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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In Search for Home NAS (Network Attached Storage)

Over the past couple of weeks I have started considering my needs at home for a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device to add to our little home network. While I maintain what I consider to be a great annual backup solution for my photos, it is not so convenient for everyday backups, iTunes, media and shared file storage.

The current solution that I employ is either using the primary hard drive on my machine for primary storage for my media, photos, and large files and then a larger secondary 500GB SATA hard for backing up both mine and Ashley's computers. There are a number of reasons that it is lacking, mainly that given the number of photos I take, my main hard drive is filling up -- and I would prefer to use the secondary drive as scratch space to add a little additional performance. An added plus of a NAS would mean that Ashley could also access "shared" files on my computer when I am traveling and I can turn of my computer to save energy. And, every little bit helps.

As every good technologist knows, the most important part about any project are the requirements that you have. Without them, you can get lost in a multitude of possibilities and evaluate just about every product under the sun. So, from my perspective the requirements that I have are as followed:

  • All in cost of $500 or less
  • RAID 1 support. Hardware RAID preferred, but not required.
  • 1TB minimum raw storage (500GB RAID 1 mirrored)
  • Support for at least two SATA drives
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS) - the device needs to connect
  • Windows Vista / Windows Networking compatibility
  • Gigabit / 1000Base T capable
  • uPNP / Media Server support

With those requirements in mind, I started a search and the first two products I came into contact with were the D-Link DNS-323 and the Linksys NAS200 device. While historically I have always preferred Linksys products to the D-Link , in this particular case the Linksys does not support the 1000Base T gigabit speeds. (I have seen a few suggestions that you can connect a gigabit adapter via USB, but that defeats the purpose) While I liked the overall appeal of the Linksys, that was a deal breaker. Still, I was not too sure about the D-Link product, so I continued my search.

Now I brought a few more products into the mix to look at:

I was just starting my research and a decent deal came up on a pair of Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM drives that I could not pass up. Now with the imminent shipping and arrival of the hard drives, the pressure is on to make a decision quickly.

At first look, all of these newcomers are looking particularly promising, especially the THECUS N2050BD and it's hardware based RAID. So now it is time to do some more research and make that choice.

By chance have you tried out any of these NAS devices or are there any other that you would recommend I look at in the same price range?


small-tree.googleaccount said...

D-Link is a really cool bandwidth adapter. There are quite a few different options but something with RAID 1 should be more than enough for what you need.

Ken Hanscom said...

Thanks for the comment. I ended up selecting a product from Galaxy NAS that I wrote about further in this article:

I am very happy with it's performance minus a couple of hiccups so far!