With each passing day the rate we acquire digital media increases (we don’t even bother unpacking our CDs when we move anymore). Large publishers have started moving away from DRM, which means we’ll be buying even more digital media in the future. Acquiring all of this nonphysical property puts importance on not just making it easily accessible, but also protecting it from destruction. Slashdot asked for reader suggestions of what NAS to buy; we’ve compiled some of the options below and want to know what you use.
For those willing to build machines themselves, there are several NAS focused distributions available. FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD and takes up less than 32MB even though it has a full featured web interface. Openfiler can be used for building full fledged NAS/SAN appliances. It can be deployed on bare metal or as a virtual machine and 2.3 has new features like bonding multiple NICs. CryptoNAS is a liveCD that helps you build a user friendly NAS device with full hard disk encryption.
Many consumer NAS devices have chosen to run Linux. This makes them good hacking targets for adding new functionality and we’ve covered many of them in the past. The Linksys NSLU2 “slug” has been very popular. Buffalo has sold many different devices: the Kurobox, Linkstation, and Terastation have a dedicated modification community. We’ve got a LaCie Ethernet Disk mini unopened in our office that was initially purchased because we knew they could be hacked. NAS-Central has a list of many of the other online communities dedicated to NAS devices.
Not that excited about administrating one more Linux box? When Apple released the Time Capsule earlier in the year it introduced the world to high capacity storage that “just works”. Although not exactly server grade, it brought the idea of regular backups to the home user. 1TB is nice, but it’s not upgradeable or easily replaceable; look to the Drobo for that. Drobo has built a fan base by making storage management easy for anyone. Just throw your commodity drives into the box and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately, turning it into a NAS is a $200 addition. They’ve published an SDK, so you should see new applications coming for it soon.
All of these options are just for in house serving, but none of them are true backup solutions since your data still goes away when your house burns down. A couple years ago, [Jeremy Zawodny] looked into moving his backup servers to Amazon’s S3 and compiled a list of tools that work with the service. Jungle Disk is probably the most user friendly. It’s multiplatform and mounts as a local disk. There’s an add-in for Windows Home Server too. If you’re looking to set up a simple personal backup system, we highly recommend [jwz]’s advice for regular backups.
That’s a fairly thorough rundown of hacker friendly backup options, but we want to know what you use. How do you store, serve, and protect your data? What custom features have you added to commercial NAS devices?