December 18, 2011

A different kind of toy

Anyone know anything about this thing? Supposedly it's Network Attached Storage but it doesn't have all the baggage that Windows Home Server has.

Deneb, my WHS NAS, is getting full. 7 TB of HD space on it, and only 1.4 TB left, about 22%. But it's worse than that, because when I store stuff on it, it's stored redundantly. So it's really only about 700G of free space left.

Yeah, that's still a hell of a lot, but MS operating systems get weird when drives are too full even if there's free space left. Besides which, Deneb runs backups on my other computers, so the amount of used-space continues to grow.

I am pretty sure that trying to have two WHS NAS's on the same LAN is a major headache. You can't have more than one copy of Connector running at a time on each client computer, for example, so even reaching the second one would be a trial.

But it also looks like the WD NAS isn't trying to do as much. Seems like it can do backups and so on, but it doesn't have to. I think it's probably running Linux,  but that doesn't matter. It's set up as a turn-key solution.

I'd want to run it in RAID mode, so it would effectively be 3 TB of storage. That's still a hell of a lot, and no, I don't need that much immediately. But I'd rather have too much than too little, so if I'm going to get one of these I'll get the biggest one they sell.

So, any comments?

UPDATE: I ordered it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 10:47 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 273 words, total size 2 kb.

1 I've heard good things about the first version of this thing, but haven't played with one myself. It has lots of whiz-bang features that you wouldn't use, and that's where all the developer focus is, so you might want to look at simpler stuff. You clearly aren't going to be trying to manage it remotely from a smart phone, for example, nor do I believe you plan to use it as a hub for a multi-room media system...

Posted by: David at December 18, 2011 01:15 PM (Kn54v)

2 I don't mind if those things are in there, as long as they don't increase the price by much. The Windows Home Server has all kinds of features I don't use, as well.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2011 03:53 PM (+rSRq)

3 When I clicked on the link, the first thing I saw was  a comment from a user who complained it was "very SLOW!!!"

...which I thought was kind of amusing, especially considering it's apparently the only review posted there.  So I look forward to reading about your experiences with it.

Considering the floods in Taiwan now's not the best time to be buying hard drives, but I'd wager 3TB drives were on the spendy to begin with.

Owing to your previous posts about your ASUS NAS I want to get one of my own, someday....

Posted by: atomic_fungus at December 18, 2011 07:19 PM (VTkqk)


Those floods were in Thailand, and I'm not really very worried about the price. This HD shortage has been a gnawing concern for me for several months now, but I just stumbled up on this device which looks like it's a solution.

My bet is that the guy who complained about speed has a 100 megabit LAN. My LAN is gigabit.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2011 07:36 PM (+rSRq)


OK, I just read his comment. 12-15 MB/s (on his gigabit LAN) is about what I get from Deneb, too. It's the nature of the beast; a networked server really can't be much better than that.

I think his expectations are too high. It's not going to be as fast as an HD directly connected to your computer.

12 MB/s is more than fast enough to play video, and that's all I really care about.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2011 07:39 PM (+rSRq)

6 It's probably running Linux or BSD on an older Arm CPU - 500MHz or so.  I have a couple of little NASes like that and they do max out around 15MB/sec.

My LaCie NAS has a newer CPU and can sustain around 25MB/sec, though the spec sheet claims it can run much faster.  The Synology box I want to get can max out two gigabit ethernet ports - but it costs $1500 without disks, so you'd hope so.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 18, 2011 09:24 PM (PiXy!)



It's probably running Linux or BSD on an older Arm CPU - 500MHz or so.

We may never know. I just downloaded the documentation and it doesn't ever describe the CPU anywhere that I could find. (Mebbe there's a fan site somewhere that says, but I don't feel like hunting for that.)

The document does include a GPL announcement, plus a URL where the code covered by the GPL can be downloaded. (Hmmph.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2011 10:56 PM (+rSRq)

8 Thailand, yeah.  I always get those two mixed up.  Bad me.  (I don't know how many times I've caught myself referring to "Thai" anime bootlegs when I meant they came from Taiwan.  *sigh*)

...I get 10 MB/s over 100 Mbit Ethernet, so that sounds...strange that 1 Gbit ethernet would only be 12-15 MB/s.  But not having had any experience with it myself (found out my main system only has 100 Mbit the hard way) I am more than prepared to take your word for it.

Posted by: atomic_fungus at December 19, 2011 12:49 AM (VTkqk)

9 Whatever it is you're buying, you can't count on someone having pulled it apart and found out what makes it tick:
This drive runs BusyBox on Linux on an Oxford Semiconductor 0XE800 ARM chip which has the ARM926EJ-S core. In addition it uses a VIA Cicada Simpliphy vt6122 Gigabit Ethernet chipset, and a Hynix 32 Mbit DDR Synchronous DRAM chip. The webserver is the mini_http server, although older "bluerings" use Lighttpd. The drives of the World Edition are xfs or ext3 formatted, which means that the drive can be mounted as a standard drive from within Linux if removed from the casing and installed in a normal PC.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 19, 2011 05:50 PM (PiXy!)


If it's a Linux filesystem, I wonder if it will be able to handle some of the gawdawful filenames that fansubbers love to lay on their files.


Is that going to work?

Or filenames including kanji?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 19, 2011 07:50 PM (+rSRq)

11 Yep, I do both all the time, and they work fine.

Using those filenames in a Linux shell is tricky, but the underlying filesystem handles them correctly.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 19, 2011 09:09 PM (PiXy!)

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