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Tag: nas

Buffalo LS-421 Diskless NAS Review

Posted by Andrew at 6:20 PM on January 18, 2014

Buffalo LogoThe Buffalo LinkStation LS-421 Diskless NAS represents a small departure from the norm for Buffalo in that this is the first consumer-oriented unit to be offered as an enclosure without drives. While replacing drives in the previous generation of LinkStations was easy, it’s good to see this being offered as an option from the start. GNC has reviewed several Buffalo units in the past and many have been no slouch in the speed department. The LS-421 features the new generation Marvell ARMADA 370, 1.2GHz ARMv7 CPU core and DDR3 512MB RAM so let’s see if it stands up to the claims of “up to 80 MB/s” .

Buffalo LS-420 Box

From the outside, the LS-421 hasn’t significantly changed since the previous version with a slightly front rounded surface. The previous iteration of the product had blue LEDs on a black fascia; this time it’s white LEDs on silvery-grey which looks good when they’re flickering away. Overall, it’s not going to win any design awards, but it’s not going to offend either. There are two USB ports, a USB 3 one on the front and a USB 2 on the rear. These can be used for additional storage or printers.

Buffalo LS-420 NAS

 

Buffalo LS-421 rear

Installing the disks is straightforward, needing only a screwdriver to screen the hard drives into plastic frames which then guide the drives into place in the NAS. The front of the unit simply pops on and off. Once the two drives are in place, the network cable can be connected and the power plugged in. For those interested, it’s an external PSU.

Buffalo LS-421 with disks

On power-up for the first time, there’s about ten minutes of activity while the LS-421 sorts itself out. While that’s happening, the supplied Buffalo NAS Navigator 2 software can be installed on the PC or laptop. It’s much improved over the previous version, but it’s not essential software as the NAS is largely configured via a web client. However, it is useful for troubleshooting and finding the IP address of the LS-421 for the first time.

Linkstations

Those used to the old tabbed style of web interface will discover that Buffalo has gone all Metro with a tile-based UI, albeit without the Microsoft colours. All the usual configuration features are present and correct – disk format, share administration, users, groups, RAID 0 / 1 and so on. Buffalo also gets brownie points for prompting to change the administrator password whenever the web client starts.

Buffalo LS-421 Tile Interface

The LS-421 isn’t only a network NAS, as it has Bittorrent and DLNA services built-in. Having a NAS-based Bittorrent client is useful as you don’t need to leave your PC on for large downloads and once downloaded, the server with contribute back to others downloading the same file. The DLNA server worked fine too, letting me play mp3s via the Roku.

Apps are available for iOS and Android to access files on smartphones and tablets, and it’s possible to configure access to the NAS across the Internet so that you can upload and download files while out and about. Obviously the speed is going to be limited by the network or broadband connection but it’s a useful to have the facility in case you need it.

With all of that out the way, how fast is it? I tested using Totusoft’s LAN Speed Test from a fairly old laptop running Windows 8.1 and also with dd and bonnie++ from a newer SuSE 12.1 Linux desktop. All tests were run at least three times and both computers were connected into the same gigabit switch that the LS-421 was connected into.

From the laptop, LAN Speed Test gave an average over a couple of a runs around 33 MB/s for writes and 22.5 MB/s.
On the desktop, dd gave a write speed of 63 MB/s, and bonnie++ wrote at 45 MB/s and read at 68 MB/s. Remember these figures reflect the performance of the LS-421 in my environment and YMMV as they say. Certainly, the bonnie++ read of 68 MB/s isn’t very far away from Buffalo’s claims of 80 MB/s.

Overall, the LS-421 is a tidy NAS unit and with an online price of GB£85 (without drives), it’s definitely one of the cheaper NAS enclosures. It’s nippy and with a total capacity potential of 8 TB, it can grow as your needs require.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan of the review unit.

If you are not familiar with VidaBox, the company makes some of the best media center computers, extenders and servers in the business. Today the hardware maker announces its latest version of the LiivNAS — this one co-branded with Dune Player. “LiivNAS: Dune Edition is highly unique as the only archiving and storage solution with official external/NAS storage device support, plus integration with popular control systems,” states Steven Cheung, President of VidaBox.

The new LiivNAS is intended to streamline library creation. The LiivNAS: Dune Edition features a Blu-ray/DVD/CD drive, internal 500GB hard disk drive and expandable storage capacity with USB or NAS external hard disk drives. It is also energy efficient, using as little as 15-25 watts of energy during peak usage, which allows for an always on instant response user experience.

liivnas

The box also promises lossless video recording of DVD and Blu-ray discs with no compression, and automatic meta-tagging of both music and movies.

All of this functionality does not come cheap — the LiivNAS: Dune Edition is on sale by Dune Player for a price of $1,699.95. You can visit VidaBox to check out their other products, but be prepared for sticker shock.

ioSafe Announces “Disaster-Proof” NAS Device

Posted by Alan at 9:30 AM on September 18, 2012

Having a NAS (network attached storage) device in your home is a smart solution for backup, but it’s far from all you need.  Obviously, in the event of a disaster like fire or flood, not only can your home computers be wiped out, but in-home backup will be gone along with it.  Now ioSafe is looking to solve that problem with a new piece of hardware that is being billed as “disaster-proof”.

The ioSafe N2 is both fire and water-proof storage for the home and small business.  The hardware can store up to 8 terabytes of content, contains a 2 GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, gigabit ethernet, USB 3.0, SD memory card slot, provides local and remote access and can be used as a media server and email server.

The product is being brought to market via a crowd-funding site called Indiegogo.  “Interesting point to note: the NAS project is to be funded via crowd-funding site Indiegogo. ioSafe is a small, 20-person company and this will help with the costs of bringing the product to market.”

To find out more, you can head over to ioSafe.  I still recommend a second, cloud-based, storage solution for a fail-safe, but you can certainly rest a bit easier with the ioSafe N2 in your home or office.

Upgrading My NAS…Yawn

Posted by Andrew at 12:33 AM on June 11, 2012

Hard DriveLast weekend, I upgraded my NAS from 2 TB to 4 TB and it was all too easy. The NAS is a Buffalo LinkStation Duo but as the drives are mirrored, I only get half the total 2 TB capacity, i.e. 1 TB. I was getting pretty close to having the full terabyte of data on the unit, so I decided it was time for a storage upgrade. However, the last time I upgraded another model of NAS, it involved much chicanery and re-installing of firmwire via USB, so I proceed with trepidation.

Not so this time. It was mostly lots of waiting interspersed with a few minutes of activity, followed by first time success. Disappointingly little geekery was required.

Step 1. Buy a pair of SATA 2 TB hard-drive. The LinkStation already had Seagate drives installed, so I played it safe and bought some Seagate Barracuda drives. Wait a couple of days for drives to arrive in post…

Step 2. Backup the data from the NAS to an external USB drive. My favourite tool for this is rsync because it simply copies files (no archives or zip files) and you can stop and start the backup as you like. You can even keep using the NAS up until the last minute before running one final rsync to copy the latest changes over. Leave the backup to run overnight…

Step 3. Shutdown the LinkStation via the web interface.

Step 4. Remove hard drives, insert new ones.

Step 5. Power up the Linkstation and log on via the web interface.

Step 6. Format drives in turn. Configure as RAID 1. Wait for best part of a day while array synchronises….

Step 7. Restore data from external USB hard drive. Leave to run overnight….

Step 8. Job done!

It was pleasantly straightforward to upgrade the NAS and a big change from the last occasion I had to swap a disk. For sure it takes a couple of days to do the swap, but the time is spent shuffling data around, not actually working on the unit. Definitely a recommended upgrade.

[Disclosure: this is my personal NAS and not a review unit.]

AKiTiO MyCloud Mini Review

Posted by geeknews at 10:28 PM on May 8, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks I have had a AKiTiO MyCloud mini plugged into my network, and when I say mini its small but packs an amazing punch. The AKiTiO MyCloud Mini is essentially a mini customized Linux server that surprisingly has a lot of standard Linux server features, that can become it’s own NAS device which then can be used as a file server. It is made to serve up media, documents, images files locally or remotely.

Managing the tiny device is done so though a web browser which is served from the device itself. My son who is 15 became quite enamored with it, and I let him manage it. The first thing he did was attach an external eSata drive that I let him borrow, and started pulling in video clips to the device that he subsequently accessed via his Xbox 360.

The MyCloud Mini supports streaming to media devices that supports UPNP and DNLA, like the Xbox 360, iTunes, Windows 7 and a variety of other devices.

I think my son became the geek of the week, when he showed his buddies at school his remote file server and how he could access files on it from his mobile phone.  There is an associated Android and iPhone app for the device which makes it easy to access your content while remote.

My concern was security and I ran a variety of test against the device internally and externally and could not find any reason to be concerned about placing media and files on the device to be accessed remotely.

What surprised me was how quickly my son got the hang of managing it. I did have to explain some very basic things to him like how he could manage it with a web browser. For the price which runs close to a $100.00 a small business or home owner could use this device to manage there media.  I never know whats going to be shipped to me to review and form the get go I knew the team that designed put a lot of thought into the design and management of the device.

I have only touched the surface of what this server can do and amazed what it does at the price point. For more info visit AKiTiO.com for more details.

Buffalo TeraStation at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2012

Earlier in the week at Gadget Show Live, I spoke with Fabian Rousseau, Buffalo‘s Director of Product Marketing about the TeraStation network storage units. The TeraStation range is being revamped with a new numbering scheme to make it easier to understand the different models and the number of drives in each one. On display was the TeraStation 5800, which has eight drives, making it a fairly substantial unit as you’ll see in the picture below. The 5600 will have six drives, 5400 four drives, 5200 two drives. R will indicate rackmount.

Buffalo TeraStation

The TeraStations are generally aimed at the small business market: the full feature set and redundant / failover components mean that they’re more expensive than the consumer products. However, some prosumers are purchasing the two and four drive units for home servers. The new TeraStations are expected on the market in a few months and will be priced competitively.

[Disclosure - Buffalo gave me a free Lego Buffalo which will appear in a future post.]

LaCie 5big Network 2 Professional NAS

Posted by Andrew at 6:26 AM on April 4, 2012

LaCie today announced the 5big Network 2 professional RAID network storage unit in a range of new capacities, including diskless, allowing it to be scaled upwards as the needs of the businesses demand. Styled by designed Neil Poulton, this is one device that doesn’t need to be hidden in away in a server room.

LaCie 5bigLaCie 5big back

With the option to purchase the diskless version and then install already available disks, the 5big is a cost-effective way of getting into professional storage which can then grow as funds and storage needs dictate. Hot-swap is supported too, meaning that in the event of a drive failure, the faulty unit can be replaced without downtime.

In addition to taking 5 SATA drives, there’s a good range of connectivity round the back including a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, two eSata connectors and two USB (2.0) ports. Protocol-wise, the 5big supports a wide range including SMB, NFS, AFP, FTP, SFTP, HTTP(S) and iSCSI. It also works with Bonjour, Time Machine, iTunes and BitTorrent. The full details are on the specification page.

The remote access features of the 5big cater for off-site staff and there’s a complementary app, MyNAS, for iPhone and iPad owners.

Prices start at $349 for the diskless version up to $1,699 for the 15 TB version.

Pogoplug Series 4 for Your Own Cloud

Posted by Andrew at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2011

Pogoplug LogoRegular readers will recall that I was quite taken with the integration of Pogoplug into the Buffalo CloudStation Duo, so I was very interested to hear that Pogoplug have released a new device, the Series 4. If you aren’t familiar with the Pogoplug device, it’s a network gadget that makes attached USB devices available across the Internet. In short, you can make your own personal cloud. More recently, Pogoplug has released a cloud service that complements the hardware devices.

Unsurprisingly, the Pogoplug Series 4 is the 4th generation of their of their original device, and while retaining the form factor of the Pogoplug Mobile, the devices now includes four different connection types for hooking up hard drives and other media.

  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x 2.5” SATA / USM / Seagate GoFlex ultra-portable drives
  • 1x SD card slot
New to the Pogoplug range is plug-and-play support for Seagate’s GoFlex external drives and other products that have adopted the new universal storage module standard (USM). There’s a gigabit Ethernet port for connecting the Series 4 to the network.
Series 4 Pogoplug
Series 4 Pogoplug ports
Owners can make their photos and videos available to friends and family over the Internet to PCs and mobile devices such as iPhones, Android smartphones and WebOS devices. The new Series 4 is designed to be an extension of the Pogoplug Cloud service. 5GB of cloud storage is available for free and premium options for 50GB and 100GB will be offered shortly.

The Pogoplug Series 4 is on-sale now for an RRP of $99.99.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo Hands-On Review

Posted by Andrew at 5:16 PM on December 4, 2011

On test here is the 2 TB version of Buffalo‘s CloudStation Duo, a RAID-capable NAS with built-in Pogoplug, giving the user their own personal cloud.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with PogoPlug

The CloudStation Duo is squarely aimed at the prosumer market, both in terms of the hardware and the software on-board. For the hardware, it is equipped with two 1 TB drives and the unit can either be setup as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) or else RAID 1 in which each disk mirrors the other. Obviously, in RAID configuration, the NAS has only 1 TB of storage available for use.

For the built-in software, there’s a BitTorrent client, Time Machine support and DLNA multimedia server

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug

Those familiar with Buffalo’s LinkStation range will spot that the Buffalo CloudStation (CS-WX) looks identical the LinkStation Duo (LS-WX), albeit with a new CloudStation sticker on the top left of the front panel. Removing the front panel reveals nothing different on the inside either. Two swappable SATA drives, allowing for replacement in the event of failure or upgrade to a larger capacity.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Rear

Round the back, it’s the same layout as well. The USB port can be used to add additional storage or as a print server (which is also available as part of the “cloud”.)

All of the CloudStation’s functions are controlled by a built-in webserver, so it’s not essential to install any software on a PC. I found the IP address of the CloudStation via my DHCP server’s status table and after I had the IP, it was simply http://…. in a web browser. Setting up the CoudStation is straightforward. On first login, it recognises that the device is uninitialised and asks how the drive is to be setup. I went for RAID 1 which then meant it spent the next few hours building the array. This has to be completed before any new shares can be setup.

The shares (or folders) appear in Windows as any normal folder does, so copying files to the CloudStation is just a case of drag’n’drop.

Anyone who has setup a NAS before will find it all straightforward. The interesting part is the addition of Pogoplug’s personal cloud. To get started with this, simply open http://cloudstation.pogoplug.com/activate/ in any web browser. The website asks what type of CloudStation is connected and then walks through five basic steps to connect the device up, finally checking connectivity at the end.

As you might expect, the website prompts for an email address and password for secure access to the CloudStation via Pogoplug. A confirmatory link is sent via email and once that’s all checked, you’re logged into the CloudStation remotely and you can start using your personal cloud.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug

And it’s brilliant. I was also able to play music and videos directly in the browser. Here’s a screenshot of it playing a video.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Video

And playing a music. You’ll just have to hear the tune in your head.

Buffalo CloudStation with Pogoplug music

The web interface is very comprehensive and you can do more from the internet that you can actually do on the local NAS. For instance, it’s easy to share files and folders with friends and family, which is very handy for photos. You can also share to Facebook, if you are into the social networking scene.

If you have a printer connected to the CloudStation, you can print to it to by sending emails with attachments to a Pogoplug email address. Not a perfect solution, but not bad for the odd occasion. There’s a similar feature that lets you upload files to the CloudStation via email which could be handy at times.

I was also able to gain access from my HP Pre 3 using the Pogoplug app. Similar clients are available for iOS and Android.

There are loads of other features such as the transcoding of video, use of HTML5, bulk downloading of folders and backup from the CloudStation to Pogoplug’s cloud. In fact, there’s too many to mention them all but suffice to say that everything I tried worked well.

To close this review, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the “personal cloud”. I mean, how different can it really be from an ftp site with all your files on it? The revelation for me was the media aspect. Showing photos to friends and family is easy, listening to music from your entire collection is simple and videos can be streamed from home to wherever you are. I love what the the Buffalo CloudStation can offer when combined with Pogoplug.

The Buffalo CloudStation Duo comes in 2 TB and 4 TB variants and is available from all good retailers. Prices on-line suggest typical prices of around £250 and £310 respectively, which is only a small premium over the LinkStation Duo’s prices.

Psst….Buffalo…any chance you’ll offer a firmware upgrade for the LinkStation Duo to convert it to CloudStation Duo? I’d even pay for the upgrade.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan of the CloudStation.

Buffalo March Madness

Posted by Andrew at 9:53 AM on March 29, 2011

Buffalo Technology has had a busy month with updates to the TeraStation, LinkStation, DriveStation and MiniStation ranges.

Starting out at the beginning of the month, the new TeraStation NAS range was announced consisting of the Duo, 4 bay, 6 bay and 8 bay versions, all now powered by Intel’s Atom D510 processor.  The new models also come with two USB 3.0 ports (and two USB 2.0) to connect additional storage or to act as a print server. Aimed squarely at the business market, the TeraStations have Active Directory support, RAID 0/1/5/6/10 and come in both desktop and rackmount variants. Available from April 2011.

Mid-March, Buffalo announced the LinkStation Quad Pro, a 4 TB and 8 TB NAS aimed at the home prosumer. It can stream music and film to popular consoles such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, and also to any DLNA or uPNP media player. A new feature is support for the Logitech Squezebox which will please music lovers. For photographers, the “DirectCopy” feature uploads pictures from digital still or video cameras direct to the LinkStation. And finally, the new Android version of Buffalo’s WebAccess i app gives access to the multimedia from anywhere in the world. (When’s the WebOS version coming?)

Last week, it was the turn of the external drives, with the MiniStations and DriveStations getting the upgrade treatment. The MiniStation gets a capacity bump to 1 TB and now comes in a glossy black finish. The DriveStation also gets the piano treatment but now comes in two variants: for the price conscious, there’s a USB 2 version in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities but for the speed freaks, a USB 3 version (1, 2 & 3 TB) will satisfy their needs. Available now from all good retailers.

A busy month for Buffalo with something for everyone – I quite fancy upgrading to the LinkStation Quad Pro.