Well since I’m the one that started this post - I thought I’d give you an update.
I have returned my WD MyBook II 4TB NAS, purchased at BuyDig.com, though I’m still awaiting them to refund my credit card (its been over a week - they did state its in processing).
What I initially wanted to do was to Move my iTunes library to the WD MyBook NAS and run it from there - as stated it worked for a few days - but then really got messed up. AND IT WAS EXTREMELY SLOW. Now that could be my Network, but I have gigabyte ethernet so I know it was not.
OTHER NAS DEVICES
After more research and speaking to several other’s who have NAS devices - the one critical thing they all state is to make sure that whatever NAS you choose - be sure that it supports the AFP (it will support others but - as they all felt that at least these companies are trying to ensure Mac compatibility and address the concerns of the Mac Community by adding this protocol so its a good sign)
These units also have Faster more Powerful Processors in them - as they were initially designed for Office use.
Most everyone suggested either:
Both of these NAS devices come with the housing however you need to purchase the SATA drives separately. They will likely come out costing about $500 - $700 depending on your configuration as you can get 2TB SATA drives for about $150 each and their empty NAS units are $300+
IF YOU HAVE AN ALL WINDOWS ENVIRONMENT - ALL THE NAS DEVICES WILL WORK FINE ---- HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE A MAC IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT - BE WARE.
I’m 50 - 50 but for all my digital content I have made the decision to go with MAC and Apple (iTunes, AppleTV, iLIFE etc.) so this is a possible solution for those who just want to get something up and running without much hassle with 1 primary provider - that being Apple and does not mind using Mac’s for the Majority of the configuration process - however once configured all Media is accessible easily via Windows XP and Windows 7. (I would never suggest anyone use VISTA - get off of it asap - even Microsoft wants that dead).
#1 My main concern when seeking a NAS device was backup/failsafe or RAID 1 (Mirroring) to ensure that if a drive failed I had all my digital media (movies, itunes and family memories stored in two places.
#2 All the other cool stuff a NAS device offer’s was and is cool - but honestly its stuff that I would call ‘geeky cool stuff that I would tinker with’ on a weekend, but really didn’t need. Sometimes you miss the point - find out what you want - if its security and data mirroring - scale back and don’t go for a NAS as you will just end up playing with all the other stuff and overlooking what you really need. NAS’ are good - but there are some other alternatives.
MY HOMEMEDIA SETUP
- 2 MAC’s running the latest OS (One Headless Mac Mini, One MacBookPro Laptop)
- 1 PC running Windows XP
- 1 PC running Windows 7
APPLE TV (2)
After testing and playing with Netflicks and Blockbuster through my BluRay player and Installing Boxee and playing with Hulu - it was all just too much. I wanted ONE SINGLE COMPREHENSIVE home media solution that offered 80% of everything I wanted, rather than a mix-up a cool free stuff. So I went with Apple and iTunes and Apple TV. Apple has deals with all the Major Media Studios so you get all the movies - you can rent or buy or preview trailers and the interface is beautiful - as expected from Apple. Apple Store is easy to use for everyone in the family. Yes AppleTV has its limits but I have all my content served up to 2 HDTV’s and any computer in the House that can run Windows or Mac iTunes - iTunes now has HOMESHARE built-in. AppleTV is stupid in that its internal HD is only 160GB - my music library is 180GB - so that is just stupid. And Yes they do cost $229 per unit so its a bit pricey -but now I don’t think about it as it all works so well.
APPLETV after market add-on - “ATVFLASH” $49.00
Check out a very cool tool "aTVFLASH’ which is an AppleTV hack that is really easy to install and is all software based and can be completely reversed so it does not effect your warranty.
This software will let you hook up to Youtube, and Radio, it includes a WebBrower and Keyboard software - supports waayyyy more video codecs than Apple allows you upload and download via FTP from your appletv - so all the things that Apple should have put in AppleTV to make it an OPEN media center - ATVFLASH does - including allowing you to run FIREFOX browser and see Flash movies. Sapphire and Boxee and all the free stuff you can find - it rolls it all in to one simple install.
I have 2 AppleTV’s connected to my 2 HDTV and both are set to STREAM content from the same Mac Mini Media Server. Since I have set them to STREAM, I needed to find a way to get content that I purchased from the Apple Store directly through the AppleTV. As the only way to do that would be the SYNC the unit - but that is a whole other weird scenario apple should re-think - but ATVFLASH lets me ftp into the unit and retrieve my purchase content so I can add it manually to my iTunes library. This would be a nice wish list item for ATVFLASH to add an automated way which included other computers like my Mac Mini-- however, they do have the ability to via ATVFLASH to use an external USB device as your iTunes library (like the Thermaltake below) so you can’t complain too much. I would like them to allow you to select a Network Share as well.
I have a Mac MINI as my Media Server - the drive was too small so I got an after market replacement 500GB. It is headless (no monitor) saves money, as I just Remote in using Apples Built in Screen Sharing - or you can use a free opensource application called CHICKEN OF THE VNC which lets me take over that mac as if I was working directly on it.
POOR MANS NAS in lieu of WD’s MyBook Scenario
Found two really cool CHEAP alternatives that addressed my main concern.
$49.00 at TigerDirect.com
See it to believe it - it has USB or eSTATA connectivity and has one or two drive configurations and accepts 2.5 or 3.5 SATA drives (whatever size you choose). It see’s the drives as 2 separate drives and is connected directly to my Mac Mini - and fortunately Apple has RAID 1 functionality built-in to their disk utility so I formatted the drives in Raid 1 and now when I backup to the first drive - it automatically writes to both!
Next step: This one I have completed my testing - but I’m hopeful
PogpPlug by CloudEngines, a weird little device (hope you like hot pink) with a very colorful stand. Its really a NETWORK device for USB hard drives. It puts them on your Home Network as Network Shares! And it even has an option whereby you can Access these Shares over the Web from anywhere in the world.
Now if it works and see’s my ThermalTAKE (RAID1 configured) drives - then I have a Poor Man’s NAS and it solves my over problem. I’ve read that some people have had success connecting pogoplug to the 1 slot thermaltake, but not the 2 slot - so I’m hopeful I can get it working especially since I would be using the Raid config i stated above and It may just see it as a single drive which would be fine.
So for a total of $336.00 ( $49 thermaltake dual + $129 pogo plug + $79 each for two 1.TB SATA drives) I’ve solved my problems.
And strange enough the part I’ve tested so far is that the PogoPlug networked Thermaltake device is faster on my Network than the WD MyBook - so far!
And everything I’ve stated above works for my Mac’s and PC’s - though of course the RAID1 scenario is dependent upon Apples Disk Utility to Format the drives. It also allowed me to Partition the Drives so I have a big chunk for MAC and a Windows Partition - FAT, which I then accessed and mounted on Windows 7 whereby you can Change it NTFS if you wish.