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Posts Tagged ‘SOHO’

The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part II)

 

MR. Technoid Guy
In Part I of The Quest for the Perfect SOHO NAS, my journey began with the Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay 3.5″ SA TA RAID Network Attached Storage Enclosure. If you read my first article, “The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part I),” you soon found out that the device did not perform as expected. The next stop in my journey led me to the Buffalo LinkStation Duo 2TB Dual-Drive Reliable Shared Storage (NAS), Model LS-WX2.0TL/R1. I did not do much research on this model before purchase. This time I trusted the word of the salesman, who based his opinion on the manufacturer’s name, “Buffalo.” Feeling confident in my decision, I purchased the Buffalo LinkStation Duo 2TB Dual-Drive Reliable Shared Storage (NAS), Model LS-WX2.0TL/R1.

Immediately upon opening the box, I definitely liked the sleek look and appearance of the Buffalo NAS. Its simple but stylish lines with compact design made me want to display this handsome device in the middle of my living room. Since this model comes with hard drives already installed, much of the initial setup work was done. Insert the CD, run the setup software and you are almost ready to start enjoying your new NAS product. FTP setup was simple, with easy to follow on screen questions. Most, if not all, users will find the Buffalo NAS easy to setup and install. Overall setup of this product took less than 30 minutes. The only thing to remember is to set the RAID configuration. This model ships with the RAID set at the default level, RAID 0. RAID 0 (striped disks) distributes data across multiple disks in a way that gives improved speed at any given instant. If one disk fails, however, all of the data on the array will be lost, as there is neither parity nor mirroring. In order to switch to disk mirroring, RAID 1, you need to set up the information in the Buffalo firmware. YOU MUST SETUP YOUR RAID LEVEL FIRST BEFORE COPYING FILES ONTO YOUR NEW NAS, OR ALL YOUR FILES WILL BE LOST UPON SWITCHING RAID LEVELS. Buffalo does a nice job of covering this issue by inserting a special instruction pamphlet in the box.

This product has many features that the average SOHO users will like, such as simple setup, small footprint and extremely quiet operation. This model is so quiet that I could not even hear the fan or the hard drives running. Users can take confidence in the Buffalo name. Buffalo has been a leader in the backup and storage area for many years. Once you see this product, you can see why. Simply put: quality through and through.

The only problem with this product is the lack of security. Yes, the product requires passwords, and can incorporate in an active directory. However, there is no connection log, or access log. This is a huge flaw in the design of many of these NAS products. Buffalo is not alone in this deficiency. In order to verify that I was not missing something in the security, I called Buffalo and talked to their support team. While I was on hold, I searched their forum and found other customers requesting the need for event log tracking. Eventually I reached a live support person. I want to add that the gentleman I talked to was very pleasant and knowledgeable. He informed me that the security logs are not available on their NAS products. He mentioned that I was not the first person to request this and that management was aware of the problem but no solution was currently available at the time of writing this article. I thanked him for his time and ended the conservation.

Security is a huge issue when it comes to computers and file storage. Your average everyday person does not stop and think about security for their computers, wireless access points and especially a new device like a NAS. I went back to the store and talked to the sales rep who sold me the product. I have much respect for him, and he is very knowledgeable in the field of computers and electronics. I mentioned that the Buffalo has no security logs or tracking logs. He said and I quote, “No one has ever asked me about them.” I inquired how would users would check to see who is accessing their files via LAN, FTP, or HTTP. He again said no one had ever asked about the security. Scary, isn’t it? Makes me wonder how many NAS storage boxes are running wide open.

I now was on a mission to find an NAS with security and connection logs. If I am going to open up my storage drive to the outside world, I definitely need to know who is accessing it and from where. I quickly called Seagate and inquired about their highly touted Black Armour NAS. I was extremely disappointed to find out that their system does not have security or connection logs. My next call was to Western Digital. The Western Digital new Share box NAS did not have security or connection logs either. Now I was truly stumped. Some of the biggest manufacturers in the world and their products do not have logs. I could not sleep knowing my files were setting out on the web and I had no way to track who was trying to hack my site or who might even be logged in, friend or foe. I quickly disconnected my Buffalo product and went looking for the perfect NAS. My vision now was a nice sleek product like the Buffalo, but with enhanced security features.

Part III on my Quest for the perfect NAS will reveal the product that I found.

 

Buffalo LinkStation Duo 2TB Dual-Drive Reliable Shared Storage (NAS)
Buffalo LinkStation Duo 2TB Dual-Drive Reliable Shared Storage (NAS)

Pros

  • Simple Setup
  • Ultra quiet design
  • Small footprint
  • Very stylish
  • Solid performance

 

Cons

  • Lack of connection logs
  • Lack of security logs

 

4.5 Star Rating

 

I would rate this product a 4 1/2 star. I really liked the small foot print as many users will. It’s ultra quiet operation makes it suitable for both home and office. Simple setup allows most users the ability to have their files on-line in record time. The only drawback was the lack of security logs. In my opinion if you are looking for a NAS device that you will not expose to the internet, than this product is for you.

 

Until next time, keeping reading Technoid Corner where you learn today’s technology one article at a time.

 

The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part I)

 

MR. Technoid Guy
NAS or (Network Attached Storage) has been around for some time. Recently, NAS started finding its way into the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) arena. The first decision you face when looking for a NAS product is whether you want to purchase just an enclosure without hard drive(s) or a pre-packaged unit with hard drive(s) installed. Once you decide on the type of NAS, you are faced with a seemingly endless list of manufacturers to choose from. Some of the names you will recognize, others are companies that are starting to dabble in the NAS market. I might add that I have 19 years of computer experience with 12+ years of networking in a mixed hosted and SaaS environment with a dated MCSE NT 4.0 certification. This being said, this is not my first rodeo. I believe software and hardware should evolve into simpler devices with rich interfaces. As you will find out, not all NAS products are created equal.

 


In my quest for the perfect NAS, I spent a few hours researching various manufacturers and suppliers of NAS products. My first NAS product experience was the Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay 3.5″ SA TA RAID Network Attached Storage Enclosure. I did some quick online reviews. I did not find many positives mentioned about this device, other than the fact that it was one of the cheapest products on the market and good for entry level use. Since my initial thought was to use this for simple file storage and home use, I felt comfortable with my decision. My next step was to try this product, mainly because of its small-sized enclosure and raid capabilities with a reasonable price sticker of around $129.00. The age old adage of “You get what you pay for,” never rang clearer once I got the product home and opened the box. The overall construction of the Coolmax Enclosure was cheaply made and seemed flimsy at best. While this did not instill confidence, I trudged forward hoping that the firmware was strong and would be capable of handling the work load for which it was intended. Wrong, the first big shock was the total lack of documentation. If I had not researched this product online, I would never had known to unscrew the top and install the drives. The next problem was getting the device to remember any settings. When I tried to save a static IP address to the device, it continued to revert back to DHCP served. Finally, I let the device stay at this setting and tried to proceed further. Unfortunately, I was unable to proceed. The device was now not allowing me to format the drives. I quickly came to the conclusion that something was wrong with this particular model and returned it to the store 3 hours later. Instead of doing the right thing, which would have been to do some more reviews on other models, I decided to try the same model again. With 3 hours of Coolmax firmware knowledge under my belt, I was sure I could get this model to run. However, obstacles still were lurking around the corner. I finally was able to get the device to accept a static IP address. Great, however, after formatting the drives, the system restored itself to the default settings. Once again I inputted the IP address and this time it took. Now 4 hours later I was still fighting with the firmware in setting up FTP users. Finally, at the end of the day I asked myself, “Can I really trust putting my important files on this supposed NAS device?” The answer was simple. No!

 

I returned the Coolmax CN-330 and purchased a Buffalo 2TB NAS Storage Unit. My next article will discuss the ups and downs associated with setting up the new Buffalo storage device.

 

Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay
Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay

Pros

  • Hard to say, never really got the product to function all the way
  • There are some access log features which are a definite plus
  • Overall small footprint
  • This device could be interesting if Coolmax added just a little more quality into the product

 

Cons

  • Terrible Documentation
  • Cheap Construction
  • Noisy, this device would be offensive in some SOHO environments
  • Firmware weak

 

1 Star Rating

 

I would rate this product a 1 star. I really liked the small foot print as many users would. However, it’s overall flaky firmware and noisy fan makes me hesitant to recommend this product for any type of real production environment.

Until next time, keeping reading Technoid Corner where you learn today’s technology one article at a time.

 





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Maria Austin