multiple copies of vital data on different machines in different locations in a form that I will always be able to read. These days, the cost of the drives is nothing compared even to your time expended to create compressed archives. I know, you can set the systems up to do automatic backups. I just don't really trust automatic anything. I want to know for certain that the data was copied and readable before I relax and consider it to be backed up. Ok, I admit it, I tend to be just a bit paranoid.
The only real catch to using these drives is that you must have at least one computer turned on on the network that can become the master browser for the network at all times. Otherwise, you can not access your network drives by names such as netdrive1 and netdrive2.
You can still access them by their IP addresses though...if you can remember them.