Buffalo Linkstation Pro Features
- Simplified File Sharing For Home or Small Office Network
- Active Directory Support: Works as a client in an Active Directory domain allowing LinkStation Pro to utilize the domain users and groups.
- High Speed Processor, DDR2 RAM, and Fast SATA Hard Drive
- Control Access With Group and User Level Security
- Access Data from any Windows or Macintosh Computer on Your Network
- Two or More LinkStations Can be Used to Back Up Each Other Over Your Network
- Easy Setup Does Not Require Drivers
- Scheduled Backup via USB 2.0 to External Storage
- Expand Storage by Adding a USB 2.0 Hard Drive
- Auto-Sensing 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Gigabit JumboFrame Support (4k, 8k, 15k)
- Memeo™ AutoBackup Software for Windows PC Included. Download Memeo™ AutoBackup.
- Minimal Power Consumption
- Trouble Alerts: Get an e-mail when the drive senses a fault
- UPS Support: Auto power down in case of a power failure
This NAS is a very full featured device. It's missing some media functions but it's a solid drive for the price.
To install the Buffalo NAS Navigator put in the included CD and run Setup. On my system it had mapped a drive letter L: to the default share named share.
From the Buffalo NAS Navigator you can map network drives, change the Linkstation's IP address and access the browser based manager.
The Manager screen exposes the wealth of options available to you. Out of the box you can use the drive without changing a thing. For the general home user that's probably fine but the more security conscious will want to setup users and groups and secure their shares from prying eyes. After you login with the default user (admin) and password (password) you'll see the home screen.
From the Manager you can setup USB drives as additional NAS storage, reset the device to factory settings, add users, groups and shares. The Manager interface is very speedy and responsive.
I speed tested this drive and was very pleased. Some NAS drives have poor quality network ports and slow CPU's and this will show up in network performance. To test, I copied a 1GB file from my system to the Linkstation Pro at various network speeds. Each test was done 10 times to allow for variances in network conditions. My system and the NAS were plugged into my D-Link Gigabit switch so there were no other devices between my test system and the NAS. I also copied 1 GB worth of 256K files to the NAS.
|Device||Large File Test||Small File Test|
|Buffalo Linkstation Pro 100Mb||87.6 secs 91.3 Mbps||280.59 secs 28.47 Mbps|
|Buffalo Linkstation Pro 1000Mb||63.96 secs 125.07 Mbps||273.92 secs 29.16 Mbps|
|Buffalo Linkstation Pro 1000Mb (4k)||52.47 secs 152.47 Mbps||237 secs 33.7 Mbps|
|Buffalo Linkstation Pro 1000Mb(9k)||48.81 secs 163.88 Mbps||222.7 secs 35.87 Mbps|
|Simpleshare 160 100Mb||211.05 secs 37.9 Mbps||392.25 secs 20.36 Mbps|
|Windows PC 100Mb||105.6 secs 75.76 Mbps||205.5 secs 38.9 Mbps|
The Linkstation Pro is the fastest 100Mb device on my network. If you don't have gigabit networking yet then this is a great choice.
As you can see setting the device to use Jumbo Frames makes a large difference in performance. This device says it supports 15k frames which I could not test because my NIC only supports 9k frames. Unfortunately I don't yet have another gigabit device on my network to compare the Linkstation Pro's performance to.
All in all the device worked very well and was speedy and responsive. I played back and XVid avi and MPEG from the device with no jitters or pauses. It worked great. I paid $170 with shipping for the 1 terabyte device and it is well worth it.
Interesting article over at the Washington Post.
Included are reviews of:
Long ago, if you wanted to share files, you copied it to a floppy and gave it to whoever needed it. Simple, effective, but inefficient. How would you share those files with 10 people? Well you'd create 10 floppies. You can see how this isn't any fun once you try to share with a large number of people.
Enter the network. The network allowed PC's, printers, and other devices to "talk" to one another. Along with the network came the concept of the "file share". One PC or server would share it's files with other PC's connected to the network. I'm sure you can see how this is much more efficient than the "sneakernet" described in the first paragraph.
Today's PC's and networks are tens or hundreds of times more powerful than those of 10 years ago. This older technology that worked just fine not long ago is being used in the NAS drives of today.
Today's inexpensive NAS drives are a computer dedicated to sharing files. The CPU's aren't as fast as modern PC's but it's good enough for the sole purpose of sharing files. The small NAS drive computer runs a version of the Linux or FreeBSD operating system using the Windows compatible Samba file sharing system.
With old parts and hard drives you may have laying around your house, you could build your own NAS device using something like FreeNAS as the operating system. It would be a fun little project for those inclined to take up that challenge.
Which NAS Drives are iTunes compatible?
In some ways, they all are. Putting all your MP3's on a disk and then accessing it via iTunes is no big deal.
Some NAS Drives actually have a built in iTunes server. This works just like sharing your iTunes library over your LAN.
Take a look at the Buffalo Linkstation Live if you want a NAS drive that's truly iTunes compatible.
Can you use Windows Backup with a NAS? Yes!
What are the problems? The problems are with using the scheduler. When you want to do a backup that runs at a regular interval, that backup must run as a particular user on that machine.
The problem with that approach is that the backup runs as a whole new background session without any cached password information. In other words, it doesn't know how to log into your NAS. Of course if you don't use authentication then this isn't a problem.
I solved this problem for a client using Cobian Backup. This program is free and it's a pretty nice backup program. It saves in a standard zip format so you can use Cobain or your favorite unzip program to restore your data. If your NAS supports FTP you can use that protocol to do backups with Cobian. All in all it's a better solution than Windows Backup and it's free.
One of the features NAS manufacturers mention is "Windows Vista Compatible" Why? It's just Windows, right?
Windows Vista uses an authentication scheme called NTLM2 where as most NAS devices using Samba support NTLM but not NTLM2.
There's 2 ways around this. One is to get a drive that specifically mentions Vista support. The other is to turn authentication off. Most drives can be run with no security so there's no need for password exchange which is where NTLM and NTLM2 are needed.
Turning off security can be a deal breaker. On a home network it can be no big deal to run an unsecured NAS. If you want or need even a little security then you would need a Vista capable device.
What filesystem do NAS drives use? How are they formatted?
Since most NAS drives are basically Linux devices using Samba services, they use the ext2 or ext3 format.
The ext file system has a long history in linux. The ext2 and ext3 files systems are merely the latest incarnations. They support long file names and large disk sizes very well.
The major difference between ext2 and ext3 is journaling. Journaling keeps track of disk changes so data can be recreated in the event of a bad sector or a bad disk write due to a power failure.
Why not NTFS or FAT32 or some other system? Well, it really doesn't come into play unless you remove the disk from the NAS device and try to use it elsewhere with data intact. As long as you are using the NAS as NAS then the file system doesn't matter.
If you purchase an enclosure it may require you to reformat your drives. Keep that in mind if you want to reuse old disks and want to keep the data. You may have to back it up before you put them in the NAS enclosure.
NASDrives.net Home Network Attached Storage Buyers Guide
Network attached storage (NAS) for the home is all the rage.NAS provides a way to share files, access music and movies and backup your data. To help people interested in a NAS device choose the best network attached storage for them, NASDrives.net presents this buyers guide.
What is Network Attached Storage?
Network attached storage devices are small servers dedicated to nothing but file sharing. Instead of having to physically connect a drive to your computer, you can just plug a device into your home network that provides additional storage space. Storage prices are falling and adding 250gb, 500gbor even 1 tb(terabyte) is becoming cheap and easy.
Advantages of NAS
- It's a simple way to add data storage to all your computers rather than just one.
- Multiple computers are able to access files anytime and do not rely on a host PC for file sharing.
- Savings on your electric bill because a power hungry computer or server need not be on 24 hours a day to share files.
- New media server features allow for centralization of your music and movie library so it can be shared by everyone on your network and even streamed to home audio and video devices.
- Provides a central place for backup storage.
Explanation of features
USB Print Server- A USB printer can be connected to the NAS device and it can share theprinter over the network.
Media Server- The device can stream media to any device on the network capable of receiving it. MP3's or movies can stream to your PC or movies can stream to a media center connected to your TV.
UPnP- Universal Plug and Play. UPnP is a dynamic zero-configuration protocol used for device interconnection. That's quite a mouthful but what it means is that UPnP devices can talk to other UPnP devices without any intervention from you. It just works.
DLNA- Digital Living Network Alliance. DLNA is a certification built on other technologies. DLNA certification insures that certified devices will be able to talk to each other and provide a minimum level of features.
RAID- Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. RAID, in it's many configurations, sacrifices some disk space for a level of data redundancy. RAID 1, called mirroring, makes an exact duplicate of the primary disk. If the primary disk fails then the secondary "mirrored"disk can take it's place until you buy a replacement. RAID only helps in cases of hardware failure and is not to be mistaken for a backup strategy. If you accidentally delete a file on the primary disk the file is deleted on the mirror as well.
FTP Server- File Transfer Protocol server. Most people will not need this and will use Windows file shares instead. Some security cameras and office scanners have the ability to save to FTP servers and in those cases,and many more, this feature would come in handy.
iTunes compatible- The NAS has the ability to publish it's media files to a computer running iTunes. The computer with iTunes would then be able to play those media files.
USB Ports- External USB storage can be added on to extend the capacity of your NAS. This can insure your NAS is never obsolete! When you run out of space you can buy an inexpensive external USB disk and plug it into your NAS. A few systems will use these for USB printer sharing or as ahost for your digital camera.
Gigabit Ethernet- 1 billion bits per second transfer rate. Most wiring done in homes or offices in the last 5 years was gigabit rated but the equipment is still a bit more expensive than 100 megabit so most homes and small offices do not support this. Gigabit will get cheaper home and SOHO use so it's still a good feature to have.
Backup Software Included - A major reason to add NAS to your network is backups. Quite a few drives come with Windows backup software to automate this important but often overlooked task.
Vista Support- Vista removed support for some older Windows file sharing technologies and some NAS drives still rely on it. If you use Vista in your home or office, make sure the NAS says it's Vista compatible.
Mac support- Native Mac support is spotty so make sure the device is compatible with your Mac and your version of the Mac OS. Macs are able to access Windows shares so this really isn't much of an issue.
Active Directorysupport - If you're running a Windows Server or Windows Small Business Server in your office then you need this. It allows your existing network users to use the file shares on the NAS without creating new usernames and passwords. Very handy.
Gigabit Jumbo Frames - Geekspeak for faster networking.
File access via web server - This allows you to browse files on the NAS via a web browser. This would be handy if you were trying to access it from a system that did not support Windows files sharing or if you just preferred to access the files that way.
DFS support- Distributed File System. This is another Windows technical term that means that a remote shared folder can be mirrored to the NAS device.This is great for a business with a Windows Server and multiple locations.
Accessible via the Internet - A few companies have setup central servers that act as a middleman between Internet connected users and your NAS.This makes your files accessible by anyone, anywhere. Of course,everything is password protected for security. The possibilities here are endless.
Mistakes? Additions? Send an e-mail to mark at nasdrives dot net
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