External, wireless, RAID-capable storage (and a partridge in a pear tree)
February 12, 2008 7:07 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to find external storage that is accessible via wireless networking. One important caveat is that it has to be RAID-capable.

Mirrored RAID is important to me for the data security, so I can't budge on this requirement. So far I have found Apple's Time Capsule that doesn't have RAID (and probably doesn't allow you to swap out drives yourself anyway) and this product by LaCie that satisfies all the requirements except wireless networking (and it's expensive). Optimally I would just like to buy an enclosure and stick in my own drives, but beggars can't be choosers and such. Anyone know of any product out there that does all this?
posted by fusinski to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and I already know I could just hang a file server out there on the network--I am looking for something more appliance-like.
posted by fusinski at 7:08 AM on February 12, 2008

Does it have to be wireless itself or can you plug it into a wireless access point? There are tons of Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances out there that you can plug into a wireless access point and there are tons of AskMefi posts about selected a good NAS solution.
posted by mmascolino at 7:15 AM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: I could plug it into a wireless access point as a last resort. If I had my druthers, though, I would like to just stick in it the basement without having to run Cat 5 down there.
posted by fusinski at 7:19 AM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: Unless you are suggesting some type of wireless extender that has a physical jack on it... do those exist?
posted by fusinski at 7:21 AM on February 12, 2008

I was talking about plugging it directly into the wireless access point there are however products like you suggest. The key term is "Wireless Bridge" and there are also a lot of AsKMefi posts on that as well.
posted by mmascolino at 7:35 AM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: Interesting... that opens up some doors I had not previously thought of. I would still like to see if there is a whiz-bang all-in-one solution to what I'm looking for, though. :)
posted by fusinski at 7:37 AM on February 12, 2008

Best answer: I bought a NAS a few months ago, and none of the popular ones I researched had built in wireless. I ended up going with the ReadyNAS NV+, which plugs directly into my router. I'd go with something like that and a wireless bridge.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:47 AM on February 12, 2008

Second the ReadyNAS NV+. Running cable is not so bad. Accessing this NAS from a wireless laptop already introduces a certain delay, so hard-wiring the NAS to the reduces potential additional slowdowns.
posted by cahlers at 7:56 AM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: The problem with running cable is that I have a drywall ceiling in my basement. It's a pain in the ass. I will check out this ReadyNAS NV+. How is it in terms of noise?
posted by fusinski at 8:03 AM on February 12, 2008

Best answer: There's always Drobo (which is now NAS-ready thanks to the extra Droboshare). Pricey, but expandable. (on preview, it's cheaper than the ReadyNAS, of course the Drobo comes with no HDD to start with...)
posted by caution live frogs at 8:41 AM on February 12, 2008

Best answer: There are a lot of 2-disk NAS boxes that you can run in RAID-1 mode. Consider, for example, the Synology 207. A wireless bridge by itself costs maybe $30 and is the size of a cigarette pack.

Insisting on an all-in-one 2-disk NAS box that also happens to have a wireless bridge built in will significantly limit your choices. I think Asus makes one--other than that, I don't know. And if you're just sticking it in the basement, why do you need a sleek one-box product?

Small Net Builder is a good place for you to research all this stuff. I'd agree with cahlers that if you can run cabling, you're better off. It's really not that bad.
posted by adamrice at 9:14 AM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

The fan in my NV+ is audible, but not terribly loud. I have it tucked away, though, so it doesn't make much difference to me.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:39 AM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: I am very confused by this Drobo. The literature is too dumbed down... how is it better than RAID? It doesn't say. Should I trust it? Should I not trust it? Amazon reviews are mixed. Sigh. It looks pretty sexy, I'll give it that.
posted by fusinski at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2008

The Drobo is like a RAID, but your disks don't need to match. With a normal RAID, I think that you need identical capacity on all of them (or you're limited to the least, or something). With the Drobo, you can upgrade one disk and increase your total capacity while maintaining redundancy. It figures out how to shuffle data slices around on its own and rebuilds the RAID. It's pretty slick, but you spend a lot extra up-front to get that flexibility.

Is it worth the extra? I don't think so. Disk prices drop so fast that you could replace both disks in a RAID-1 for less…although that swapping procedure would be a lot more complicated.
posted by adamrice at 12:11 PM on February 12, 2008

The NV+ has a configuration, called XRAID, that allows mismatched and hot-swappable drives. It also supports the other more standard RAID configurations. I have two drives in XRAID, which just mirrors the drives. I can add two additional drives, and when I do, I won't have to destroy and rebuild the array—I'll just have to pop one or two additional drives in and tell it to sync.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:54 PM on February 12, 2008

« Older Low-cost or free Health Care in Chicago   |   Can you hear me now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.