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Tag: storage

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.]

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.

GNC-2012-02-23 #744 Listen and Win!

Posted by geeknews at 12:58 AM on February 24, 2012

Unexpected Trip to Washington DC next week. I get back to Hawaii on Thursday, will make a decision on Monday show in next day or so. Listen today to get your name in the hat for the show 750 giveaway.

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Links to articles talked about in this Podcast are on the Show Notes Page [Click Here]

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my-Ditto Key

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:29 PM on January 22, 2012

my-Ditto Key Do you put data on a USB stick and then do you tend to lose that USB stick? Do your kids store their homework on a USB stick and then lose it? I sure for most people the answer is yes to all of the above. Let’s face it we’ve all done it; we’ve put data on a USB stick that we want to bring with us, then we put it down somewhere or leave it behind. That use to mean that not only was the USB stick was gone but all the data on it. No longer now the information on the USB stick can also be in the cloud.

That is the idea behind my-Ditto Key. You register your my-Ditto Key with my-Ditto and then all the information on the key is copied to the cloud. Now if you lose your my-Ditto Key USB stick or leave it behind you still have access to your data anywhere in the world. You can store up to 100 GB of space in the cloud. It doesn’t matter what type of data it is it can be music, videos, documents it’s up to you. Simple and easy to use, but effective that is what my-Ditto key is all about.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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LaCie Thunderbolt at CES Unveiled

Posted by Andrew at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2012

LaCie LogoMike Mihalik from LaCie shows off their new Thunderbolt-connected hard drives for the Apple Macs, including the previously announced Little Big Disk and the new 2big, which has two internal 3.5″ drives. Also announced was the eSata Dock, a docking station that connects legacy SATA devices via Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt offers seriously quick data transfer speeds with write speeds of 252 Mb/s and read speeds of 459 Mb/s shown in the video.

The Little Big Disk is available now, but the 2big and eSata Dock units won’t be available until later in the quarter, with pricing to be announced.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast network.

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Verbatim SSD Drives

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:22 PM on January 9, 2012

Verbatim One of the categories that you will see a lot of at CES 2012 are Solid State Drives (SSD). With the price of regular hard drives going up due to the flooding in Thailand. (Although the price of standard hard drives seem to be going back down at this time.)  As SSD drives becoming more reasonably priced they increase in popularity among consumers. Verbatim a leader in the data storage business since 1969 will be introducing some new SSDs at CES 2012. They will be introducing both new SATA II and SATA III drives. They will be bundled with NTI Echo smart cloning software which will allow an individual to copy their entire hard drive including operating system without having to reinstall drivers. It is simple to use and secure helping to eliminating the lost of data. There will also be a casing included that will allow you to convert your current internal drive into an external drive for extra storage. Also available will be a 3.5 bay adapter which will allow a desktop computer to be updated also.

What makes the Verbatim SSD drives special is the fact they have no moving parts are shock resistance and run silently.  The SATA II SSD comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. They have read speeds up to 270MB per second and write speeds up to 225MB per second. SATA III drives can reach both read and write speeds up to 500MB per second. SATA III drives use Sandforce 2281 controller. Garbage collection algorithms which help to maintain stability and reliability. There is also have advance wear leveling. The SATA III drives come in 120 GB, 240GB and 480GB capabilities. These drives will work with Window 7, Window XP, Mac OX 10.4 and greater and Linux 2.4.0 and higher. Verbatim will be showing off these drives and other products at Booth MP25374 in the South Hall at CES 2012.

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.

The First 4 TB Hard Drive Now On Sale

Posted by Alan at 4:26 PM on December 11, 2011

hitachi logo

For a while now we have been hearing about the coming hard drive shortage due to issues in the far east (mainly the flooding in Thailand), but before those problems reach the world, Hitachi is going to go for gold.  Maximum PC is reporting that Hitachi has released the first 4 TB internal hard drive for sale in Japan.  For those keeping score, that’s a new record for the largest storage drive.

Hitachi hasn’t actually announced this, which I find a bit strange, but Maximum PC found a website reporting the drive was on sale in stores in Japan.  They report the drive is part of the Hitachi Deskstar line, has a SATA 6Gbps interface, 32 MB of cache and Hitachi’s proprietary CoolSpin technology, which is supposed to allow the hard drive to run both quieter and with less heat.

The reported price for a Hitachi Deskstar 4 GB hard drive is 26,800 yen, or about $345.  That’s a steep price given the current price range for hard drives in the U.S.  In all likelihood other manufacturers will have their own 4 TB offerings on the market soon so, unless you’re really desperate for the storage or have money to blow, I would recommend waiting.

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 DriveStation Velocity Review

Posted by Andrew at 2:12 PM on November 13, 2011

Buffalo LogoThe Buffalo DriveStation Velocity is a 2 TB USB 3 external drive, and given the size and the interface, it’s aimed at people who want lots of data and want it quickly. Let’s get the external features of the device out of the way and then check how quick it is.

In the box, there’s only the drive, the power supply, USB 3 cable and the usual paper flimsies for getting started and warranty. There is no driver CD as the files are all on the disk, but more on this later. The drive housing itself is black plastic, with a matte finish on the larger sides and glossy piano black on the thinner side, with a disk activity light that glows blue when on USB3 and green on USB2. The unit can either stand upright or be laid on its side and stacked: I couldn’t decide what orientation I preferred but it seemed to spend most of its time lying down.

Buffalo DriveStation Velocity

Round the back it’s fairly sparse with a USB3 connector, power socket and Kensington lock socket. Observant readers will also spot that there’s no fan so the Velocity runs quietly with only the hum of the hard drive itself, possibly making this a good choice for the living room.  Even while the disk was being thrashed during the read and write tests, the case never got more than lukewarm.

Buffalo DriveStation Velocity Rear

Time for the speed tests. Connected up to USB 3, the Velocity recorded the following data rates:
hdparm gave 133 MB/s for buffered disk reads.
dd gave write speeds around 92 MB/s.
- bonnie++ gave 75 MB/s for writes and 137 MB/s for reads.

Under USB 2, the figures were obviously slower but still fine for a USB 2 device.
- hdparm gave 32 MB/s for buffered disk reads.
- dd gave write speeds around 37 MB/s.
- bonnie++ gave 33 MB/s for writes and 38 MB/s for reads.

Wow! The read speed of 137 MB/s makes the DriveStation Velocity the fastest single USB3 unit that Geek News Central has tested, which is pretty impressive.

As mentioned earlier, the driver and utility software comes installed on the disk rather than on a CD. Generally, this is great and cuts down on CD-waste, but it would be wise to take a copy of the software in case the disk needs to be re-formatted…

…which brings us to the included utility for whole disk encryption. It’s very handy for keeping your data from falling into the wrong hands in the event of theft or other loss, but the utility completely erases the disk as part of the encryption process! So it seems to me that there’s a bit of a problem here for a drive that includes encryption as a feature but then deletes the utility off the disk as step number one. There either needs to be a CD in the box or else the encryption utility needs to make a backup copy of the software locally.

Other than this small issue, I liked the Velocity. I had no trouble getting it to work, the styling was satisfactory and it performed well. In summary, if you need a quiet drive with lots of space and great transfer rates, then put the DriveStation Velocity on your shortlist. Just remember to copy the drivers and utilities off the disk before enabling encryption.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan of the DriveStation Velocity.