First step to updating the network

Geek alert! This post is about my home network so if that leaves you reaching for the hot cocoa and your duvet then look away now.

It seems like not long ago that if you had a home computer that was all the computing tech you would ever need Even when we started connecting to the internet (first with dial-up and then broadband) there wasn’t any great need for a home network – that was something we left to businesses to worry about.

These days most of us have several things that we wish to connect to the internet and also data such as photographs and videos that we may wish to view on any one of those devices. It’s easy, with an expanding network, to quickly find that your data isn’t where you need it to be. I’m not unusual, I expect, in having photos and videos stored on my main computer and it’s not always immediately obvious how to see those on my iPad, or my wife’s laptop, or the TV in the lounge, or the one in the kitchen…

A few years ago I bought my first NAS device. It was a 250GB Buffalo LinkStation. My idea was to have this as a central place to put all of my data with a view to being able to access it from my home computer, my laptop and, eventually, my TV set. This was before the iPhone or iPad came out so was pretty forward thinking – even if I do say so myself. 😉

There were several problems with the Buffalo Linkstation. First of all, it was noisy! Secondly, the 10/100 ethernet connection was a bit slow for everyday use. I soon gave up on the idea and used this item for backup instead. For a while. Now it sits in the hardware graveyard as one of those ideas that never quite worked properly.

There have been a few of those over the years.

Coming up to date my network has grown, as I predicted it would, and am I running out of space on my main computer. My internal Time Machine backup disk is too small to even take a single snapshot plus my boot drive keeps filling up and my data drive is rapidly diminishing in size too. I plan on upgrading to the new Darth Mac (Mac Pro) as soon as it comes out (unless it’s too expensive) but whatever Mac I end up getting it won’t have enough internal space to store all my data.

For the last few weeks I’ve been re-investigating NAS storage which has moved on quite a lot since my first foray into this area. After considering several different manufacturers and models I eventually decided on the Synology DS1513+ 5-bay NAS unit (see picture). I ordered it today and it will arrive tomorrow.

Synology 1513+

Synology 1513+

I’ll post more about the unit as I get to grips with it, but suffice to say that it’s a world apart from the Buffalo device. First of all, it’s a 5-bay unit into which I’ll be inserting 3 3TB Western Digital Red hard drives giving me 2 bays for future expansion. This device is not a passive piece of hardware. It’s a full blown computer, coming with an embedded Linux operating system and can act as everything from a media server to a web server to an FTP server, mailserver, cloud server and lots more besides. Synology also supply a few iOS apps to enable you to access your data remotely as well as stream media.

This is the first step on the road to re-organising my data and preparing for my new computer. Future steps include moving my wife’s data from her laptop to the NAS as well as upgrading the router (or adding a switch) to give me full gigabit ethernet speeds across the network.

Watch this space!