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NAS Hardware Advice Needed - Considering Thecus N2100

Last response: in Networking
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June 4, 2006 9:13:57 AM

Hi

I need some help!!!

I’m looking for a NAS device suitable for my home network (my network has a Billion 7402VGP Wireless ADSL Modem / Router at its centre). Unfortunately, the products I have found either don’t do what I want, or I can’t work it out from the documentation, or both… (I’m not too crash hot on networks & other file systems, etc)

I need help to find out if any products exist which do what I need… I’ve made a wish list of features I want below:

Essential Feature I need help with:

I need the NAS device I get to use a non-proprietary or standard file system / formatting. My main requirement is to be able to directly access the information contained on the NAS device’s disks via other means (Internal SATA Connector, or External USB HDD Case). This is either in case the NAS device breaks down (I’m in a remote area, and couldn’t wait for a new replacement NAS device to be able to access my data), or if I go on holidays and want to take my data with my (in an external USB HDD Case).

Other Essential Features (which are fairly easy to work out):

Contains 2x SATA HDD Bays which will accept any capacity HDD
Automatic RAID or Mirroring Capability for Data Backup
Will function with only 1 HDD installed
Supports Windows, Mac & Linux
Uses standard networking protocols
Small / Minimalist Case

Desired Features:

Other things are desirable, but not essential, and include things like Print Server Capability, Power Management, Security Features & USB Sockets for Direct USB Drive Backup.

Products Considered So Far:

Netgear SC101 - When I first saw the Netgear SC101, it looked promising… Unfortunately, it uses its own proprietary formatting, so the data on it is completely inaccessible without the SC101 device itself. I’ve also heard that there are quite a few other problems with it since then, so am giving it a very wide berth.

Thecus N2100 – The Thecus N2100 looks VERY promising. It has most of the things I’ve listed above, as well as a built-in iTunes server!! Unfortunately, the Thecus website lists the N2100 as having a “Journaling File System”. Unfortunately, I have no idea what this means about accessing the accessing the data without the N2100… Would I be able to take one of the discs out and access the data from a Windows, Mac and or Linux computer (via a SATA connection or USB HDD Case)??
(N2100 Specs - http://www.thecus.com/products_spec.php?cid=1&pid=1)

Other than these, I’ve had a quick look at products from Buffalo, Linksys, etc, but the N2100 seems to b closest to what I want.

Does anyone know whether the N2100’s files would be directly accessible without the N2100 itself (& if it’s easy), or if there’s a similar product which does allow direct access, as well as most of the other things I want?

Thanks!

Mark (Chooky78)
June 4, 2006 2:16:11 PM

One other possibilty is the Infrant Readynas.

It uses 'a standard' Linux formating, ext3. According to their help forums you should be able to pull a drive or array and put them in a linux box and go. I think this would take some linux know how, they didn't have a howto.

The readynas supports up to 4 SATA drives, has 2-3 USB ports for printers and/or drives. It supports media streaming. Check their forum for compatible hardware. One drive can be set aside for a 'hot spare' in an array.

This is a network only device, i.e. you can not connect directly to the device using USB or firewire. The boxes are reasonably small, though not the smallest on the market. The biggest complaint from owners is how loud they are, Mine is quieter than an average PC.

I think it covers all of your requirements with the exception of power management. It is an always on device, you can shut it down remotely, but you'll have to power up manually. Uses under 100W of power.

They are expensive, a barebones box with no drives is ~$600. It was worth it for me, your milage may vary.
!