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swintec
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join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
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What sort of network storage do you think?

Interested in some opinions. I have a couple of machines on a network that i am setting up (machines connected to router). There are some shared files (forms, docs, PDFs, etc) that each computer MIGHT need to access on a somewhat daily basis. Save them, maybe make them available to the other machine at times.

I was thinking the NAS route but the price of them seems more than I thought they would be, specifically the Synology »www.amazon.com/Synology-DiskStat···ords=nas Then I would need to buy the drives to go into it.

Are there NAS solutions out there that are under $200 that essentially come ready to go out of the box?

The router the machines are being connected to is an Asus n56u which supports drives connecting to it via USB including flash drives but flash memory is not a good idea in this application. I guess I could attach a USB drive to it..but USB just sounds clunky to me here versus connecting via ethernet.

Thanks for the tips.
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ekiM
Oh Well

join:2001-01-06
/usr/home

Build your own perhaps?

»www.freenas.org/

With an unsed, low-end PC and some disks
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"I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin."



swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
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space is an issue. this unit will have to sit on a small desk / table with the modem and router.
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pnjunction
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join:2008-01-24
Toronto, ON
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reply to swintec

This basic D-link unit is not as nice and fast as the synology but it should still be plenty for basic use. »www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as···55019CVF

You can also get single drives in network-attachable enclosures for about $150 I think. WD is probably the go to here: »www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as···22136745 »www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as···22136746

Plugging a USB drive into the router is much slower, only good for the most light use. Here are the numbers I found comparing the performance of four options:

Option - Upload - Download (MB/s) - price
Synology DS212J - 50 - 92 - $200+HD(s)
D-Link DNS320 - 27 - 34 - $110+HD(s)
Asus RT-N56U - 9.5 - 13 - $20?+HD
WD My Book Live - 45 - 61 - $130/160 1TB/2TB

The synology units are awesome but seems to be overkill for you.

The D-link is a good option if you want something a little more reliable than a single drive to store your files.

The router solution is cheap but clunky and not recommended just like you thought.

The WD my book units seem to deliver pretty good performance for the money. You don't get the redundancy you could get in the 2-bay units but maybe you don't need that to just swap some files.

Given the description of your needs the WD might be best choice. Speedy, cheap, compact. Just remember to always keep at least two copies of anything you don't want to lose!



pnjunction
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reply to swintec

Of course the completely free option if your usage is really basic would be to just set up a network share on one of the computers.

That WD unit would be much better long term solution though and you could also use it to back up documents from the machines.



AlphaOne
I see
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reply to swintec

Another option: Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System.

»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···22148661



Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2
reply to swintec

I would just connect a USB hard drive to the router. That is what I have been setting up for my HTPC customers. I haven't used that particular Asus, but most of them are linux based, so you'll get better performance out of an EXT3 formatted drive. A gparted-live boot image will make formatting the drive pretty simple, then from there everything maps just like any other network share.
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koitsu
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Mountain View, CA
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reply to swintec

Be aware that the USB speed on routers -- that includes the RT-N66U (which is being toted as "awesome" by fanboys around the world, sigh) -- is atrocious for two reasons:

1) There is no decent offloading support for USB I/O on those routers. The SOCs are not well-known for these types of features. They do not perform nor are engineered anywhere similar to that of a standard PC, or even a PC made 10 years ago. I've already seen numerous reports on the linksysinfo.org forum of people having "strange problems" with their USB-attached hard disks, and in most cases the problem turns out to be wonky enclosures or enclosures which are attempting to be powered purely off the USB bus (not enough to properly spin up a 3.5" drive, and a lot of the time can't spin up a 2.5" drive either).

2) These units are run by a very old Linux kernel which has a horrible performance bug pertaining to sendfile(2) support. Out-of-the-box, these firmwares use Samba, and the manufacturers moronically configured Samba with use sendfile = yes. Disabling sendfile (a one-line change) results in a 30-60% speed increase as a result. (Upgrading the kernel is not an option, by the way, because of the wireless driver being a binary blob -- thanks Broadcom!)

As such, I recommend you do not use your router as a NAS. I recommend you purchase a dedicated product that does the job. You need something that also offers support -- I cannot tell you how many of these fly-by-night proclaimed "consumer NAS" devices fail miserably under certain conditions where drives begin to misbehave or act oddly. So vendor support is very important.

The problem, as I see it, is a financial one. If you really want something that has native Ethernet capability along with CIFS/SMB or AFP, you're going to need to consider a dedicated device. For you, I would strongly recommend a Drobo product (they do make some that have gigE Ethernet, and they make an add-on module for some models which lack it). However, these are not within your very limited price range.

And finally, never forget: do backups. Do not assume just because you have a NAS with 2 disks in a RAID-1 (mirror) model that you're safe -- you're not. DO BACKUPS.
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swintec
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1 recommendation

Thanks for the responses. I did not want to go the USB attached route.

I grabbed a western digital drive and will connect via ethernet. Which should be more than fine for just forms, docs, etc. No music, video or anything like that.

I am going to keep a master copy of everything that way they can be recovered if needed. Nothing is mission critical, it is more about convenience in this aspect....sharing a doc, etc.
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mattrixx

join:2004-02-18
Orland Park, IL
reply to koitsu

Interesting comments regarding USB HDD connections to Router.
I have the Asus RT-N66U Router and have a Rosewill SATA to USB (&eSATA) Enclosure with a W.D. 2TB "RED" (NAS) 3.5" HDD connected via one of it`s 2 USB (2.0) inputs of the Router,
and I could not be happier with the networked accessibility and also media playback.

Originally connected with a W.D. "BLACK" 1TB HDD (which I quickly ran out of space), I did have minor problems accessing network drives till I upgraded to the latest Asus Router Firmware
which resolved several issues, like having to re enter the Router`s interface to allow networked drives including the enclosure to reappear.

I recently substituted this original 1TB "BLACK" Enclosure with a new 2TB "RED" (NAS) HDD and Enclosure to the USB connection on the Router.
This switch over was accomplished after I successfully was able to transfer ALL files from the original 1TB enclosure (still connected to the Router), to the newly purchased 2TB HDD via Networked connected computer
and a second attached Rosewill External enclosure containing the 2TB "RED". This second (2TB) HDD and Enclosure was itself connected (via eSATA), to yet a different Networked computer!
All this transferring done without problem(s) initiated through the Router`s USB port, though it did take a quite a while to complete.

As for media playback, I can access my "always on" Router w/ USB connected Enclosure to 5 Networked computers, also to a dedicated W.D. "Media Player" via Ethernet for viewing on a 42" LED HDTV with NO problems.
Playback on 3 of the 5 are Ethernet connected Desktops with the remaining 2 Wireless Laptops.

I have to add that the Enclosure I am using has it`s own power source and does NOT depend on the Router`s USB port. Also the W.D. 2TB "RED" (NAS) HDD not only provides me extra space,
but is I think a factor in easy accessibility, and also is very quite.



koitsu
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join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
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said by mattrixx:

Interesting comments regarding USB HDD connections to Router.
I have the Asus RT-N66U Router and have a Rosewill SATA to USB (&eSATA) Enclosure with a W.D. 2TB "RED" (NAS) 3.5" HDD connected via one of it`s 2 USB (2.0) inputs of the Router,
and I could not be happier with the networked accessibility and also media playback.

I'm glad to hear that, but most of us engineering folks (as well as end-users -- see thread) disagree. Reference material for my statement about Samba and Linux sendfile(2):

»www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?th···0.52240/

The root cause (kernel performance bug) is discussed further down in the thread.

The firmwares impacted vary, but the reference discovery was found in what's called asuswrt-merlin, which is a direct spin-off of the source code which Asus provides of their firmware (since they have to release it given that it's under GPL). The commit to that fork which shows the problem:

»github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin/···ca351696

So that leads me to believe that Asus' native firmware has the same problem. Maybe they've since fixed it? My money wouldn't be on that though, since the commit in question to asuswrt-merlin was done only a month ago.

Not much else I can say. It's been analysed, and the Linux kernel performance problem was also tracked down too, so I think some people just higher expectations than others. I guess I'm one of those who does.
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Making life hard for others since 1977.
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mattrixx

join:2004-02-18
Orland Park, IL

said by koitsu:

so I think some people just higher expectations than others. I guess I'm one of those who does.

Not being an engineer, I can only agree

The only remaining "problem" I have with my Asus Router is the infrequent and unexpected dropped connections I`m getting usually when downloading.
However they used to occur more frequently with a previous older Netgear Router, which leads me to think it`s some other issue other than the Router.