The Ultimate Storage Solution
I've been on a search for the ultimate solution to data storage for quite some time and have yet to plunk down the cash for a solution. There are a few requirements that the solution needs to meet, which I've listed below. If you have a solution you've worked with and know works well, please chime in and share your experiences.
There are hundreds of options out there for storing data, but everyone has different requirements. If you are working in a video production shop, you likely need your storage to be fast, plentiful, and secure. If you are storing some documents for archival purposes, you might just need something that's cheap and big. Most people with home networks that want to store their music, home videos, pictures, etc are probably looking for something in the middle of the spectrum. So, to give us some boundaries, here are a few basic requirements that any system should include:
- Affordable - You shouldn't have to refinance your house to afford it.
- Easy to Install - You shouldn't have to reengineer your network to implement it.
- Accessible - Data should be accessible from any network attached device (wireless or hard wired), regardless of operating system or file system.
There are several additional features that many users may or may not be looking for:
- Access Control - Authorized users should be able to access the data they are authorized to access, this may include integration with Active Directory, Open Directory, or local usernames and passwords.
- Fault Tolerant - Some form of RAID to prevent total loss of data in the event of a hardware failure. Redundant power supplies in the event of power loss.
- Multiple Connection Options - Some devices might have a single form of connectivity, such as USB or Network. It's a bonus if a device can do simultaneous USB, wired and wireless network connection options.
So, what are my options?
Personally, I'm looking for a NAS with Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, at least 2TB of space, and all for an affordable price of about $299. I've picked out a few products that have some of these features, but I have yet to find a product that has all the bells and whistles plus the low price. That said, here's a list of contenders on the Ultimate Storage Solution list
Earlier this year, Jeremy posted his thumbs up approval for the Iomega StorCenter Pro ix4-200d. This device is definitely a solid contender with 2, 4, and 8TB options, AD integration, iSCSI support, and VMWare's official stamp of approval. All those features come with a slightly larger price tag though and seems to focused more toward prosumers or small businesses. I am going to keep my eye on this one and if the price drops a bit more I will likely snatch one up.
Another contender is the
Western Digital My Book World Edition II - 2 TB. This device is targeted more toward the home user, has two 1TB disks, works with multiple OS's, and has both USB and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options. The pricing on this option is definitely affordable, but it lacks some of the features of the Iomega such as RAID 5 and AD integration, and it only has 2 disks. Not quite what I'm looking for, but definitely worth mentioning for those who want a simple solution to share media between computers in their house.
Next up on the list of potentials, the Buffalo Technology LinkStation Duo 2 TB. This device comes with USB and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options, Active Directory integration, and web access for device administration. There is only room for 2 disks in the NAS, so it is only capable of RAID 0 or 1. However, the 1TB disks can be swapped out for 1.5 or 2TB options if more space is needed. So, if you are looking for a 2TB option and RAID 5 isn't important to you, this may fit the bill.