Reccomend an NSLU2 alternative!
January 26, 2009 8:50 PM   Subscribe

What Network Attached Storage enclosure should I get?

I'm tired of storing files on my noisy desktop computer, so I'm looking for something always-on that can serve files and double as a screen+irssi server. A home server without the noise and size, basically. I'm considering an NSLU2, but I'm wondering if there's anything newer with more RAM / cpu or other features.

* accessible from Debian/Ubuntu computers
* Xbox Media Center connect able (ushare?)
* network connectivity.

* ssh login
* capable of running screen+irssi
* runs debian or some apt-get style tool
* ext4 support
* quiet
* whatever you think I'm forgetting

I'm considering an NSLU2, but I'm wondering if there's anything newer with more RAM / cpu or other features.
posted by pwnguin to Technology (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Qnap is often highly rated in the NAS world, although I don't personally own one so I can't fully recommend.
posted by sharkfu at 9:05 PM on January 26, 2009

Best answer: I love my D-Link DNS-323 - it meets your requirements, and while it doesn't have many of your "desired" features out of the box, it is safely and easily hackable. The hacking community has a debian install working well, and by just dropping a few files onto the primary disk, you can get ssh, Mediatomb, and all kinds of other applications running. It only really supports ext2 at the moment, and the new 1.06 firmware seems to keep some people's disks spinning (so stay with 1.05 to minimize noise), but otherwise it's a fantastic piece of equipment, and is relatively cheap.
posted by dilettanti at 9:27 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've got a DNS-323 as well, 1.06 does not keep my disks spinning, as long as the uPnP media server is off (I don't use it most of the time anyway). I have not 'upgraded' it yet with extra features though. works great with XBMC and Xbox 360 if the uPnP is turned on.
posted by defcom1 at 10:39 PM on January 26, 2009

Best answer: You might want to check out Martin Michlmayr's Debian on Orion devices HOWTO which has information on installing Debian on a number of devices (including the QNAP Turbostations and D-Link DNS-323). You'll probably also want to take a look at NAS-Central for lots more information on your various options.

(The Orion chips run at 400/500MHz, w/ 128 or 256MB or RAM, which is quite a bit faster than the NSLU2s which are 133MHz Intel XScales w/ 32MB RAM).

If you're looking for 1-2 drive solutions, you have lots of choices. If you want 4 or more, your choices start getting sparser.
posted by lhl at 11:33 PM on January 26, 2009

Response by poster: I was assuming one drive, but a mirroring setup now intrigues me. RAID is just silly.
posted by pwnguin at 1:08 AM on January 27, 2009

Just to third the DNS-323. I use it as my central store for feeding XBMC and an HTPC - very reliable - much more reliable than Windows! I've played around with it - installed SSH, a bittorrent client etc, worked like a charm (and I'm not that nerdy!)
posted by eb98jdb at 2:07 AM on January 27, 2009

Fourthing the DNS-323. Slide in two drives, format, and you've got a samba server capable of gigabit speed. It's usable with XBMC or anything else (I don't use the uPnP; I just mount it as a samba volume.)

The default firmware doesn't do ext4; I wouldn't count on being able to do it even if you install Debian (but I also don't know a specific reason it wouldn't work.)

It's not as quiet as I'd like -- I wish they'd put a big, slower fan across the width of the thing instead of the little fan it's got. But it also doesn't have to be near you.
posted by Zed at 9:29 AM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the input! A lot of people recommending DNS-323. NAS-Central seems like exactly the resource I needed to make an informed decision.
posted by pwnguin at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2009

Perhaps a Kurobox? The Kurobox Pro gets you a 400MHZ ARM CPU, 128MB RAM, 256MB flash, SATA, USB2.0, and 1000MB ethernet for $169. It runs Debian. There's lot of information on the wiki.
posted by PueExMachina at 4:42 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Well, I went ahead and picked up a DNS-323 and a pair of terrabyte harddrives for ~$350. It's actually much smaller than I feared, and quiet except for a funny chirp on startup.

It came with firmware 1.04 and I upgraded to 1.06 for the features mentioned in the changelog. One oddity was the UPnP server didn't work with the 360 until I restored factory settings.

I'm now offloading my music and video to it, and I guess I'll start reading up on backup systems and modding the DNS to run screen+irssi.
posted by pwnguin at 1:16 AM on February 6, 2009

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