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#11035 by Neil Blanchard
Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:22 pm

I had a little bit of direct experience now with a network attached storage unit (aka NAS) from Buffalo Technologies; their 0.6TB unit:


It is sold by places like Staples (I think?) and NewEgg for about $590 (+shipping):

They also make a 1.0TB model (~$710), and a 1.6TB model (which I think is ~$900). In a nutshell, these units are 4 hard drives (in the case of the 0.6TB unit, they are each 160GB Western Digital models), with a small specialized motherboard running a stripped down version of Linux. Now, you don't need to even know this: you set it up with a web based client program, and once it is set up, it just does it's job; which is being a file server.

The default set up has the four HD's in a RAID 5 array, which uses parity to check the data, and it provides redundancy. If one of the HD's breaks, you just replace it, and the data is "rebuilt" from the other three drives. The actual storage capacity is 480GB on the model I have on hand -- roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of the theoretical size. You can also run them as RAID 1, or as one BIG "disk", or as four separate disks; but I think that RAID 5 is the way to go, frankly.

You use the client software to configure the network address and other network settings, like the name of your workgroup or domain. It can be used with Windows, Macintosh, or Linux machines; all at the same time, if you want. It has four USB ports, one of which can be used to be a print server, and the others can be used for external storage (HD's or cameras, etc), and there is a 10/100/1000 LAN port, and a serial port for a UPS unit.

Once you create folders with the client software, and share them -- they show up in the Windows network browser, and you can then map to them. Simple and easy stuff. It also can be done in groups of users, and it supports anonymous file transfer protocol. [Edit: It has built-in backup software, that can backup the data to a another TeraStation on the network -- but not to a computer on the network, because it cannot log onto other shares on the network. It only has "outgoing" shares.]

It has a relatively quiet (92mm Adda brand) fan, and it has it's power supply fan, too. The front has at least 6 LED's that tell you what is happening with the unit.

The coolest thing about this type of unit is that is just a file server. Your data is going to be a lot more secure on it because no other software can be installed on it! Your client machines may have their troubles, but the file server cannot run any other programs, including malware. So, this makes it hard to "infect", as far as I can tell; especially since it runs Linux.

I am still curious to know a little more about it: how the HD's are formatted, etc., but at this moment, it is looking to be an excellent solution for file storage and access. We will probably be getting one of these for our little home network, and we are considering it for the office, as well.
Last edited by Neil Blanchard on Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
#11087 by Ted B
Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:01 pm
One tera-byte!!

I remember when we replaced our dual-floppy disk Kaypro's with 10-meg Kayro-10s...and wonder what we needed all that extra memory for.
#11091 by Martell
Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:32 am
At the weekend I must install such a Buffalo station.
The OS is Linux. Configured via WEB access.
First I would like to have the Pro Version, because there is a faster chip inside. So the speed in the network is better. Buffalo use a 1GB LAN adapter, but the speed is not better than 100Mbit.
So the Pro version also has hot plug cases for the harddisk. But it was not available at this time. So I must order the "small" one.
Tomorrow we will get this Terra station, so I can say more.


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