NAS reccomendations?

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Looking to get

1. One I can plop onto the network with a static IP that will let me
mount it as a drive/folder  on our home-networked PCs. Guess that
would mean it would need samba/ntfs?

2. Looking to do something like 2x320gb or 2x500gb SATA in a Raid 1

3.Looking for ability to give device a unique name on my network

4. Looking to set up user accounts on the NAS to limit access if
someone happens to get on my Lan (doubtful)

Pretty much as a safe haven for things like resumes, pasword protected
files containing other passwords (heh), pictures etc...
Would you have any thoughts/suggestions for me?? would ya?? :)

Everyone I see that matches closly to what i'm looking for on Newegg
has people saying it's garbage as well as others saying it's great..

Thanks for any suggestions.


Re: NAS reccomendations?

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This came up on a.c.h.h. a few weeks ago - I suggest you look
through the archives.  No one was able to cite a decent consumer
level NAS.  Decent NAS's exist but they are not the consumer level
devices: it is the higher end units that work properly but for the
price of those you can buy a fully equipped PC, never mind a
minimalist box for file serving.

If you still want to go for a NAS device, steer clear of LaCie for
reliability reasons.  Steer clear of WD for performance reasons.
I particularly resent WD at the moment because a couple of weeks
ago I spent a full morning investigating a network outage which
looked like the switch.  Swapped out the switch - itself not a
trivial task since this was an almost-full 16 port unit with the
usual standard of cable 'management'.  Still no joy.  Reconnecting
each node individually and testing inbetween showed it to be a WD
NAS sat at the end of the room.  Reboot the NAS and suddenly
everything worked.  I'm not impressed that a) it fell over in the
first place - it is doing a simple job and no way of monitoring
except the network - it _should_ be bulletproof and b) it fell over
in such a way that it managed to take out an entire network segment.

As for your specific questions most NAS will cover them - there is
nothing in your requirements remotely unusual.  A couple of questions

What do you mean by a name on the network?  WINS or DNS?  If the
former that will be sorted out automatically by the SMB portion of
the device.  A DNS name is allocated externally.  If you don't have
a DNS server set up locally (which needs to be running all the
time) you need to add a line to the /etc/hosts file on each network
node - on Windows this is %WINDIR%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.

Authentication is dependent on the protocol used to access the
filesystem.  For SMB you _should_ have the usual methods of protection
available as you do when sharing files between computers.  

Andrew Smallshaw

Re: NAS reccomendations?


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If running 'nix, yes Samba. For the greatest level of
control you may want 'nix, a NAS with a larger userbase that
has some support knowlege specific to the unit you choose.

NTFS is unusual and unnecessary on a NAS unless you must
retain the ability to put a drive in that already held data
that was NTFS formatted.  Otherwise the client PCs don't
have a need for the NAS to use a filesystem they can read,
since they aren't directly accessing it, the OS takes care
of that.

NTFS on 'nix has matured quite a bit in recent years but
still has computational overhead that may reduce performance
on what is already fairly low performance seen with typical
consumer level NAS. Usually the drive is put in empty and
formatted to the supported filesystem(s) like EXT3.  There
is a windows driver for that if it were ever needed, though
it would be prudent to test that your windows box can read
the drive with that driver ahead of time, before an
emergency/failure/whatever might cause you to need do it to
access the data.

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There have been so many new products in the past couple
years, unfortunately I don't know what the best alternative
is at the moment.  Newegg reviews are indeed a mixed bag,
mostly I pay attention to those who write negative things,
focusing on the particulars of the problem.  Otherwise they
may have simply not done something correctly and blame the
hardware though many people writing essentially the same
thing does look fairly damning even without all the details.

For the money a small desktop PC is the better value.  More
robust PSU, expansion to more drives providing the case has
the bays for that,  better ventilation usually, need not be
any louder since no especially hot running components are
required to meet a good performance level... usually faster
than a NAS at the same price point, sometimes much faster.
The downsides to a PC in this role are size and power usage,
yet up to a point the larger size allows a larger fan which
can cool with lower RPM = less wear & noise.  It's hard to
get a PC as NAS down to under 30W or so while this is a
higher power consumption than most consumer NAS which tend
to be under 10W.

It might help someone to recommend one if they knew the
budget.  IIRC they go up in price pretty quickly when
talking about multi-drive with RAID capability but at least
RAID1 versus other levels shouldn't raise the price as much
if all else were equal.

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