As we move ever further into the digital age, more and more of our ‘essentials’ become tied up in bits and bytes. I’ve been playing with computers since the late seventies, and I guess now I’d not know what to do without my pooters. I tend not to play games that much, but there are gigabytes of data on my machines in the form of photographs, music (the entire CD collection and then some), documents databases and spreadsheets, family history files, downloaded radio plays etc etc etc – all vulnerable to loss and mostly forever unrecoverable once lost. The most important files are of course written to CD’s and stored off-site, but nevertheless the thought of ripping 1500 CD’s etc, all over again, fills me with horror.
So this evening I have been installing NAS – Network Area Storage – in the form of a Netgear SC101 file store. Fitted with a couple of WD Caviar 200GB HDD’s I now have a handful of mirrored drives on which I can keep my most precious data.
As far as I can tell, everything has run in seamless fashion. The box resembles a small toaster and in more than shape (but more of that later). It connects to the network via RJ45 and is powered by a 12V 5A power brick. The two disks (sold seperately) slide into the enclosure behind a door that needs a penny to lock it with. The file system is non-standard, so the HDD’s won’t simply transfer to a computer (which is slightly un-nerving). Any computer that is to access the disk(s) requires an installation of the utility that comes with the drive enclosure. Apart from the aforementioned utility there appear to be back-up management software and synchronisation software on a seperate CD, but I haven’t explored them yet and I’m not sure I need to.
I guess, once I’m all set up and data copied across, I’ll want to keep the enclosure downstairs – easily grabbed in the event of catastrophe! Hopefully that will never happen, and hopefully it won’t happen because the SC101 has caught fire… It really runs quite warm. There’s no active cooling, and the heat from the two discs is radiated away via an aluminium slotted heatsink on the top. Ok, perhaps not warm enough to toast bread, but… Presumably the HDD’s will cope. Be a shame to have a back-up device that needed a back-up…