2 months ago I bought a Lacie Ethernet Big Disk, I needed some extra storage for backups, to store movies, music, … The biggest problem is that I’m constantly using a laptop in the couch, in the kitchen, in the train station, at work, … It’s not really handy if you need to carry an external HD with you all the time, just to listen to your music.
But this wasn’t the only problem. My roommate has a desktop computer and of course he also needed easy access to the external storage. It became clear to me that I needed some flexible network storage or NAS (Network Attached Storage). The more, the better. So after some surfing I’ve found that the LaCie of 1 TB would be my best match. It wasn’t the cheapest storage available but certainly the most flexible.
And now I can’t imagine a home without some decent network storage. These are the things I like most:
- This is definatelly the web interface. The LaCie has an easy to use web interface. You can access all your files trough your browser but also perform all kinds of administrative tasks.
- I configured my router so I can access my hard drive from the internet. I just type in the no-ip.com webadress and I can access all my files. Some greasemonkey scripting let’s you even listen to all your music from your harddisk. Pretty nice huh !
- The software of the hard drive contains a small version of linux which also holds a UPnP media server. My Xbox 360 flawlesly detected the harddrive as a computer. The embedded media server can stream all your photos, music, videos (off course only WMV’s) to your television screen.
- Gigabit network access… well this means it should be as fast as a regular USB 2.0 external HD. Currently I haven’t got a gigabit network in place, so I haven’t tested this yet. But for now 100 Mbit is a pretty decent speed.
- A lot of my friends can access the hard drive. Via the FTP access they can easily sent photos to us without the need for us to be online. The hard drive has a comprehensive user rights system, everything customizable through the admin interface.
- The LaCie has an USB interface. So it’s possible to extend your HD with an extra USB external disk. My old external HD is now connected to it. This means I can also access that one from my browser. Which gives me around 1.25 TB of networked storage !!
- Off course it supports regular samba shares. So you can easily add it as a extra disk in the My Computer window.
It would be a nice extra if you could alter the web templates that display the files. If the directory contains a lot of MP3’s for example it would be nice to automatically integrate the songs in a flash player. Now you need greasemonkey if you want to stream mp3’s, which is pretty limited.
My second feature request is pretty obvious for people who want full flexibility: SSH access. I’m not sure this lays within the capabilities of this device, but it would be great if you could run small programs on your mini-server. Or have the capability to extend the functionalities of your administration panel, so a kind of plugin interface for the device would be ideal.
For me this was the solution I was looking for. Mainly because you can have access to all your data from anywhere and you keep the speed and functionalities of your local area network.
On the right you see the LaCie and the expansion USB harddrive from Medion. It can stream via my ethernet hub(below) media to my Xbox 360 (top), and it is connected to the internet via a cable modem(below left).