Seeking advice about a NAS unit please

  Pineman100 10:32 09 Nov 2014

I'm considering investing in a NAS unit, and I've been having a look at the Buffalo 6TB (2 x 3TB) LinkStation Duo NAS (RAID 0/1).

Before I spend a considerable amount of money on this (or a similar) unit, I'd be very grateful for (a) some general advice on how a NAS works, and (b) the best unit to buy.

(a) Here's what I think I understand about a NAS system - please correct me if I'm wrong anywhere! And please add any additional details that you think appropriate.

  • Contains two or more hard drives that can be set up either to hold different sets of data or to mirror one another for data security ( I think this is called RAID isn't it?).

  • Rather than being attached to a computer, a NAS unit is attached to your router, and is therefore accessible to any computer on the network. How does this work in practice? Do you access the NAS via the router's IP address/control panel, or what? Or does the NAS unit come with its own software that runs on each computer, giving direct access to it.

  • I presume the NAS attaches to the router via an Ethernet cable - is that right?

  • Is attaching and operating the NAS unit fairly straightforward? I'm fairly computer literate, but not a high-end techie like many on this forum!

(b) I mentioned above the NAS unit that I've been looking at buying. Does anyone have any other/better suggestions, based on their own experience, please?

Any and all explanations, opinions and generally educational comments would be very welcome, please. Many thanks!

  alanrwood 11:03 09 Nov 2014

Yes Yes Yes Yes

I have used a Synology DS210J for around 3 years now and it has never failed.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:20 09 Nov 2014

Doesn't need much computing power to run a few drives and couple to a network.

Years ago (2005) when I upgraded my PC I turned the old one into a NAS server. Wiped the old op system installed FreeNas had 4 IDE HDDS 2x120 2x40g in it

Stuffed it in the attic due to the noisy fans (old machine) ran an ethernet cable to the router in the bedroom below.

Stopped using it after adding a 500G drive to my new PC (totaling 820)

  Pineman100 11:31 09 Nov 2014

Thanks to you both for those responses.

How do you access the NAS? Do you have a desktop application with which you talk to it and manage it?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:54 09 Nov 2014

Let your router assign the IP address with DHCP is a good idea. Since Most devices today support UPnP the NAS will be found automatically by your devices and you will never need to specify it’s IP address.

After that it comes down to what yo want to store and use the NAS for.

you can set up user accounts for each person and let then store / read / write what ever they like. - private access.

set up a media drive for family pictures and videos and let every one read from but not write to - helps prevents loss of photos etc. also useful if this mirrored.

set up a communal area where evrone can place files available for all

  Pineman100 16:08 09 Nov 2014

Thanks Fruit Bat/\0/\ and Mike. I confess I'm a bit confused! I understood that you access a NAS via its IP address with a browser, but on Mike's setup it looks as though the NAS appears as a drive within Windows Explorer.

Or maybe I'm misunderstanding (which is not uncommon!). Do you perhaps do all of your NAS setup procedures via its IP address, and then use Explorer for inspecting, copying, deleting, etc.?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:57 09 Nov 2014

The setup is automatic as far as IP is concerned

Once it appears in Explorer than treat as another drive. you can set sharing and quotas from the drives properties tabs

  alanrwood 18:38 09 Nov 2014

Fruit Bat is correct. On Synology drives there is a utility program for accessing and setting up the drives and connected printers (They include a couple of USB ports). You install it and forget it and access it through Windows Explorer just like any other drive. The only restriction is the root folders need to be created in the setup program as a safety feature but theire sub folders can be set up in Explorer.

  Gordon Freeman 18:43 09 Nov 2014

I have the WD MyCloud 4 tb, & once set up, yes, the drives appear under Network locations in Windows Explorer as drives (U, V, W, X, etc), as per 'mike's' screenshot.

It connects to your router via Ethernet, & windows picks it up straight away.

You'll need to download some specific software, but you access the network drive via its 'Dashboard' (in my case) which connects to the NAS IP address portal/webpage via Internet Explorer - once here you set up areas on the drive as 'shares'

Shares are basically sections of the NAS which you have decided to set-up & name for whatever storage purpose you like, (the NAS' file structure/library if you want to call it that).

They are really quite good & easy to set-up. Had mine 2 years and pleased with it. I've attached another 4gb MyBook via the WD MyCloud usb port, so it is expandable.

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