View Full Version : NAS - Network Attached Storage

02-28-2008, 03:37 PM
Does anyone have any experience with NAS? I was looking at what's out there last night, and the customer reviews I'm reading make them sound like they're more complicated and a pain in the ass than they should be.

I'm wanting to set up a networked hard drive for backup and file storage/sharing. 500 GB is more than enough.

Any suggestions/comments?

02-29-2008, 09:13 AM
Theres a few ways to go about it.

1.Server based hardware and software solution. Ive done setups using all of these:
*FreeNAS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeNAS)
*Windows Server 2003
*Windows Home Server

Of course there are great Linux options too, though I havent used any. I know quite a few who have, quite happily too - but they are quite confident with terminal windows and the like ;)

Out of the box server kit can be expensive. RAID setups a pain, especially if you want mirroring/contingency built in. If you have the knack, youre much better off DIY, you'll save a heck of alot of money. On the cheaper side, you can get SATA enclosures of different types. The ones that are gigabit LAN are great, but obviously more expensive, and you have firewire and usb2 options, which are more cost friendly


2. Use a standard OS. If youve got some basic kit around, and an xp(or linux if you prefer) install disc, you might as well use that IMO. You can achieve everything a NAS can do and more. You can do all the RAID biz too. Depending on who you ask, different people will recommened hardware RAID over software RAID, or vice versa. Heck, some people are happy to use JBOD(just a bunch of disks) because they like to contain certain files to certain drives, and be able to hot swap them into other systems.

Ray will obviously be able to tell you much more, being a network admin by trade, my interest in these things extends only as far as creating a centralised source for media files to be delivered to multiple home theater pcs, running either Windows Media Center(XP or Vista) or the OSource Media Portal.

If you arent a network setup prodigy, I highly recommend you give network magic (http://www.networkmagic.com) a trial. Every single person I have shown it to has ended up buying it, its fantabulous! No more wizards, setting up file and printer shares is a couple of clicks. For me, this was proggie was a godsend. It also played nicely between Linux setups, other wired and/or wireless devices like skype phones, a DS, PSP etc, and my sister can even jump on with here MacBook with no hassles.

Heres the map of my current setup > its really intuitive and easy to follow/tweak. No terminal windows in sight.


Im my setup I'm actually using "server" as a second home theater pc, running windows vista x64. It gives me access to all 4TB of my recorded TV/vids/music via vista media center, but also does HDTV, which a plain old server doesn't ! Of course, its spec requirement is higher as a result, but I love watching TV on my 28" wall mounted LCD in the bedroom :D

so there are many options, it just depends on what you want to achieve with it. Im sure Ray etc can fill you in more on Linux options.

good luck phreakster ;)


02-29-2008, 10:13 AM
That was a lot of words for "build a server." :p

The reason I specifically asked about NAS is because I literally just want a hard drive shared on the network. A whole server setup is a waste to me.

I can easily achieve what I want by sharing a hard drive on one of my PCs, but that PC would have to always be on.

El Sitherino
02-29-2008, 11:01 AM
There are some router/network bases that have USB ports that you can plug an external drive into to access through the network. I know the Apple airports allow this, I believe there are also a few linksys routers that do this as well, with a bit of adjustment.

02-29-2008, 01:44 PM
I thought about that last night. Unfortunately, the Linksys router I have doesn't have any USB ports. But I may consider finding a (wireless) router that does and donate my old one to a family member.

One google search later:

Here's what I have now (http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1175236661542&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=6154239789B01#widget), and here's one with a "storage link." (http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1162354643512&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=4351239789B01) Hmmm, the fancier one also has gigabit ports.

Edit: The costumer reviews I'm reading for all sorts of solutions I'm considering is really putting me off. :/

03-01-2008, 12:27 AM
That was a lot of words for "build a server." :p

The reason I specifically asked about NAS is because I literally just want a hard drive shared on the network. A whole server setup is a waste to me.

phreakism, if you have a pc or any device containing a drive that is doling out files to other pcs, it is acting as a ""server"" :D You can even use one of those external USB drives everyone seems to be using

to achieve what you want > you can try XPs sharing wizard(lolz - not recommended) You can also map a drive as a network drive but ity is just so messy and reconfigures every restart unless you implement some workarounds > hassle!

OR give network magic a try(free trial). All you'll do is click "share folder" select the whole drive" and bobs your uncle. It will do all teh magical stuff your router needs to make them accessible across all(client) pcs that will have access to it.

I do exactly that with my media center pc in the lounge.(I also do it with the pc called "server" but thats is RAID so I wont go in detail to muddle the description fo how easy it can be)

>>On the PC called "shuttle" the "B" drive is a single 750GB drive contains just my avis which are accessible from any pc that gets on my network >>


try it > its so easy **I** can do it !!(I hate software fiddling!) lolz :p


03-01-2008, 03:16 PM
I'm pretty sure I won't need network magic. I can map drives and set up the network to make everything work just fine. I just can't decide which route to go.

I'm inclined to upgrade to the WRT350N router, but half the customer reviews say it's a piece of crap. I've never had any problems with the WRT300N. If I got the nw router, I'd buy a 500GB USB Hard drive and plug it in.

I have no experience with NAS devices, so unless there's a geek store around that has one on display for some hands on, I'm not in a hurry to plop down the money for one.

It's only a $50 difference between the two above. I'm also thinking about buying a small computer case and just building a small PC.

03-02-2008, 01:46 PM
for 500GB only, why build something extra...means extra $$$, extra power etc. Not a very efficient way to go about it.

You already have a router, only upgrade that if you want gigabit speeds(and have the appropriate NIC in your pc) Unless your streaming 1080 video, or constantly shifting *massive* files, its a bit of a wank IMO!

Just get the ext drive and make it happen phreak. NAS enclosures and the like are more valid when you want to play with >1TB. As my system is spread across 3 PCS, I could squeeze 12TB if I needed it, but 4TB is more than enough atm.

As 500GB Usb drives are so darn cheap, its easily ghe most cost effective option. Attach it to an existing pc, set up the share and off ya go. (If xp is making the share difficult for you, remembers uncle astros advice...if your taking more than two clicks to do it, then your wasting valuable time you can waste doing other things!)

Im sure you'll figure it out phreaky ;)