Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "nas"

Friday, August 17, 2012

When A Router Aspires To Be More

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"However, if your needs are limited to casual usage, such as sharing documents and streaming music and photos, then a router with built-in network storage capability -- one that comes with internal storage or can host an external storage device and shares that with the rest of the network -- fits the bill better."

I would have to agree with the first suggestion made in the article, that if you have serious storage needs, a dedicated NAS is the way to go. Networking companies have been looking for ways to differentiate themselves by adding more features to their routers. From NAS capabilities, to sharing USB printers to cloud functionality. However, if you are on a budget, a router can function as a competent NAS. A decent NAS can cost quite a few shiny pennies, where a NAS capable router can be had for dirty pennies. Transfer rates will be slower, but it does mean that you have one less device to manage for your home "data center."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Networked Attached Storage - Showdown

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"We're going to take a look at four of the top NAS devices currently on the market. All the products we tested support up to four SATA drives in the standard RAID levels (0/1/5/10), providing exceptional performance and reliability. These devices are geared toward small businesses and home offices, and they include features and performance that extend above and beyond what the typical home user will require. But then again, we've always felt that overkill is just another product feature."

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is still an important consideration for many small businesses and homes. I say "still" because the possibility of cloud storage shades the picture somewhat, making things less clear. At the end of the day many people need large file stores available for holding ever expanding media libraries, or for backing up multiple computers. Having that storage physically located in your own home or business and not dependent on an Internet connection for access may be a very good thing. Maximum PC has tested four of the latest NAS solutions, and provided their perspective on their relative merits. If you think you need a NAS, read this article for some good insights.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Data Encryption Can Drag Down NAS Performance

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:00 PM,2873.html

"Three vendors of network-attached storage, Qnap, Synology, and Thecus, sent over Intel Atom-based NAS servers to test the effects of protecting your data via encryption. But performance and configuration options are not identical, as our testing shows. Once you start getting into higher-end networked storage devices for SMBs, you often see value-added features like the ability to encrypt stored data to improve security. There are different ways to achieve this, which depend on the vendor. Some employ encryption at the partition level, while others encrypt at the file level."

If you've got a high-end NAS device - typically deployed in business scenarios - you may want to think twice about enabling data encryption. Depending on what type of hardware your NAS uses, and how encryption has been implemented, performance could fall off a cliff. Read up!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Network Hard Drives With Extra Cloud Goodness

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:00 PM

"It has long been a dream of mine to connect a hard drive at home to the Internet. This dream, of late, has been deferred by the rise of cloud services like SugarSync and Dropbox but two hard drive manufacturers, Buffalo and Iomega, have come out with compelling devices that seem to finally allow home and home office users to get the benefits of cloud hosting with the safety of complete control over your data."

Having network-attached storage for your data is a good thing. Having that data be easily accessible to the outside world, as long as it's done securely, it's a great thing. It's extremely handy to be able to grab files from anywhere in the world, as long as said files aren't too big and your upstream Internet connection at home isn't too slow. I don't use the remote file transfer feature on my Windows Home Server too often, but when I need it, it's a life saver!

Synology DS1511+: Up To 45TB Of Network Accessible Storage

Posted by Philip Colmer in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

Product Category: Network Attached Storage
Manufacturer: Synology
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $1,360.80 USD
System Requirements: Gigabit Ethernet for maximum throughput
Specifications: Holds up to 5 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drives with connectivity for two further 5-drive bays. Size: 157mm x 248mm x 233mm. Weight: 4.25kg. LAN: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet. More specifications available.


  • Very fast;
  • Very flexible;
  • Very capable.


  • Quite expensive;
  • Doesn't completely go to sleep if unused.

Summary: A solid unit delivering up to 45TB of network attached storage, with some additional functionality that makes it useful to both home and business user alike. Read more...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Backing Up Is Not Hard To Do: Reviewing The Synology DS211+

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"Synology is one of the rapidly rising players in the SMB (Small to Medium Businesses) / SOHO (Small Office & Home Office) NAS market. This market is a highly competitive one with many players like QNAP, Thecus, Netgear, Drobo, LaCie, Seagate and Western Digital. Consumers with a necessity to store and backup their home media collection are also amongst the customers in this market."

The way I see it, with Microsoft ceding the SMB and SOHO NAS market to other businesses (Yes, that is what you did when you got rid of Drive Extender, Microsoft.) the market just got much more interesting. While a two-drive system may not seem like a lot at first, keep in mind that three TB drives are becoming more accessible. Unfortunately, while hard drives are cheaper than ever, it seems that the cost of a well performing NAS is not cheap. While power consumption is always a concern, it has often made me wonder, where for the cost of one of these performance NAS devices, you can purchase a low end desktop computer and load it up with NAS software like FreeNAS. Doing so would not be that much more work than setting up something from Synology or Drobo either. Anyone think these are worth the price?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Considerations Before Buying a Network Attached Storage Device

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

"Having used a number of these digital media storage systems over the past several years I have had to go through the buying process; working through my own requirements, researching and evaluating the options in the market, and finally selecting the right system for my usage. In an attempt to make your purchase decision easier I wanted to share some thoughts on how to select the right product for your environment."

If you're thinking about buying a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, it's not something you want to purchase blindly - you'll want to make sure it has all the features you'll need. The author of this article points out 13 different factors that you should consider before making a purchase. Some of them can be easily dismissed - who cares what it looks like if it's going to be in a back room? - but others, such as the device's capability to back up your systems, should be given careful consideration.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Windows Home Server 2011: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:00 PM

"This leaves Windows Home Server 2011 sorely lacking when it comes to fitting the needs of the average home consumer, the target market that was envisioned for the original Windows Home Server. While WHS 2011 is a polished improvement of Windows Home Server, storage management has become more complicated, storage growth is more complicated, and storage protection will either depend on what is likely to be complicated RAID from the OEMs or else Server Backup with its limitations."

Image via Engadget

Whoa boy. This has sure turned into an ugly situation! If I'm understanding what I'm reading correctly, when you add a hard drive to Windows Home Server 2011, it shows up as a distinct drive rather than a pool of storage - this is what the loss of the Drive Extender technology means. Further, libraries are locked to a single drive without any duplication of folders like we had before. Any duplication of the data will come via whatever hardware-based RAID solution an OEM wants to integrate into their product. This also means that the only way to back up the server itself is to an external hard drive.

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing a whole lot of ugliness here. I'll be keeping my current WHS running as long as I can, thank you very much.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Synology Release 45TB Capable Monster

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 AM

"Just how low will your jaw drop if you know that the Synology DS1511+ DiskStation is capable of storing up to 45TB of data? That is right, this five-bay NAS is capable of accepting up to two DX510 expansion units for a total of up to 15 drives, and if you decide to go all out with 3TB drives, that can yield up to 45TB of storage - a figure that should send you into orbit."

I get strange looks of bewilderment from my friends and colleagues when they find out I have 5TB of storage for my home server. Even I think that's a lot, but with approx 400 DVD and Bluray copies being 20-40GB each, the space soon mounts up. However to fill 45TB of space I would need to have an astonishingly big movie collection. That said, I remember thinking 1Gb was a huge amount and I would never fill it. How times change.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Backing It Up At Home: The Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Network Attached Storage System
Manufacturer: Seagate
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $159.00 USD
System Requirements: Router with an available Ethernet port–WiFi router required for wireless file access and backup; Internet connection for activation and Internet file sharing; Internet Explorer® 7, Firefox® 3.x, Chrome 4.x, Safari® 3, or later web browser; Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows® XP or Mac OS® X 10.4.9 or later operating system, and, of course, data needing to be stored.
Specifications: 3.13in L x 5.31in W x 6.75in H (80mm x 135mm x 171mm). Weight: 2.81lb (1.28kg); Available in 1 TB and 2 TB sizes.


  • Small & Self Contained;
  • Basic Backup Software Included;
  • USB Port.


  • Administrative Interface Is Not User Friendly;
  • Flaky Time Machine Backups;
  • Lack of SSH Access.

Summary: Seagate's GoFlex Home Provides a bare-bones Network Attached Storage (NAS) System for a reasonable price. It's set-and-forget configuration lets you rest easy knowing your backups are done automatically in the background while you work or sleep. But does it do enough for hardcore users? And will it keep normal users safe? Read more...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Segate Debuts GoFlex Home, A Network Storage System

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"Seagate today unveiled the newest addition to its GoFlexTM family of hard drives-the GoFlexTM Home network storage system. When this easy-to-use device is connected to a wireless router, an entire household can centrally store, easily access and continuously back up files wirelessly from both Windows® and Mac OS® X operating systems on the home[1] network. The new centralized storage system simplifies the backup process by being compatible with Apple® Time Machine®, as well as including a version of the backup application for both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. With the GoFlex Home storage system, families can also wirelessly stream photos, movies and music to most network connected DLNA devices, such as game consoles or a GoFlexTM TV HD media player, from any room in the house. With just two cable connections and a simple, illustrated, step-by-step installation tool that gets the device up and running in minutes, the GoFlex Home system solves the household storage puzzle in a snap."

I have a Windows Home Server, and for the most part am quite fond of it, but despite Microsoft's best efforts, it's still too complex of a system for the average home user to implement. Seagate is entering the already very crowded NAS space, but they could be on to something here with the GoFlex Home. The price of the 1 TB model is only $159.99 USD, and the price of the 2 TB model is $229.99. I think $160 is quite affordable for network-level backup, and is much cheaper than even the least expensive Windows Home Server. We'll see if we can get our hands on one for review - stay tuned!

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Friday, May 7, 2010

16 Terabytes Ought To Be Enough

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"From the man that brought you the OS Xbox Pro and the Cinematograph HD comes... a cockpit canopy filled with hard drives? Not quite. Meet the Black Dwarf, a custom network-attached-storage device from the mind of video editor Will Urbina, packing 16TB of RAID 5 magnetic media and a 1.66GHz Atom N270 CPU into a completely hand-built Lexan, aluminum and steel enclosure."

Need a weekend project? Try building your own NAS. From Scratch. Including the case. The Black Dwarf looks pretty impressive, especially for a homemade project and it is built to perform too! Topping out at 16TB of storage (it looks like the builder settled for some rendundancy) it also holds more internal capacity than any other NAS you will find out there. All that storage should should last a while, but I know that if I were to have such a beauty, I would become really careless about what I saved and fill it up within months.

Tags: hardware, nas

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Share Your Life With Iomega

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:30 AM

"Connect the Iomega iConnect device to your router in either a wired or wireless configuration*, and it’s as easy as plugging external USB drives or USB Flash drives (any brand) into any of the four USB ports on the Iomega iConnect device, making the drives automatically connected to and accessible from any computer on your network or remotely via the web."

In all honesty, the iConnect is nothing new. It acts as a NAS which you connect USB hard drives to, making your files available on your network, or through the web. Similar devices that come to mind are Windows Home Servers and the Pogoplug, though this one has a slightly lower price at $129. The one thing I am curious about, which rarely gets promoted with most NAS based devices is what its actual data throughput is like. Sure, it has a gigabit port, but I have come across many a NAS with gigabit ports which provide disappointing performance. Having over a terabyte of data, moving things around, or even streaming high bit-rate video is definitely a concern.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 Released

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:00 PM

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 was released yesterday, so if you own a Windows Home Server, log into the console and run a Windows Update to grab it. My initial experience with it was a bit bumpy - after the install, which I kicked off by using Windows Update on the server via the console, my Windows 7 systems were reporting that they needed to update the client software. Fair enough - except that the installation gave me errors and wouldn't complete. I also noticed that my Windows Home Server shared folders weren't accessible on the network. I did a remote desktop session, installed a Windows Update that I saw, then rebooted the Windows Home Server. After that, everything started working again. If it matters, I didn't beta test Power Pack 3 - it's a stock Power Pack 2 system.

One of the new features is shown above - you can see the status of your Windows Home Server storage inside Windows Media Center. How useful is this? Well, it's faster than logging into the console I suppose, though not by much. Of more interest is the libraries integration with Windows 7, assorted bug fixes related to Windows 7, improvements in search from Windows Search 4, and a TV archive system that will move your TV shows from the computer they were recorded on to the Windows Home Server - and it will transcode them to either a Zune-friendly or Windows Mobile-friendly format along the way. Cool! I have to say, it's great to see the Windows Home Server team continue to improve the product on a regular basis, and all for free.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Add Video Across Your Network Using Windows Live Movie Maker

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:09 PM

"Windows Live Movie Maker, having started off as a glass hammer, has made significant strides in the areas of functionality and usability. If you haven't already pushed all the buttons in the new release, I recommend you check out Paul's thorough review.Bozo. What were you thinking? While playing around with Movie Maker, I tried to import some video content stored on my HP MediaSmart. Just my luck, it's not supported. As you can plainly see on the right, Microsoft suggests I copy my content - which could theoretically be gigabytes in size - to my local disk. Uh. How about no?"

This is one of those rare occasions where I'm going to post about an article, but caution you against following what it says: when you work with any sort of file across a network, if even the slightest thing goes wrong with the thousands of packets flying back and forth, you can end up with a corrupted output file, or a corrupted project. It might be OK for smaller video files (say, under 100 MB) but if you're using huge video files across your network, the odds of a bit flipping here or there and causing problems will increase. This is one of those "proceed at your own risks" type of tips.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How to Build Your Own NAS Device

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM,2358.html

"Perhaps you've decided to take the plunge and build your own personal file server. But why bother with dedicated storage hardware when the desktop hard drives in your PC already offer up to 2 TB of capacity? Personally, I built my own file server so that I would have a backup of my data separate from my working PC."

There are many reasons why having a dedicated network storage device is a good idea. It can provide a central backup or shared device for all your computers, and most of us do have more than one computer these days. There are a wide variety of prebuilt NAS devices available on the market, from Drobo to Synology to D-Link to HP. All these devices have their benefits, though often they can get quite expensive, especially if you want one with a lot of features. Tom's Hardware offers up the suggestion that you can build your own and save some money at the same time. The difference here is that they only really cover the hardware aspect of Network Attached Storage building, with careful attention to each component you need. Rolling your own NAS definitely has benefits as you have direct control over every aspect of things and you typically will save money, especially if you're building a really high capacity device. However, do keep in mind that prebuilt NAS devices have their benefits too from easier administration to simpicity. I using a home built server right now, but my next upgrade is likely to be a move to a prebuilt NAS. Does anyone have any experience with them? Are there any brands that should be avoided?

Tags: hardware, nas

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

QNAP Offers 2.5" Based 8-Bay NAS

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"QNAP has thoughtfully equipped its new SS-839 with an Intel Atom N270 1.6Ghz processor, 2GB DDR2 memory, 8 hot-swap bays, 2 eSATA ports, 5 USB ports, and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports. In fact, QNAP claims the SS-839 only sips 34W of power when fully loaded with 8 drives. Mind you, the QNAP SS-839 is also a full-fledge DLNA / UPnP / iTunes music server and is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux PC systems."

Some of us are serious when it comes to storing our files Being digital pack rats, we're always on the lookout for Network Attached Storage devices that can both hold an unrealistic amount of data and provide rock solid reliability. If you've ever done some research on NAS devices, QNAP should be familiar to you. Not content with an 8 bay 3.5" NAS device, they've released one that uses 2.5" (notebook sized) hard drives which saves power, energy and heat. Fully maxed out, this baby can offer up to 5TB of storage, but most would probably opt to use RAID 5 with a hot spare, or RAID 6 meaning that total comes down to 4TB. Sure, that is a far cry from the potential 16TB that its big brother can handle, but it is big enough to last at least a few months. Of course, most of us can't afford these kind of storage bays. What storage solutions have you found to be most effective?

Tags: hardware, nas, qnap, ss-839

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Get the Skinny on Three NAS Devices

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"In this article, we're going to present three network-attached storage (NAS) devices from well-known vendors Qnap, Promise, and Co-World. These devices are as different as their makers. This becomes increasingly evident as we start digging into their performance benchmarks and describe their overall capabilities, storage capacity, and target markets / audiences."

Movies, music, photos and documents are all getting larger and larger. As the storage demands for a digital home have increased, many of us have switched to using a Network-Attached-Storage device to handle our archiving needs. Not only can they server as a central repository for all your files, but they can also act as a backup for files you keep on your computer. Unfortunately not all NAS devices are equal, and depending on what you intend on using your NAS for, especially important for those that playback HD quality video, what NAS you pick is extremely important. Tom's Hardware goes through three different ones intended for home or SOHO use. What really surprised me was the range in performance between the devices. Still, for me, a more complete solution such as the HP EX-485/7 boxes are more tempting with the added features it provides, but I imagine some of you still like the old school approach these NAS devices offer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Data Robotics Offers Easy NAS Management With DroboPro

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:30 PM

"Built on the company’s award-winning BeyondRAID™ virtualized storage platform, DroboPro provides enterprise-level business continuity features—including protection against multiple concurrent drive failures and no-downtime capacity expansion with thin provisioning—while eliminating the lock-in of traditional RAID configurations."

Data Robotics has announced the launch of their DroboPro line of NAS devices. The most important feature that will interest IT guys and tech enthusiasts is the simplified data redundancy handling. Traditionally, when someone wants data redundancy, there's backup solutions, or RAID. While everyone should have a backup solution, they usually do not work in real time and using RAID can mean a lot of technical work and if you run out of space, data swapping which can take a lot of time. DroboPro claims to solve this problem with a one-click solution that allows you to switch from mirrored data to extra space without doing any data swapping. I'm honestly not sure how much use this feature will get, as if the data is important enough to require a mirrored solution, would you want to switch it away from that because of lack of space? The other features are nice though, such as support for 16TB of storage and virtualized volumes. Starting at a $1299 MSRP, the DroboPro is definately targeted towards businesses. For home use, I'm not convinced the extra features are worth the the price.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Upgrading HP EX470 and EX475 MediaSmart Servers

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM,2171.html

"Although the new generation of HP MediaSmart Servers offers more memory and a somewhat more powerful CPU, with bargain prices like those for refurb units readily available (not to mention even lower prices on used units), you can apply some modest hardware hacks to these older servers. You’ll wind up with a system that’s as good or better than the newer, more expensive models, while saving some money in the bargain."

The HP MediaSmart Servers are among the more popular and prominent Windows Home Server incarnations. Recently, HP released the EX485 and EX487 models, bumping up CPU power and memory making the EX470 and EX475 look like capable but weak workers. Tom's Hardware has come to the rescue with a guide on how to bring your old, decrepid server up to scratch. The tight fitting components of the MediaSmart servers don't make it easy, so this isn't for the timid. But the extras, especially the memory, can certainly be worth it. Windows Home Server is not the only NAS solution available and it certainly is not the cheapest, but it is really easy to use and with add-ons, it can serve a lot of extra uses as well.

Featured Product

The Canon PowerShot S100 - The incredibly fun and small camera that offers you 12.1 megapixels with a bright f/2.0 lens and full 1080p video recording . MORE INFO

News Tip or Feedback?

Contact us

Thoughts Media Sites

Windows Phone Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts

Zune Thoughts

Apple Thoughts

Laptop Thoughts

Android Thoughts

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...