So how does a run of the mill NAS on steroid sound? Well, that’s basically what Microsoft and HP have thrown together.
First, it has a faster processor than my HP laptop, with the server packing a 1.8GHz Sempron. Then it adds on 4 SATA drive bays and 4 USB ports for adding more. There are two models, one that comes with a single drive 500GB configuration and one that takes up 2 drive bays for 1TB.
Netgear introduced a little industrial chic to their Network Attached Storage (NAS) range at IFA 2007 with the ReadyNAS NV+; up to 2TB of X-RAID protected backup, in the shape of a hot-swappable quad-caddy drive.
Check out the exclusive SlashGear video of the Netgear ReadyNAS after the cut
This swollen little bugger has an excuse for being so chunky - not only is he packing a 3.5-inch SATA hard-drive but more connectivity than you could shake a drunken otter at. Ethernet and USB 2.0 are the obvious place to start - meaning the SavitMicro cineDISK works as both a directly-connected and network-attached storage unit - but then there's DVI-I, DVI-D (with 1080p output), component (for 480p, 720p and 1080i), coaxial, stereo audio and an optical audio port, together with a USB host port for plugging in extra storage.
I do my fair share of traveling, and one of the worst parts about it is leaving all of my data at home. Yes, I could carry around external hard drives, but that's a pain. I usually keep a lot of files that I might need on my laptop, but it never fails, there's always something sitting on my NAS at home that I need.
Now Buffalo has introduced it's new Web Access feature for their LinkStation Live NAS devices. This allows you to connect to your NAS from anywhere in the world over the internet. The entire process is set up using a basic web browser interface, so it's a piece of cake to set up. You can even allow other users access to your data with little effort.
Backup is boring, let's admit it, but a shiny chunk of Network Attached Storage can lend a little of its new-toy glee to the procedure. My time with LaCie's Ethernet Disk mini might not exactly be the stuff of fairy-tales - boy meets NAS, boy falls in love with NAS, boy takes NAS home - but despite mixed first-impressions you'll be pleased to hear there's a happy ending.
External storage, particularly with network connectivity, is getting cheaper and cheaper, and manufacturers are obviously looking around for value-added features that make their own products stand out in the crowd. Planex caught some headlines last year with a 500GB NAS that not only supported a variety of media streaming and remote access standards but also had in-built BitTorrent support.
Well, obviously 500GB wasn't enough for some people's voracious downloading, and so Planex is bringing out a 750GB version. TCP/IP, HTTP, SMB, FTP, DHCP, UPnP and NTP protocols are all supported, and there are two USB 2.0 ports for plugging in supplementary external hard-drives or hosting USB printers. Gigabit ethernet makes transfers nice and snappy, and there's an easy-to-use built-in webserver to host your own site.
I'm a firm believer in Sunday being the day for reading the paper and a couple of tech reviews, so here's one for you. Network Attached Storage (NAS) might not be as sexy as the latest iPod or as fun as a remote control helicopter, but if it means your data is saved when your favourite laptop bites the dust then it's perhaps more important than both of those put together. Plus with the increasing variety in media streaming devices it's always good to have a central store of music so that you don't have to leave your energy-guzzling PC on (I'm assuming it's not just the UK that's facing rampant energy price hikes?)
Pocket-lint have taken a looksie at Buffalo's LinkStation Pro NAS, a combination of the company's basic LinkStation gigabit ethernet hardware and top-of-the-line TeraStation Pro NAS software, that hooks up to your router and shares its joyous memory with all. Priced from £130 ($255) for a 250GB SATA version and with storage options up to 750GB, there are also two USB ports for external hard drives (although sadly not printers) and a neatly built-in power supply. Worth a look if you were considering a new hard drive this Christmas.
New from Princeton is a compact NAS called the PNS01S, that sports a sleek aluminum casing and measures just 2.36- x 8.27- x 7.17-inches and weighs about 2.6 lbs. It comes in 400GB and 500GB capacities with a fanless design, a SATA drive with 16MB cache, eSATA, USB 2.0, and ethernet ports on the back. Compatible with both Macs and PCs and includes NetBak Replicator software for simplying scheduled backups. Will be available later this month. No word yet on pricing.