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We now have a ridiculous amount of digital photos and an ever increasing amount of video and HD video. A couple of years ago I bought a 320Gb portable hard drive to hold everything and then last year I upgraded my laptop hard drive to 750Gb so that I could have everything in one place. I'm not happy just having everything on my laptop and was going to get a bigger portable hdd until I started reading about NAS units. Price is a concern but I think we could stretch to one but what are they like to use? I am looking at a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo v2 then buying two Seagate 750Gb 3.5" Barracuda drives, I know I should look at more storage but this will save a bit of money then I plan to upgrade when larger drives are cheaper and fit these two drives in my desktop when I upgrade that for video editing. Our router is a Belkin N150, how will we find this set up to use in the real world. We have two laptops and one desktop in the house, initially around 400 Gb would be uploaded to the NAS with one drive mirroring the other, after that files would trickle onto it apart from once a year when 60-70Gb of data would be added. Is this a good idea for safety to store our files, is it useable in the real world and will my girl friend be able to find her holiday pics without shouting at me every 5 minutes. I have no knowledge of these things so any advice is greatfully received.
What you have proposed should work absolutely fine. The beauty of such a setup is that, like you said, everything is duplicated onto a second hard drive so should one fail, your data is still safe on the other drive.
They are very easy to use as well. I would recommend assigning the NAS drive a static IP address (check / reconfigure your router so that there is a range of IP addresses not assigned to the DHCP pool - I can give you more info if you need help doing this), then it's just a case of making a desktop shortcut to the the NAS drive, or you can have it show in My Computer as an actual hard drive.
I'd also bear in mind network traffic as well. If there is going to be lots of large files frequently transferred over the network then it may be worth installing a gigabit network into your home to make things faster.
I am currently in the middle of unpacking the NAS, any advice on setting it up will be greatfully received. D@ve, static ip sounds like the way forward as I need to make it as easy as possible for my gf and her mother to use. Two 1Tb drives arrive on Friday but we are away for the weekend to celebrate my gf's birthday so setup time is next week. I don't envisage much traffic for the NAS apart from when we return from holiday due to the number of photo's and video footage. Any advice on setup to make it easier to use would be greatly appreciated.
Each brand of NAS drive will have its own way of being set up, but I'd imagine none of them are too bad. Which one did you go for?
As for the static IP address - first, on your PC, go to Command Prompt and type ipconfig /all and look for the following information: Default Gateway, Subnet Mask and DNS Server. Default gateway is the IP address of your router.
Let's assume your router IP address is 192.168.0.1 (it might not be).
Any devices connected to your router will automatically be assigned an IP address, probably from the range 192.168.0.2 - 192.168.0.254. This automatic assigning of IP addresses is called DHCP.
What you need to do first of all is limit this range so that a certain subset of IP addresses are not allowed to be automatically allocated by the DHCP, thus preventing 2 devices on the network attempting to use the same IP address. Somewhere in your router's advanced settings there will be an option to do this, probably called a DHCP IP address pool or similar. You could then for example set this as 192.168.0.2 - 192.168.0.199. That means the IP addresses 192.168.0.200 - 192.168.0.254 will never automatically be issued and therefore safe for you to assign to devices using a static IP address.
Now when you first connect the NAS drive to the network, it will either require you to use a CD and configure it through special software, or log in to it via a web browser. In either case, there should be an option to configure its network settings where you will then be able to tell it to use a static IP address, let's say 192.168.0.200. Your subnet mask will most likely be 255.255.255.0 (check what came up in Command Prompt earlier), and the gateway will be your router's IP address which in this example was 192.168.0.1. The DNS server will usually be your router's IP address too, but check what came up in Command Prompt. That should now be the network configuration finished.
When it asks you to set up the hard drives, set them up in a RAID1 array - this is the configuration that mirrors the 2 drives so that if one drive fails, all the data is still on the other drive.
The rest of the NAS configuration is then up to you - you can usually create different users and user groups, assigning different permissions to different people to allow for folder protection. I would recommend creating Users with the same username and password on the NAS as to those that are used for the Windows logons as this will simplify things.
Finally, create a shortcut on the PCs. The best way is to map it as a network drive. Do this by right clicking My Computer, Map Network Drive. Choose the letter you want to assign to it, Z: drive for example, and then type the network path, which in this example would be \\192.168.0.200. The NAS will now show up in My Computer as the Z: drive.
Good luck with it all. Let me know how you get on.
Thanks for your time and all the info, I went with Netgear unit I listed in the first post but finished up with 2 1Tb drives which arrived yesterday. Away this weekend so will get it all up and running during the week. Thanks again for all your advice.
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