Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Thecus

Introduction

The N2310 is a budget dual-bay NAS from Thecus and an interesting product beyond the low cost for this category, boasting a number of features that help set it apart.

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Apart from the primary role of a network attached storage (NAS) device - you know, storage - there are some interesting things a piece of hardware like the N2310 can do. This inexpensive NAS is actually a server, too, so beyond storing up to 8TB of data it’s powerful enough to replace a dedicated PC for certain tasks - the kind of tasks that some of us leave a PC running 24/7 to accomplish.

In this review we’ll take a look at some of the functionality that helps set the N2310 apart, as well as the kind of real-world performance you might expect to see.

It’s All About the Gigabytes

There are more reasons now than ever before for large storage options. Even though SSD’s are at their lowest prices ever most of us still need to supplement a fast boot drive with some traditional spinning disks. Just think about what accumulates in an average year on your PC… photos, music, videos, program backups and images, you name it. All those GB’s have to go somewhere, and there are obviously internal and external hard drives to share the load. However, regardless of the local storage option you might chose, it’s not always so convenient to actually access this stuff again. Clearly, the easier it is to access your files, the better - and not just from one device. So, having centralized storage is a great idea, right?

Between computers, tablets, and of course our phones, there are generally quite a few connected devices in the average technology-inclined home. And while every device mentioned can connect to the internet - and cloud storage has become very popular - there's still something to be said for local content management. Beyond the convenience of sharing sometimes massive amounts of data easily at home, another benefit of always-on storage is backup. Ideally, every computer in the home would be backed up locally as well as the cloud, and a great way to take care of the local side of backup is with a NAS. Setting one up is very easy these days, with a growing number of affordable options from various vendors.

Thecus makes an interesting case for a budget NAS with the N2310. For a comparison, Allyn recently looked at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX2 network drive, and this is a highly polished all-in-one solution is now selling for about $199 (without drives). The Thecus N2310 is less expensive at $149, and both offer two 3.5” drive bays. (The My Cloud is also offered pre-populated with drives providing up to 8TB of storage.) These “diskless” enclosures present a good opportunity to save some money up front, and whether you choose to run on two drives you happened to have around the house or office, or if you want to go out and grab a couple of Western Digital 4TB Red drives, they can accommodate your situation.

Let’s take a look at the Thecus N2310.

Continue reading our review of the Thecus N2310 SOHO NAS Server!!

Face it, tape backups aren't going anywhere anytime soon

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: tape, backup, sony

Sony has just raised the bar on tape backup after creating a new process which can create strings of uniformly orientated nanocrystals in a layer less than five micrometers thick, giving the tape a storage density of 148 Gb per square inch.  Compare that to the current market standard of 2Gb per square inch on LTO-6 high-end LTO Ultrium tapes.  Unfortunately there are two questions left unanswered by the statement that The Register linked to; what I/O speeds can this media maintain and what its expected lifetime is.

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"Researchers at Sony have developed a new kind of magnetic tape that can store 74 times the data of current designs, dramatically cutting the amount of room needed for backup libraries."

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Source: The Register

Backing up with Linux is a snap

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2013 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: linux, rsync, crontab, backup, automation

If you have any data that is important to you then you should have a backup scheme in place, even if it is simply keeping several copies of the files on different media but for many Windows users the idea of a proper automated backup scheme is something for businesses and not home users.  Then they lose some baby pictures.  At that point it is common for the sad individual to buy an additional piece of equipment that backs up at the push of a button but still tends to be kept in physical proximity to the machine it is backing up.

However if you know someone who is familiar with Linux or are not scared to try something new yourself, there are tools that exist in Linux which allow you to script a complete backup of a system, or parts thereof, to a remote location automatically; no user interaction required.  Techgage will take you through the wonderful world of rsync, crontab and 1ftp which are powerful tools in Linux and Unix to backup your data automatically and without constantly using huge amounts of bandwidth.  Spend a bit of time with some old hardware and you should be able to build yourself a backup server or NAS for free.

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"Keeping good backups of your data is important; don’t be the sucker who loses important files and has to deal with it afterwards! In this in-depth guide, you’ll learn about using rsync and lftp to transfer files, writing your own scripts and automating them, and backing up to external storage, a NAS, and a remote server without passwords."

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Source: Techgage

WD LAUNCHES FOURTH GENERATION WD ARKEIA NETWORK BACKUP APPLIANCES

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 28, 2013 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Arkeia, backup

IRVINE, Calif. – June 27, 2013 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) company and world leader in digital storage solutions, today unveiled the fourth generation of WD Arkeia™ network backup appliances, delivering an all-in-one backup and disaster recovery solution for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

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The new line up consists of four rack-mount appliance models with larger internal disk capacities, faster processors, increased memory, and integrated solid state drives (SSDs) to shorten backup time and accelerate data recovery. The bundled WD Arkeia v10.1 software delivers new support for “seed and feed” technology to support hybrid cloud backups. This allows companies to move backups offsite via network replication rather than shipment of tapes.

“In announcing their fourth generation of purpose-built network backup appliances, WD Arkeia is delivering comprehensive SMB backup solutions that go beyond simple raw capacity increases,” said Liz Conner, senior research analyst, IDC. “WD Arkeia offers easy- to-use data protection that takes the guess work out of purchasing, configuring and managing data backup and recovery, while also embedding features such as deduplication and hybrid cloud backup for small- and medium-sized businesses or remote offices." “WD is committed to providing the growing SMB marketplace with a comprehensive suite of storage solutions,” said Jim Welsh, executive vice president and general manager of WD’s branded business unit. With unique features, these next-generation WD Arkeia network backup appliances offer solutions providers and their customers a simple, smart way to protect their data.

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Fourth-Generation Performance and Ease-of-Use
Fourth-generation WD Arkeia backup appliances deliver performance and ease-of-use at an affordable price for SMBs. These new appliances extend the upper range of WD Arkeia appliances and complement available lower-range appliances. WD Arkeia R120s and R220s, both with optional LTO4 tape drives, integrate dual-core Atom and quad-core Xeon processors, respectively. Existing appliances deliver disk capacities from 2TB to 12TB and will also bundle WD Arkeia v10.1. The new fourth-generation appliances offer: o Increased Backup and Recovery Speed: New features include integrated LTO5 tape drives, processor upgrades to a maximum of 2 hex-core Intel® Xeon®, integrated SSDs on select models, and memory up to 96 GB to allow for increased data backup and recovery speeds of both files and disk images. WD Arkeia’s patented Progressive Deduplication™ technology accelerates backups by compressing data at source computers before transfer over local area networks (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs).

  • Higher Storage Capacity: Storage capacity doubles from the third generation, with raw capacity now ranging up to 48 TB, configured in RAID-6.
  • Improved Ease of Use: Version 10.1 of WD Arkeia software, delivered with the new generation, includes an on-boarding wizard to streamline the appliance setup process. 
  • Storage Reliability: All new WD Arkeia appliances feature WD enterprise-class WD RE™ hard drives for maximum data integrity.
  • Simplified Tape-free, Offsite Storage: Version 10.1 of WD Arkeia software extends support for hybrid cloud backup capabilities to the full line of WD Arkeia appliances. “Seed and feed” capabilities allow administrators to supplement network replication of backup sets offsite by using USB-connected hard drives to transfer initial and large backup sets and also to size WAN bandwidth for the replication of nightly incremental backups.

Pricing and Availability
WD Arkeia fourth generation network backup appliances – models RA4300, RA4300T, RA5300, RA6300 – will be available in July 2013 through select DMR’s and WD-authorized value-added resellers (VARs) in the US, Canada, and Europe. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, including hardware and software, begins at $9,990 USD. WD Arkeia network backup appliances are covered by one year of unlimited access to technical support, one year of software updates, and a one-year limited hardware warranty.

CES 2013: Seagate Announces Central Shared Storage Backup and Streaming Box

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2013 - 09:21 AM |
Tagged: remote access, NAS, media streaming, DLNA, central shared storage, backup, ces 2013, CES, Seagate

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Seagate announced a new home backup and media streaming box that it is calling the Seagate Central Shared Storage. Featuring a form factor well suited to your AV rack in the living room or next to the PC, the Central Shared Storage box will act as a NAS and DLNA server with additional software that enables automatic backup of multiple PCs throughout the home and Facebook photos. The Seagate software will run on computers running either Windows or OSX and will organize audio, video, images, and documents for viewing and streaming on a variety of devices.

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In addition, the Central Shared Storage box will also back up your photos stored on Facebook. You can stream or access multimedia on mobile devices (using the Seagate Media App), PCs, or Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. ON the mobile side, Samsung supports IOS, Amazon (Kindle HD), and Android devices. You can also access your stored content from afar with the remote access feature. social network accounts. Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players will further offer up a customized interface for the viewing your music, movies, and photos on the big screen TV.

It will be interesting to see what the performance is like over the network, and whether the software required for auto-backup is worth using. Unfortunately, there is no word on Linux support, but it may still be possible to get Linux computers backed up to the NAS using something like Wine.

The Seagate Central Shared Storage will be available in March 2013 and will come in three capacities. The MSRPs are as follows:

  • 2TB is $189.99
  • 3TB is $219.99
  • 4TB is $259.99

You can find the full press release here.

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Source: Seagate
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: Google

Introduction

Search engine giant Google took the wraps off its long rumored cloud storage service called Google Drive this week. The service has been rumored for years, but is (finally) official. In the interim, several competing services have emerged and even managed to grab significant shares of the market. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how Google’s service will stack up. In this article, we’ll be taking Google Drive on a test drive from installation to usage to see if it is a worthy competitor to other popular storage services—and whether it is worth switching to!

How we test

In order to test the service, I installed the Google desktop application (we’ll be taking a look at the mobile app soon) and uploaded a variety of media file types including documents, music, photos, and videos in numerous formats. The test system in question is an Intel i7 860 based system with 8GB of RAM and a wired Ethernet connection to the LAN. The cable ISP I used offers approximately two to three mpbs uploads (real world speeds, 4mbps promised) for those interested.

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Overview

Google’s cloud service was officially unveiled on Tuesday, but the company is still rolling out activations for people’s accounts (my Google Drive account activated yesterday [April 27, 2012], for example). And it now represents the new single storage bucket for all your Google needs (Picasa, Gmail, Docs, App Inventor, ect; although people can grandfather themselves into the cheaper Picasa online storage).

Old Picasa Storage vs New Google Drive Storage Plans

Storage Tier (old/new) Old Plan Pricing (per year) New Plan Pricing (per year)
20 GB/25 GB $5 $29.88
80 GB/100 GB $20 $59.88
200 GB $50 $119.88
400 GB $100 $239.88
1 TB $256 $599.88
2 TB $512 $1,199.88
4 TB $1,024 $2,399.88
8 TB $2,048 $4,799.88
16 TB $4,096 $9,599.88

(Picasa Plans were so much cheaper–hold onto them if you're able to!)

The way Google Drive works is much like that of Dropbox wherein a single folder is synced between Google’s servers and the user’s local machine (though sub-folders are okay to use and the equivalent of "labels" on the Google side). The storage in question is available in several tiers, though the tier that most people will be interested in is the free one. On that front, Google Drive offers 5GB of synced storage, 10GB of Gmail storage, and 1GB of Picasa Web Albums photo backup space. Beyond that, Google is offering nine paid tiers from an additional 25GB of "Drive and Picasa" storage (and 25GB of Gmail email storage) for $2.49 a month to 16TB of Drive and Picasa Web Albums storage with 25GB of Gmail email storage for $799.99 a month. The chart below details all the storage tiers available.

Google Drive Storage Plans
Storage Tiers Drive/Picasa Storage Gmail Storage Price (per month)
Free 5GB/1GB 10GB $0 (free)
25GB 25GB (shared) 25GB $2.49
100GB 100GB (shared) 25GB $4.99
200GB 200GB (shared) 25GB $9.99
400GB 400GB (shared) 25GB   $19.99
1TB 1TB (shared) 25GB   $49.99
2TB 2TB (shared) 25GB   $99.99
4TB 4TB (shared) 25GB   $199.99
8TB 8TB (shared) 25GB   $399.99
16TB 16TB (shared) 25GB   $799.99

1024MB = 1GB, 1024GB = 1TB

The above storage numbers do not include the 5GB of free drive storage that is also applied to any paid tiers.  The free 1GB of Picasa storage does not carry over to the paid tiers.

Even better, Google has not been stingy with their free storage. They continue to allow users to upload as many photos as they want to Google+ (they are resized to a max of 2048x2048 pixels though). Also, Google Documents stored in the Docs format continue to not count towards the storage quota. Videos uploaded to Google+ under 15 minutes in length are also free from storage limitations. As far as Picasa Web Albums (which also includes photos uploaded to blogger blogs) goes, any images under 2048x2048 and videos under 15 minutes in length do not count towards the storage quota either. If you exceed the storage limit, Google will still allow you to access all of your files, but you will not be able to create any new files until you delete enough files to get below the storage quota. The one exception to that rule is the “storage quota free” file types mentioned above–Google will still let you create/upload those. For Gmail storage, Google allows you to receive and store as much email as you want up to the quota. After you reach the quota, any new email will hard bounce and you will not be able to receive new messages.

In that same vein, Google’s paid tiers are not the cheapest but are still fairly economical. They are less expensive per GB than Dropbox, for example, but are more expensive than Microsoft’s new Skydrive tiers. One issue that many users face with online storage services is the file size limit placed on individual files. While Dropbox places no limits (other than overall storage quota) on individual file size, many other services do. Google offers a compromise to users in the form of 10GB per file size limits. While you won’t be backing up Virtualbox hard drives or drive image backups to Google, they’ll let you backup anything else (within reason).

Continue reading for the full Google Drive preview.

Box.com Offering 50GB of Free Cloud Storage For Life To Users of Android App

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2012 - 02:48 AM |
Tagged: storage, media, Internet, free, cloud, box, backup

The online storage space is really starting to heat up as companies start getting competitive to grab their share of the 'cloud storage user base' pie. Dropbox is a popular file syncing and online storage space solution offering 2GB free and routinely offering extra free space to those that want it though promotions and referrals. On the other side of things, Microsoft offers 25GB of online storage space with SkyDrive minus the computer syncing (currently) for free to those with a Windows Live (or Hotmail) account and they are in the process of overhauling the service to make it easier to use. Besides those two juggernauts, there are several alternative solutions that offer extra space or cheaper paid storage in order to remain competitive with the larger services. One such service that has not gotten the same amount of public recognition is a site called Box.com. They primarily provide Internet based (paid) storage for businesses; however, it seems that they are starting to make a big push to get deeper into the consumer market.

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The company is currently offering 50 GB (yes, you read that right) of free online storage space for life (or at least the life of the company) if you install their recently updated Android application and sign up for an account (or sign into an existing account) within the next 30 days (as of writing, that would mean 3/24/2012).

Further, if you download the Android Box application before March 23, 2012 at 11:59 they will up the individual file size limit from 25 MB per file to 100 mb per file. Although that is still not big enough for movies, the increased per file limit makes it easy to backup your photos even in RAW.

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Once you download the Box android application from the Android Market, and sign up (or sign into an existing account) a message will pop up indicating that you have been given 50 GB of free storage and it is immediately accessible. There are a few caveats; however. The Box.com service has mobile applications that are free; however, they do not provide a free application for Windows or Mac. To get the desktop/laptop syncing service, you will need to upgrade to a paid Business or Enterprise account. Also, the Android application itself may concern some users as one of the application permissions during installation includes access to your contact list. The company has stated that this is necessary to make the sharing and collaboration process easy for the user. It certainly would not be the first application to ask for (to the user) strange permissions, however. You could always install the app on an Android VM or another phone if you're that paranoid (heh).

While you do not get a desktop application for free, you can still access your files (and the increased 50 GB of storage) from the website, and they do allow bulk uploads that can include multiple sub-folders. One snag that I ran into was that if the uploader identified any file in a folder as being over 100 MB, it would refuse to upload the entire folder. This may be a bug or an issue on my end; however, I was not able to figure out a way to just skip that one file and upload the rest of the files in the folder.

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The batch uploader allows uploading multiple subfolders via drag and drop.

One thing that I enjoyed about the process (aside from the plentiful storage) was that they made it easy to sign up, all they ask for is an email (which doesn't need to be verified to get access to storage) and password.  It's kind of nice to not have to slog through the process of handing out a bunch of personal information just for an online account!

I'm currently uploading my photos to the site to back them up (I learned two years ago that it can never hurt to have too many backups!) and the upload is going smoothly. The website batch uploader is Flash based and does not require IE like SkyDrive does, so that's a positive thing in my book. Let us know in the comments if you've tried Box out before, and how you're going to use the 50 GB of cloud storage.  It really seems like the cloud / Internet based storage market is heating up, and this is a good thing for end users as it means more options, more innovation, and cheaper prices!  If Box.com isn't for you, Dropbox and SkyDrive are also offering plenty of free storage space.

Source: Maximum PC

You didn't really need that file, did you?

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: pebkac, oops, backup

Files occasionally go to silicon heaven, no matter how careful you are a mistaken keystroke or hard drive failure or even children both small and large will eventually send your precious data off to where calculators go when they die.  If you've made the move to an SSD, you should really pay attention as the mean time before failure on flash is very different than for platter based drives.  Techware Labs offers you some of the best basic preventative measures, many of which will be familiar even if you haven't got around to doing it yet.  As well they take you through several inexpensive ways to back up your data externally for those who would really like to ensure their data is safe from gremlins, viruses and the ever lurking PEBKAC.

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"If data loss is not on your radar right now it should be. We show you why data loss is 100% avoidable and what free and low cost options you have to ensure the safety of your critical files. TechwareLabs covers everything from online options to physical hardware to backup and protect your data."

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