NAS or Network Attached Storage
Why should you consider NAS - well i have more than one computer (both Windows and Mac) plus some other gadgets connected to the internet, and i would like to have access to my photos, music and documents from them all.
Basic functions in a NAS
- File server
- FTP server
- WEB server (look for Php and SQL if you want bells & wistles)
- Backup functions from PC's and from server to external drive.
- Low standby power consumption - go for something like 5 W idle and 10 W operating. Remember we are talking 24/7/365 operation here.
- Printer server (normally via USB) and now wireless support of printing from Tablet PC's (like Apple AirPrint)
- iTunes server
- Bittorrent client.... for legal purposes of course.
- Music server - DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and/or Twonky Music and squeeze box compatible
- Web interface for remote file management - this is a really large memory stick (check to see if it works on tablets - you could be dissapointed here)
- App's for both Android, Apple and Windows Mobile (forget about the rest)
Be aware of the type of harddisk used in the NAS that you buy - it can be IDE or SATA. I have a few old IDE disk's waiting to be used for this but if you have to buy both the NAS and a hard disk i guess SATA is more future proof.
I have been looking at products from QNAP and Synology to see if they suit my needs - and based on recomendations from various sources i selected a Synology 106j. Today the typical suppliers of network gear for SOHO use like d-link, Netgear and others are also pushing this type of gear but i believe that a company like Synology that has this as their prime business is a good choice.
Now almost 3 years after i got the Synology i am still able to benefit from firmware updates giving me new functionality - Great respect to the guys at Synology, they support their customers in a way that nobody else does.
But all good things come to an end - i need more disk space and due to the limited processor power and amount of RAM the continous stream of firmware updates from Synology has ended.
Based on my experience with Synology and due to a need for more disk space i have now ordered a 209 and i am looking forward to the iPod support and other nice features.
Am i happy with my upgrade - you bet. The 209 has mouch more processing power and it turned out that my problems with slow updating of my Noxon mediaplayers display was due to lack of processing power in the Synology 106j.
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