NAS for shared storage

I have been hooked on the idea of NAS (Network Attached Storage) since around 2000, when I first read about it. Of course, capacities and costs back then were out of this world.

Today I installed an Infrant Technologies ReadyNAS NV+ with 4 Seagate ST3500630AS Barracuda 500GB SATA2 hot-swappable hard disks and 1 gigabit ethernet port. For a total cost around 1.400€, I got a 3-disk RAID5 configuration with 875 usable GB and a hot-spare disk. In plain english, 2 disks have to fail before any data is lost.

I preferred the Infrant (now owned by Netgear) solution to the much cheaper (~900€) 2 gigabit Ethernet Intel Entry Storage System SS4000-E, (also with 4 500GB SATA2 disks) for its Active Directory support. However, apart from increased peace of mind (thanks to the hot-spare) the NV+ offers some nice built-in backup and media streaming features, in addition to the 3 USB ports with support for a UPS, printers, flash and USB disks.

I am fairly sure that NAS is the way to go for shared storage. With LAN speeds, disk capacities, users and uses increasing at a hectic pace NAS is cheap (starting at <200€), scalable and very easy to setup. Please note I am not referring to server applications storage; that’s a different, much more expensive, story.

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