Nas HD vs External HD

Hello One & All,

I have a very unique situation happening here (ALL Good). In April of 2008 I purchased a WD My Book External 750GB hard drive. In Jun of 2009 The drived crapped out, but still under warrenty (Gotta Love WD), so off it goes with RMA to get serviced or replaced. Now the big thing is cost per GB. When I purchased the drive, I believe I paid about $299.00 on sale. That same drive today can be had for $89.99 today via a sale running on Amazon. I say all of that for this. In july WD sent me a replacement HD. They sent me the WD World Book 2TB NAS Drive, running about $349.99 today! Let me say, they blew my socks off! I will never buy anything from a WD competitor! Sent them 750GB and got back 2TB. When I opened up the brown sipping box, I found a Brand New , as if it just got pulled off the retail shelf at BestBuy. I'm telling you guys, unreal... I currently have it connected to my Belkin 54G Wireless Router, working perfectly!

Now the ONLY problem I'm having is I have NEVER used a NAS and really don't need one, only because MY home network has two drives on it. My Desktop and my Laptop, that's why I have always used just an external drive. So I have some questions:

1. I currently have ALL of my personal items on the NAS (Music, Pictures, Video's etc...). But I am thinking of taking the majority of the files on the NAS HD and making them Offline files on my WD 2 internal RAID 0 HD's equaling 1TB. But I don't know how much of a performance bump I am going to get. I'm thinking that my Offline stored on my Internal HD's will have a faster response time and should be less of a cpu hit.

2. I am pretty much using the NAS as a central storage depot, where ALL files will be stored and the ones used on at least a weekly basis will have Offline files available.

So can someone chime in and look at the 2 questions above and render some seriuous suggestions and using a NAS advice.

Thanks ~~ Gunny
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  1. Wait wait I don't understand: you simply wanna transfer your files stored on NAS into a RAID array, right?
  2. Performance depends completely on the drives used and the performance of the raid implementation... and it's highly variable so nobody will be able to tell you that one option is faster than the other.

    I can say that it's entirely possible that loading a file from the NAS device could be faster than loading it off an internal drive (assuming GigE). It's not just possible but LIKELY that the NAS device will be faster than USB based storage. Finally... there's no reason not to use a NAS device for files that would need to be accessed from multiple system... and (other than backup) there's generally no reason to duplicate those files on local machines.

    The machine I'm typing on right now is a $13k workstation with an internal raid array for the OS and Apps... but the data store is a 10.5TB NAS appliance (Thecus).
  3. Thanks for the quick respones guys. To clarify and to put it simple, I'm not sure how to properly use a NAS HD on a home network. As previously mentioned, I have a Desktop PC and the NAS HD connected to my wireless router. I have on the desktop 2 internal HD's running in a RAID 0 equaling 1TB. When I started to movie my 750+ DVD movie collection on to the internal drives, which were also used for my 800+ music files and a large photo collection, I decided to movie all of those onto the 2TB NAS HD. Heck plenty of room and now my internal drives are not bogged down and fighting for air. So to sum it up; I have relocated ALL of my Video, Photo, Music and some other large files to the 2 TB NAS Drive, leaving my internal 1TB HD's running in RAID 0 open for other projects.

    With that clarity, am I using the NAS correctly? Also can someone maybe point me to a location that will help me learn how to properly use and manage a NAS HD?

    Please review this update and advise on my situation. Most appreciated!

  4. That also will depend on the particular NAS device, in my case with the Thecus NAS box I connect it to a single machine using iSCSI (which makes it look like an internal hdd to the PC), but your NAS may not support iSCSI (and iSCSI is intended to connect the NAS to one machine instead of share it with many).

    You've probably set it up to look like a file share (the usual method). Typically the NAS will have a web page that you connect to (which you must already have done), and you configure it there. Verify that it is configured as a file share, you may want to set up a user/password to connect since you're using wireless (and wireless can be hacked). After that you use the network map functonality on your pc's to map the folders on the NAS to your local machines (both of them).

    If you've done all that already then you're good to go... both machines will be able to access files on your nas once you map the shared NAS folders.
  5. Hello D_Kuhn,

    Yes, I have already completed everything you mention in paragraph 2. I am accessing the NAS directly from my PC since everything is mappedl. The NAS I am using is as follows:

    WD - My Book World Edition (2TB Edition and the new model)
    Interface - Gigabit Ethernet (Same as my PC)
    Data transfer rates - 10/100/1000 Mb/sec (Compatible Ethernet)

    ** Regarding these transfer rates, how do I check to see what speed I am currently using and how do I set it so it uses the fastest transfer rate?**

    In regards to accessing the files on the NAS, such as video's, Music etc, would it be faster to acess directly from the NAS, or have an Offline copy of the file on my internal HD and acess it from there?

    Since the NAS is connected to my router, is that considered a Direct Connect? Direct Connect = having the ethernet cable connected directly to my PC and using my PC's built-in Wireless abilities to access the router.

    I'm just trying to figure out what is the fastest way (Meaning TRansfer Rate) to access the NAS.

    Thanks for your help! Looking forward to your reply!

  6. The device will automatically connect at the fastest rate it can... so if your router supports GigE into it's wired ports then that's what it'll use.

    I was just thinking about your setup... and there is one thing that will signficantly effect your PC's connection speed to the nas, and that's if your PC's are using wireless (you mentioned it earlier but I didn't put 1+1 together... doh)!

    If your pc's are connected wirelessly (I'm assuming the NAS is directly connected to the router via copper) to the router then the wireless link will be the limiting factor for data transfer... and it may make sense to locally cache big files that are on the router and you'll be accessing often.

    The only machines on my home network that aren't hardwired are laptops... and even then if I'm going to do some heavy file transfers I always plug them in as opposed to using the wireless link.

    For multimedia - Music will normally play over wireless with no problem... so you shouldn't have to maintain local copies, video's may work better if you copy them locally before playing them... you'd need to experiment to find out.

    Directly connected in your context likely means that the nas is plugged directly into the PC's ethernet port... which you probably won't want to do since that would limit the NAS to only talking to that one machine (without some funky net configurations in that system).

    The optimum setup for a 2 PC + NAS + Net router would be dependant on the router:

    If the router has GigE ports:
    FASTEST: Connect the nas and the two PC's using copper to the gige ports.
    MOST FLEXIBLE: Connect the nas to the router and use the wireless for the PC's

    If the router only has 100mb ports:
    FASTEST: Buy a 5port GigE switch and connect the NAS and both PC's to that, then use the uplink to connect the switch to your Router at 100mb.
    MOST FLEXIBLE: Connect the nas to the router and use the wireless for the PC's

    There are a bunch of other permutations but the rule of thumb would be that hardwired connections will be faster, wireless will be easier if you're PC is mobile.
  7. Thanks again for your help. I have everything connected via hard wire; PC, Router, NAS, etc... The only thing I use the wireless access for is my iPhone. So I should be good to go as is. Thanks and I understand whats happening now a whole lot better, Again Thanks!

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