Network Attached Storage

Dec 11 2012

News - QNAP Adds DVR and Live TV Streaming Capabilities to Turbo NAS Devices

If you live in a DVB-T region and are in the market for a new NAS, then QNAP would like to have a word with you. QNAP recently introduced a new feature, TV Station, to their Tubo NAS line-up that allows their NAS devices to serve as a DVR and to stream live TV to connected clients. TV Station is availble through QPKG, QNAP's add-on management system. The add-on's functionality is still fairly limited at this point, restricted as it is to USB DVB-T tuners and an over-the-air EPG, and only supporting streaming to browsers on Windows with the assistance of VLC, but it is still an interesting addition to QNAP's growing portfolio of media serving add-ons.

 QNAP TV Station

NAS specialist QNAP this week announced a brand new feature for its latest range of network attached storage servers. Add a USB DVB-T TV tuner, and your QNAP NAS will take on DVR responsibilities, streaming live and recorded TV to multiple clients arounf [sic] the home.

We Got Served

Sep 19 2012

News - Synology Introduces DiskStation DS413 NAS Server Device

Synology today announced the arrival of their newest 4-bay NAS, the DiskStation DS413. The DS413 utilizes a Freescale processor and 1GB of RAM with the promise not to consume more than 36W under full load. In addition to supporting up to 16TB through the internal drive bays, the DS413 also sports a couple USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port and an eSATA port. I might recommend holding onto at least the USB 2.0 port for a printer. Synology doesn't call their DiskStations NAS servers for nothing. Out of the box the DS413 offers centralized desktop backups and has an integrated print server, mail server, and web server along with more than a dozen other optional packages to extend the device's server functionality. The DiskStation 413 looks like it could be a versatile and powerful option for a home server, though at $530 it is definitely a bit pricey compared to the more consumer-focused DS413j that the company announced a couple of weeks ago.

Synology Inc. today launched DiskStation DS413, a 4-bay NAS server that incorporates the latest technologies to minimize power consumption. It is well-suited for small and medium-sized businesses to centralize data backups and synchronize files across different platforms with minimum time and effort.


Feb 24 2012

News - SilverStone DC01 DataCenter Reviewed

The SilverStone DC01 DataCenter is a Mac Mini-inspired single drive network attached storage enclosure that keeps itself slimmed down by housing a 2.5" drive rather than a 3.5" drive. Despite a paucity of internal drive bays, the DC01 is definitely designed with media consumption in mind.  For expansion to take advantage of the integrated BitTorrent client, the DC01 sports a pair of USB 2.0 ports and an eSATA port. In an interesting move, the internal drive and a drive attached via eSATA can be set up in RAID 0/1/JBOD. The DC01 also offers a host of servers including a print server, a DLNA and an iTunes server, and even an FTP server. It seems like a lot of features to pack into a NAS device that is unlikely to offer the amount of storage space that a serious media maven would be looking for, but it sounds like the pieces do come together nicely. I could see this being a particularly nice device to install for a less tech savvy, but decor or clutter-sensitive relative who simply wants to serve up their music or pictures and backup their computer to an external location.

SilverStone DC01

Silverstone is a manufacturer best known for cases, coolers and power supplies, and in the past they've indeed produced some of our favorite cases. Now they're expanding into new area of network storage, and we also got a sample of their new SST-DC01S Data Center. The device is a NAS/home server and on paper quite similar to some others we've reviewed in the past, so let's see how it copes with the competition.

Feb 06 2012

News - Synology DiskStation DS411slim Reviewed

Over the last few years the major NAS vendors have settled into some routines when it comes to product categories. Some NAS poduct lines are targeted at home and SMB users while others are geared more toward medium-sized businesses. Each product line typically delivers some 2-bay and some 4-bay devices, with the occasional single drive and 6-bay system thrown in for variety. Synology's DS411slim isn't looking to rock the boat too much, but it is at least trying to fit into a smaller boat by opting for 2.5" drives rather than the typical 3.5" drives. Given that 3.5" drives can range up to 4Tb and 2.5" drives have yet to break 1Tb, the DS411slim is not the NAS for the digital hoarder set, but from the sounds of things Synology has applied their usual veneer of quiet reliability and performance to the DS411slim. Given that old laptop hard drives are increasingly common in the average geek's spare parts pile, I could even see pressing a little unit like this into service as a secondary backup NAS for extra important files such as family pictures and unfinished novels.

Anyway, what can a 2.5-inch HDD offer to a NAS user? First of all, it consumes less power and produces less heat and noise. And second, it is just smaller! While the first group of advantages can be enjoyed with any NAS, the small size calls for a special compact NAS design. There are but few such models on the market as yet. 

X-bit Labs

Feb 06 2012

News - Guide to Setting Up FreeNAS


For many of us, a home network is not complete without some storage attached. NAS devices and home servers are the ideal way to serve up media throughout a home, and for folks who like to roll their own systems, FreeNAS has long been a popular OS option. Certainly it is a popular topic here in our forums and a favorite of our own, Michael Welter. Part of the appeal of FreeNAS is how easy it is to deploy, but if you have been on the fence about taking FreeNAS for a spin, perhaps a guide is in order. Our friends over at Engadget have put together a nice step-by-step guide for installing and configuring a basic FreeNAS installation, complete with screenshots for nearly every step. I would definitely take their advice and go with ZFS for the file system and check against the FreeNAS hardware requirements before splurging on new equipment.

What is FreeNAS you say? Put simply, it's is an operating system based on FreeBSD that brings with it a snazzy web interface for management, and all the protocols you need to share files between Windows, Mac and Linux. In other words, a perfect solution for your digital bookshelf. Let's get to it.


Jan 19 2012

News - Thecus N5500 5 Bay NAS Reviewed

I know it's hard to get excited about multi-bay NAS devices these days with hard drive prices on the rise, but Thecus does try to make a compelling argument with their systems. We've been seeing more and more server-like capabilities being built into NAS devices over the last couple years, such as iTunes and DLNA media sharing, integrated backup and restore software services and built-in BitTorrent clients. The Thecus N550 continues that trend and seems to do so in style with a more attractive interface than we are used to seeing in NAS units. It is a little disappointing to hear that the fan is on the loud side, but that might not be a problem if it is going in a closet or back room. On the other hand, the drive bay caddies look capable and with support for up to 15TB of hard drive space in various RAID configurations, the N5500 might be a unit worth looking at if you are ready to add some network storage to your home network.

Thecus N5500

The N5500 has a load of features and options. It can be a print server, iTunes server, storage for IP security cameras, or even handle your BitTorrent work. On the data storage side of things the N5500 supports RAID modes 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and JBOD. Most users would use RAID 5; it gives some data safety due to drive loss. If one drive dies the data is still safe. Once the bad drive is replaced the system automatically rebuilds itself.

Legit Reviews

Jan 11 2012

News - Synology DS212+ NAS Reviewed

The Synology DS212+ is a minor update to the DS212. The DS212+ drops the e-SATA port and bumps the processor up 400Mhz over its predecessor to an even 2Ghz, but adds USB 3.0 and brings along all of the PC backup, DLNA, and file sharing goodness. I would have appreciated a bit more information about the encryption engine and how it keeps the CPU unburdened, but there is no doubt that Synology puts together a solid and versatile NAS unit. It sounds like the 2.0Ghz processor provides a definite performance boost.

Synology DS212+

Synology loves hardware revisions, and the DS-212+ is the latest in the business series of dual-bay NASes from the network storage company. Sporting a faster processor, USB3, and lower power consumption, the DS-212+ shapes up to be a good improvement on the DS-211+. 

Think Computers

Jan 11 2012

News - Samsung Optical SMART Hub Brings DVD to the Network

Every so often a product comes along that is described as a product in search of a market. Samsung may have come up with the poster child of such products with the Optical SMART Hub, a networkable 8x DVD burner. The Hub also sports a USB port for attaching external storage, turning the Optical SMART Hub into a NAS. The feature that caught my eye is the ability to play DVD movies over the network. Playing DVDs across a network was always a sticking point for Media Center Extenders, so it will be interesting to see how this device takes advantage of DLNA to enable network playback. I could have used it more about 8 years ago though, Samsung.

Samsung Optical SMART Hub

If that isn’t enough convergence, let’s throw in Android and iOS apps that allow you o stream content from the device and (in the case of the Android app) back up files from your smartphone or table to DVD or USB storage. Oh, and it’ll work with your Samsung SmartTV too, just to add another device to the mix.

Jan 06 2012

News - Western Digital Releases My Book Live Duo

Western Digital had best be careful lest their My Book external drives become full on NAS systems. The new My Book Live Duo is Western Digital's latest network-capable My Book external hard drive, but this time WD is packing in some advanced features. There is some backup software and a DLNA server, though those are pretty much standard bullet points on networkable hard drives these days. More interestingly, there will be two models, a 4TB and a 6TB, each packing two drives in a RAID1 configuration for real-time data mirroring. The My Book Live Duo is also being touted as a cloud computing storage device as it supports remote access and mobile device access for iOS and Android, though I suspect that most consumers would be more impressed if cloud support meant that the drive backed itself up to the Internet.

My Book Live Duo

Half the capacity is used to store users' data and half is used for a second copy. If one drive fails, all of your data is protected because everything is duplicated on the other drive. Alternatively, users can go wtih the Duo's spanning mode, which combines both drives into one large volume acting as one drive for maximum storage capacity. 

Storage Review

Dec 31 2011

News - Guide to Building a Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server

If building a home server is on your to-do list for the new year, then perhaps a little how-to guide is just what you need to get started. I'm not sure about all of the hardware choices made for this particular guide. Intel Xeon processors tend to carry a price premium that isn't really warranted for a WHS box, though if you are interested in a true server CPU, the Xeon E3-1220L is a nice pick. That being said, one side effect of choosing a server motherboard is that this build is guaranteed to have access to Intel NIC drivers for Windows Server. Intel does not always provide drivers certified for Windows Server on mainstream and enthusiast class motherboards, and the Intel NIC is definitely one of the best reasons to go with an Intel motherboard. 

This article documents the process of choosing components for the new Windows Home Server 2011 box, from the low wattage Intel CPU, through the motherboard, PSU, memory and drives before looking at the setup process and how the OS looks and works in day to day use.

Hardware Heaven

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