Now, if that name doesn’t make a product just sell itself, I don’t know what would. Anyway, I bought a D-Link DNS-323 NAS from a friend who I trust to do all the necessary research. He bought it, but because he is really picky and it didn’t do exactly what he wanted, he built up his own NAS.
I put two Seagate 750GB ST3750330AS SATA drives in it in a RAID 1 configuration. He recommended the drives and a D-Link DGS-2205 Gigabit switch. Like I said, he does the necessary research. So far, I’m mostly loving it all. You should be able to get the NAS for a little under $200, the drives for about $120 each, and the switch for around $30. Having a GB switch is nice, since it greatly speeds up file copies, assuming your computers have Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.
In addition to acting like a file server on my home network, the D-Link NAS has an iTunes server, USB print server, FTP server and a few other goodies running on its Linux operating system. Even better, since it’s running Linux, the community was able to build add-on utilities.
Though the rating on Amazon is only 3.5 stars, this is one of those times you have to read the reviews. A lot of the negative comments refer to issues that have been fixed in newer firmware versions. Though, I have to admit that the user and group permissions design is mediocre and the administration UI for permissions even worse.
There is an especially annoying permission issue if you are using Windows. When you connect to the NAS, you can’t edit the username in the login dialog. So, you have to create a user with the same name on the NAS. This is especially bad if you have multiple Windows boxes on which you use different usernames. At least, this is what happened on my neighbor’s Windows boxes. When I connected to a file share on the NAS from my Fedora Linux desktop, I could change the username. Same for my Macbook Pro.
One of the biggest negatives for me is that the iTunes server won’t serve up Ogg Vorbis encoded music files, and I’ve encoded most of my collection that way. Grrr. I’ll have to look at other community built software for streaming audio or hack the GPL’d source from D-Link, since the iTunes server is also GPL’d. It’s based on mt-daapd by Ron Pedde. I’m kind of puzzled, since the ogg.c file in the src I downloaded makes it look like it should work. It’s successor, Firefly, definitely supports transcoding ogg files.