Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting serious about storage

I must admit I was struggling a bit setting up my new NAS (Network Accessible Storage Device) with RAID Capabilities. Primarily I needed it for my business as it provides shared data storage between several computers (and laptops), gives me FTP capabilities and at the same time gives me automatic disk mirroring  (everything is stored at least twice so if any single disk fails I always have a backup) Do I sound over cautious? No its the sort of thing any good IT department should have already set up for any business these days.

The Good

The Surprise for me came in the media capabilities of the hardware I had selected, a Netgear Stora. It is media collection savvy and plugs into your internet router, mine is also a Netgear router with wireless capabilities, via an ethernet cable. So it Is always there and sharable amongst anything you connect to your home network. Since this is the kind of router base networks most homes will already have if they use ADSL broadband access to the internet. The Stora could be a perfect home media server, for streaming video, recorded TV shows,& Music and sharing digital photo albums. If you have your TV connected via a Windows Media Center, you will be able to access stora extrasall the media on the Stora, direct to/from your TV screen! It also has a few nice net-side features (with good security) to share things back onto the internet, this is available as a premium connection service costing approx. $20/year.
I still prefer my western digital MyBook as a place to store (and managed) the archive of my growing digital photo collection. However the Stora really simplifies and automates my routine backup.

The Bad

imageMy only real criticism is that it came with very scant installation documentation (most of what was in the box was in chinesse). A lot of the useful documentation is supposed comes on the install disk and/or via the net. However my PDF viewer (adobe reader 9) just shows the part of the header you see above and nothing else! The red user manual link just refreshing that page!  So I was pretty much in the dark and the installation took more like 10 hours rather than the 12 minutes the quick guide suggested.  Following the instruction of the screen I just keep coming back the same point asking me to check three things (all done) and the only option was to try again, wait several minutes then get asked to check the same three things. BTW the magic, I discovered through frustration and not mentioned anywhere that i can see in the installation guides and manuals, was to reboot the computer after one install, then start the install again. I also eventually found a version of the Stora manual in a .pdf format I could download and read (link here). This is all unnecessary frustration rather than any serious short coming.

& The Ugly

storaLooking through the Stora User Forums there seems to be another really big catch 22 issues for home users. Even when they got the Stora installed and they can see the drive via its IP address but can not find out how to see it as mapped drive letter on their computer. This bit I did solve and it is easy.  It It is important to run the setup on each of your computers on your home network, and you need to run step 2, install Desktop Application, even though it is marked  [optional}. This installs the Stora Agent on your task bar which allows you to log into the stora and gives you three default drive letters (X: Y: & Z:) that act just like local hard disks.
Installation & Setup Instructions as a video
After I’d finished and everything was working I found this useful video on YouTube.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy birds

A sunny spring morning after some decent rain and all the birds are happy, singing, chirping and preening themselves.
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