Network Attached Storage

As we store more of our entertainment media in digital format, our storage needs have increased. While megabytes of storage were once considered adequate, today we require gigabytes and sometimes terabytes. While DVDs, with a capacity of about 4.7 gigabytes , were once considered high quality, now BD ( Blue-ray Disc), with a 50GB capacity , is considered high quality video standard.

As our usage and desire for higher quality media increases and more of that media is available for download, our need for storage increases, too. NAS (network attached storage) is one of the ways storage companies are addressing this need.

NAS Defined

As the name implies, NAS is a storage device attached to a network. In the early day of networking, the role of NAS was usually filled by a separate computer , a file server. These days, though, the role of a file server has mostly been subsumed by NAS, which is typically little more than a large storage device that has one or more hard drives and either a separate or integrated networking component. Any computer on the network can access the documents, photos, videos, music, and other files that you store on the NAS device.

Due to the costs, NAS was once a product marketed primarily to businesses, but in recent years, as storage prices have dropped and home networks have become a viable product for the home and home office market. Today, many storage companies (such as Data Robotics, Seagate, and Iomega) offer NAS solutions for the home market. Prices vary, but several companies offer NAS with 1 TB (terabyte) of storage for about $ 200.

Why You Need NAS

If you have several computers in your home and they have access to your home network, NAS has several advantages:

– It provides centralized storage, so anything stored on the NAS device can be accessed easily by other computers and devices (for example, a network-ready Blu-ray player) on the network. All your movies and music can be stored on the NAS for easy playback on any computer in the house.

NAS devices can be easily added to the home network. As long as network ports are available on your router, you can add more. NAS devices to your network.

NAS provides an easy means to centralize your backups. No need for tapes , CDs, DVD.s… {Just scheduled easy means to centralize your backups}

Networking the NAS Device

To use a NAS, you need a network. If you have Broadband Internet Access, you can create a network by adding a router, which is the backbone of most home networks. You plug and network ready device into that router, including your new NAS and then you set up and configure it just like any typical NAS network.

Easy Setup

Using the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive, you will find that the steps are easy. The 1 terabyte unit has one USB port (this lets you connect it directly to your computer) and a 1 gigabyte Ethernet port (which lets you connect it directly to your network). It is DLNA (Digital Line Network Alliance; a media sharing standard)- and iTunes compatible.

As is the case with many NAS devices, the Home Media Network Hard Drive can serve as a Media Server, delivering video, music and pictures to computers, game consoles, DVD players, and anything else capable of receiving media. It can function as an iTunes server. It also includes software to provide backup and data recovery for the PCs on your network. It is a centralized device for all your digital media and backup needs.

Setting Up The NAS Device

The first thing you want to do is connect the Ethernet cable to your router. If you check the back of the router you will find several ports. One of the connections is for the cable that leads to your broadband modem.; the other connections are Ethernet ports for additional computers and devices, such as the NAS device. The router will usually have four to six ports for your devices. Plug the provided Ethernet cable into one of the available ports on the router. Then, plug the other end of the cable into the NAS. Plug the power supply into the NAS, then into an available electrical outlet. In the case of the Home Media Network Hard Drive, it will power up automatically once you plug it in.

The NAS does all the hard work. Its networking logic sets itself up on your home network, and it is ready for use right away.

The NAS will appear as a new device on your home network. To check your home network, click ‘Start’ and then select ‘Network’ menu. If ‘Network’ is not a option on your main menu, you can get to it through your ‘Control Panel’, and the ‘Network And Sharing Center’. If ‘Network Discovery’ is ‘Off’, then click ‘On’.

After installing the device, install the Iomega software on the CD included with the device.

Using The NAS Device

Using the NAS device is almost as easy as setting it up. The Iomega NAS comes with preconfigured folders for your backups, music photos and movies. Simply store the appropriate media in the requisite folder (for example, videos in the movies folder) and you can access them from any computer on the network. This is important for the Movies and Music folders, as these are preconfigured for their respective media. The Music folder expects iTunes compliant media, and the Movies folder configured for DLNA compliant media. The other folders (Backups, Photos, Public and Active Folders) are not preconfigured for any particular media and can handle any type of file.

Now that you are at this point, you are ready to load your files onto the device and share them with your networks computers and devices.

In Conclusion

Storage needs for home users have increased during the previous years as home networks have become more prevalent and more network ready devices have become available and entered the home. Users need to prepare for the increase in storage needs by installing a NAS device to the home network.

Cee Simpson is a Security Systems Analyst with EZMobilePC.com. He has over 20 years experience as a Network Administrator and IT Contractor with the US DOD. He can be reached at casimp777@ezmobilepc.com.

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