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Topic: OT: Networking a HD?

  1. #1

    OT: Networking a HD?

    Hi guys, sorry for the OT post, but I figure some of you are good with this stuff.

    I have a large hard drive in a USB2/Firewire enclosure. I would like to network it WITHOUT having it attached to a computer. I'd like it to plug directly into my DSL router to use as a backup repository accessible from any computer in the house.

    I know how to share a drive that's attached to a computer, but I don't know what I need in order to network a drive. Do I need to get a new enclosure that's Network-enabled, or are there NAS interfaces that will accept a USB drive?


  2. #2

    Re: OT: Networking a HD?

    You need a device that's network-enabled, ie has a network interface card installed in it, so it can be a "node" on the network, and expose the HD storage as a storage device, with it's own IP address.

    This is what I use. It also features USB 2.0 interfaces as well.

    TeraStation Pro NAS 1.0 TB

    Model: TS-1.0TGL/R5

    • Active Directory Support:Works as a client member in an Active Directory domain allowing the TeraStation to utilize the domain users and groups.
    • Four operational modes: Standard, Spanning, Mirroring and RAID 5
    • Advanced RAID system to continually check hard drive performance
    • Quick swap hard drive tray via the front panel for easier maintenance
    • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port and Jumbo Frame capability for higher transfer speeds
    • Four SATA hard drives
    • Heat-release conscious design with smart layout and ventilation supply
    • Memeo™ Easy Backup software included
    • Large silent fan to release HDD heat effectively and quietly
    • LCD Display showing HDD’s status
    • Two USB 2.0 ports, allowing two external USB hard drives to be connected simultaneously
    • Built-in FTP server functionality
    • Easy setup wizard and management through intuitive web interface


    Buffalo’s TeraStation Pro Series of 1.0 Terabyte Network Attached Storage offers powerful storage and server solutions for the SMB market.

    With two USB 2.0 ports, TeraStation Pro can accommodate additional external USB hard drives for expanded networked storage or as backup targets.

    With its quick swap hard drive trays, TeraStation Pro requires no computer knowledge to swap out replacement hard drives in seconds. This allows for significantly less down time and quicker drive recovery.

    Combining advanced active directory support, fault tolerant data solutions, robust file security and Gigabit Ethernet networking, TeraStation Pro allows users to deploy a simple, cost-effective data server to their office in minutes without cutting corners on features or expandability.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Networking a HD?

    Yikes, definitely out of my price range. I'm thinking about $100-200, tops.

    I've seen HD enclosures that have network capabilities, but I don't know if these are any good. Linksys has a Network Storage Link that you can plug USB drives into, but I've read that it's very slow and you have to re-format the drive into a proprietary format (not NTFS or FAT), which is a deal-breaker for me.

    Has anybody used any similar "plug-in a USB drive and attach to your router" type of NAS links/servers?

    Has anybody used any Network HD Enclosures?

    Basically what I'm looking to do is have two HDs accessible:

    M: Music Drive -- All of my Mp3s and CD's ripped to hard drive
    X: Backup -- used for weekly full-system backups and nightly data backups

    I've also toyed with the idea of putting my big sample libraries on one of my drives, but I have a feeling that streaming samples over wireless internet will be unreliable.

    I use a laptop which moves all around my apartment, so I can't always be hindered by having 2-3 drives attached, with power cables and USB cables dangling all over the place).

    Any tips?


  4. #4

    Re: OT: Networking a HD?

    Hmmmmmm. Didn't mean to scare you off. There IS the Netgear SC101 Storage Central RJ-45, but its reviews are not very good right now. It's a $99 solution, where you supply the storage, but it's all I can see right now in the price range you specified.

    Before I got my Terrastation, I used 4 USB 2.0 external housings with drives I supplied for mirroring or backup. Now with the TS, with WAV and MIDI files dating back to 1997, I have no worries.

    As an alternative, to protect your data files, you really need to come up with a SAFE, RELIABLE backup system. You could even back up to DVD - 4.7 GB on each disk, and the DVD drives are ultra cheap now.


  5. #5

    Re: OT: Networking a HD?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?DEPA=0&type=&Description=NAS&Submi t=ENE&Ntk=all&N=2000090000&minPrice=&maxPrice=&Go. x=0&Go.y=0

    None of those are more than $100. However, hard drives are sold separately but you can get them cheaply on the same site...
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Networking a HD?

    I'll apologize in advance for a potentially long post!

    Networked Storage is one of those "Holy Grail" topics, not just for us musicians either, everyone is looking at it from one point of view or another, including banks and big businesses! The most popular term is Storage Area Networking (SAN).

    There are two classes of networked storage:

    1) Device Attached Storage (DAS) - in this case a single collection of disks, usually configured as a RAID array, is connected to each host computer so that they are running at buss speed. It's fast, it's sexy, it solves a ton of problems!!!! It's also really expensive at the moment. The two popular solutions are fibre-channel (stratosphere) and iSCSI, with sends SCSI packets over an ethernet physical link. If you use Gigabit Ethernet you can stream a LOT of data. The biggest problem with DAS is that in addition to all the hardware tricks, either the operating system or the file system or something VERY close to the file system has to understand when a file is being used. Otherwise you could have two people writing to the same file at the same time, and that's really tricky!

    2) Network Attached Storage - in this case the collection of disks is connected at buss speed to what amounts to just another computer. That computer shares the data using convention networked file systems, the two most popular being NFS (Network File System) and CFS (the MS variant). It is dead simple to implement and manage, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. I've done it with an old PentiumPro200 box I had sitting in the basement. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to NTFS I had to use a P3@500 that was sitting somewhere else in the basement.

    There are a number of commercial boxes that run BSD or Linux or maybe some really stripped down OS and sort of hide the fact that they are, in fact, just another computer. Iomega has one that is really nice, but so do a bunch of other vendors.

    Now let's briefly look at why one would use one or the other solution...

    If you want a place to store all your MP3 files, videos, pictures, etc then NAS is your friend.

    If you are looking for a back up solution NAS is your friend. (one of the really cool new tricks is NAS boxes that shadow or mirror selected directories or even entire disks so that anytime you change a file the backup is updated!)

    In fact for any file that normally loads into memory before it is acted upon NAS works really well.

    DAS is required only when you want to stream data from the disk, and for the most part there are only two such cases that most of us are going to run into: streaming samples a la GigaStudio, and audio files in sequencers such as Sonar and Cubase.

    In the later case neither DAS nor NAS really makes sense. You want a discrete copy of the wave files that make up your project on the local disk for speed, integrity, and speed. You want a separate physical location for backups, and that's where NAS comes in. I wouldn't want to load a Sonar project (since that's my sequencer) across a network, not even a 1000BT network.

    The former case, however, is really interesting. I have to deal with this problem all the time in my studio, where I have one computer that runs Sonar, Vegas, Wavelab, Sound Forge, Audition, GPO, JABB, etc, and a second machine that runs GigaStudio96 (yes, I'm still a version behind!). The problem is I like all my audio editors, and I can't legally install any of them on both machines, which means if I want to do any serious editing of GS files I have to copy them over the the main computer.

    With the announcement of GVI it gets even uglier, as now I'll need two copies of the sample directories, and they are not small! DAS would solve all of that, and give me the flexibility to run VSTs on either machine as well.

    One last note... I've tried to build a really low cost DAS solution using firewire and USB2. Neither one works, but I do believe I can get the Firewire solution working. There will be some limitations, like probably no more than two machines, but it is getting closer (I really expected it to be plug and play!).

    And if someone needs an inexpensive DAS solution for two machines right now there are literally hundreds of dual ported SCSI disk arrays in dumpsters, and on eBay. These were the predecessor to today's Fibre Channel and iSCSI solutions, and they are going for pennies on the dollar. A friend of mine just picked up an 8 drive rack with 8 73GB drives for less than $200, shipping included. He got it from a broker, I don't think you'll see prices quite that low on eBay just yet. You would then need a SCSI card in each computer, but they are cheap on eBay. And, as an added advantage, SCSI puts a much lower strain on system resources than USB2 or Firewire!

    The downside is that new SCSI drives are (a) still relatively small, and (b) really expensive.

    That's my two cents on networking a hard drive. It ought to be simple, but as usual, it ain't!

    Take care,


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