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Another increasingly popular storage option for home users with extensive digital media collections and small businesses are network attached storage (Nas) devices.
I have been testing the latest Nas device from Buffalo Technologies (www.buffalotech.com), the Japanese network equipment maker. What distinguishes Buffalo’s LinkStation Mini Nas devices, in 500Gb and 1Tb (1,000Gb) versions, is that they fit in the palm, as well as their sleek, low-power and fanless design, making them almost silent.
Inside their black, ultra-compact cases, the LinkStation Minis pack one or two 500Gb laptop hard drives – the largest available. They feature Buffalo’s web access technology, which is easy to set up and use, and lets users access their files at any time using a standard web browser from anywhere there is an internet connection. This feature worked especially well, enabling me remotely to access files stored on my LinkStation Mini plugged into my home network.
I also like the fact that Buffalo has made it easy for users to configure the LinkStation Mini for Raid 1 (redundant array of inexpensive disks) “data mirroring”, which maintains two copies of data at all times, or Raid 0 “striping” for maximum performance.
A built-in media server makes streaming audio and visual content to any DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified player or PC very easy. Features aimed at business users include support for Microsoft’s “active directory” centralised authorisation and authentication services.
At $299 for the 500Gb version and about $600 for the 1Tb model, the LinkStation Minis are not the cheapest option – users are paying about a $150 premium for the tiny size. But they are beautifully designed, solidly built and deliver lots of performance and features.