It’s such a long time I was looking for an extra storage solution which works flawlessly, doesn’t have to avoid data loss from unplugging unintentionally, and has security feature. Now It’s all come in NAS - Network Attached Storage.

Since a network came to be the new role of computer system in home, network-related devices cost has been deceased dramatically. For example, in the past, a printer server was really expensive, so when you want all your computers in a house to print something out; you have to share printer from the computer that directly connects with the printer. That is sometimes painful because you have to turn that computer all the times to make sure that you don’t have to go downstair just to turn on the computer and go back and forth just to print only one page long. Now, with sub $200 printer you have options to use either ethernet or USB.

NAS is another network-related device which makes your life easier. You don’t have to worry about space on your desk or if an USB port has enough power for external hard drive or the important thing like data loss from unplug without eject the device. Basically, all NASs work by connecting with a network, then every computer in the network sees it as file server or you can access it through your browser via HTTP server or FTP server. You don’t even have to install anything on any platform you use. You may have to login to access data depending on your own setting.

For Lacie 250GB Ethernet disk mini, the reason why it named, “mini,” is its small capacities compared to other models from this company.

LaCie Ethernet Disk mini 250GB specification
Item Number : 300938U
Capacity : 250 GB
Interface : Fast Ethernet 10/100 & Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Rotational Speed (rpm) : 7200
Cache Size : 8MB
Processor/RAM : 266Mhz / 32MB SDRAM
Interface Transfer Rate : Ethernet: 100 Mbits/s; USB 2.0: 480 Mbits/s
Network Setting : No drivers needed, no server required
DHCP auto IP assignment
Manual configuration through web-based management
Network Protocols : TCP/IP, Windows: SMB/CIFS, Mac: AppleTalk/AFP v3.1, FTP, HTTP
Network Compatibility : Apple Bonjour Protocol; WINS server
Dimensions (WxHxD) : 160 x 173 x 44 mm / 6.3 x 6.82 x 1.734 in
Weight : 1500g / 52.95 oz
Supported OS : Windows 98SE*; Windows 2000; Windows Me*; Windows? XP (SP1 & SP2); Mac OS 9*/X, Intel processor Mac, Linux 2.4 & higher*
* Only on the Ethernet network
System Requirements : Ethernet connection 10/100; USB 2.0 port (USB 1.1 compatible); Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher, Netscape, Safari
Comments : 1 gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes. Once formatted, the actual available storage capacity varies depending on operating environment (typically 10-15% less).
Box Content : Ethernet Cable, HI-Speed USB 2.0 cable (USB 1.1 compatible), External Power Supply, Drive stand for upright desktop use, LaCie Utilities CD-ROM with online Manual & SilverKeeper software (for Mac) for automatic backup and file verification, Quick Install Guide

As you can see, you may wonder why it has a CPU. The fact is this kind of device needs to have CPU and OS to make it work too.

 
   For this model, its OS is Linux embedded, just to work as small servers. Let see how to use it in pictures below:-
   
   It’s really simple, just plug and play. When I first got this NAS, the package from Buy.com & LaCie is quite nice and over-protection which is good. In case you don’t have hub or router yet, you can plug it to computer directly. It will generate IP automatically by DHCP. How convenient it is.
     
   At first, I used it as USB Harddisk for a faster transfer. I found that Windows XP saw it as removable disk like USB flash drive, not hard disk drive as other external hard drives. Unfortunately, it required password to accesss data. I really impressed for what Lacie does about security. Then I moved about 27GB into this drive; I don’t know whether it’s fast or not because I think it’s the same as other external drive, that is, its speed is limited by USB capability. After that I had a little test to show how good it is.
 
   14-15MBps ~ 120Mbps same level as other USB external drive I have, I think it should be the limit of USB. So when I had finished moving all my stuffs, I changed it to connect the network (100Mbps Ethernet) instead.
   

Setting up

Actually, you don’t have to set anything up to make it work; however, in that case, you’d got to use default value to log it on. This drive has a web-based manager that you can set anything from what protocol you want to enable, which directory you want to share, to which user has more or less permission.

You can access an admin page by its IP or an URL, “edmini.local.”

     
   it’s flexible ebough for anyone, I think. In share page, you can set “guest user” as well. so, you don’t have to login to access at all if you just want to look up your files, read-only. Whether you use Mac, Linux, or Windows, it’s all the same.
 
   in case you use Mac OSX, you could make connect to this drive by “smb://edmin.local.” or “cifs://edmin.local.” or you can make automator do it for you!
 

Performance

 
   Fortunately, it’s slower due to the connection but I can say that it’s enough. I don’t think 6MB/s (52Mbps) is slow. I test by watching Pooh’s Huffalump movie, 352 x 240, 96kbps, divX; it works great and smooth. But when I watched Fantastic Four, 624 x 256, Xvid, 127kbps, 23 frame/s, it’s slightly lag.

Conclusion

This is my best solution for extra storage so far. Easy, fast, and secure are included in this drive. All I can tell is if you want some extra storage and you have more than one computer in your house, I bet NAS is the most suitable solution. About working condition of this drive, it produces little sound because of hard drive and little fan on the back; nonetheless, you won’t notice this unless you sleep and turn anything off but this one. For me, $99 for 250GB is really worth compare to 320GB at the same price but USB connection only.

  Pros   Cons
• Network Attached Storage • a bit expensive
• Security feature

Reference: Product Page at LaCie.com