Friday, July 31, 2009

New Toy: D-Link DNS-323 Network Storage Device

OK, so as much as I appreciate how inexpensive it now is to purchase a 1 TB hard drive, it wasn't only for nostalgic value. My plan is to set up a single file storage area and start cleaning up all the files I've collected over the years. Most of them are digital photos and video. A huge portion of the files on my computers are camp-related: pictures, music, forms, and documents going all the way back to when I started volunteering in 1994.

My ideal scenario was this:
  • Networked, so I can access files from any computer in the house
  • Media streaming of all my music, videos and photos to my PS3, and devices I could potentially get in the future (like an Apple TV, internet radio, whole-house audio, etc.)
  • Low power consumption, since by definition a device like this stays idle about 99% of the time
  • Reliable, including ways to make backups of the data
  • Accessible over the internet
Most of the criteria pointed to a standalone NAS device, but many of them are expensive, and at the time, people had all kinds of issues with PS3 compatibility. For a while I thought the answer was going to be to buy an old PC and run media software like TVersity. Then a few days ago I had another good look at the D-Link DNS-323. I had dismissed it last time I looked, but in the year since then, new firmware updates fixed a lot of the issues that were once show-stoppers. Now it should fill all my needs, and I got a good deal on one too (you know who you are -- thanks!)

A nice thing I discovered about the DNS-323 is that it is pretty much a tiny Linux PC, so it will be possible to install all kinds of tools onto it including media servers, web servers, and all sorts of other interesting hacks.

To help with power consumption and heat, the 1 TB hard drive I bought was a Western Digital Caviar "green" series, WD10EADS, which claims the lowest power consumption at only 2.8 watts. I might even buy a second one later, and set up the NAS in RAID 1 mode for even greater reliability.

Now to start copying all my files over!

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