Originally Posted by xcaliberx24
Hello i am very new to NAS and i need some help picking out something that works similar to what i have now. Before i begin let me explain my set up. I have a 7 year old computer running windows 7 ultimate 32bit and connected to it i have 9 external usb2.0 hard drives accumulating 13TB worth of data. Now my PC only has 4 usb ports so i was forced to buy a pci express 5 port usb 2.0 card. Now i have run out of space again and cannot get any more hard drives due to lack of usb ports and power outlets. By the way i had to buy 2 6 way power splitters to connect to my wall because i didn't have any more outlets and now i have so many cables all over the place I'm afraid its a fire hazard. But back on topic i have 9 hard drives for storage not backups which means i use them everyday by going to windows explore and clicking on the file i want. That is a function i don't want to lose. So i looked for an alternative solution to so many damn external hard drives and the word server came up. Like i said I'm new to all of this so i did some googling and i even asked in you tube and people told me to get a nas and i asked for a suggestion and they told me drobo. Now i looked at that and it seems that if i wanted say 12tb of data it would only give me 6tb for storage and 6 for backup and that's not what I'm looking for. I want something where i can get all 12 tb for storage i don't care if i lose a hard drive ill just send it in for recovery at one of those data recovery centers. Also i was told that to access a NAS i have to use Firefox or internet explorer and it would feel like I'm downloading my own files off an ftp server in order to access them. That's another feature i don't want. I want to be able to look at my files through windows explorer and click at will to open any file like the external hard drives i have now. So basically i want a NAS where my computer would read it as a hard drive in windows explorer and it would let me use all available space for storage. Any suggestions?
Well that's esay enough to undertsand. It seems you have been given some duff information though.
First off "NAS" stands for "Network Attached Storage". Therefore, to access it, you need to do it via a network. In simple terms, they are computers with a bunch of hard discs inside but without a monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound card etc. They do of course have a network adaptor.
The hard discs or "User Shares" can be mapped so that you can access them in windows explorer just like you do now. However, to initialy set up and configure the NAS, you will need to "logon" to it using Internet Explorer, Firefox or some such. That's because, as stated earlier, the NAS has no monitor, keyboard or mouse.
In terms of storage vs back up, it all depends on how the discs inside are configured. Most use some sort of "RAID" (look it up on Google) array. However, one type of "RAID" configuration is called JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Discs). If the NAS is configured that way, then all discs can be used as data.
Note that RAID is not backup. It just offers some protection against a single hard disc failure. In such a case, the offending disc can usualy be swapped with no loss of data. However, if the data is "striped" accross discs as is usualy the case with RAID, then if 2 discs fail you would lose all the data on the entire array (and it could not easily be recovered because only part of the data is written to any one disc).
A solution that I use and am a huge fan of, is UnRaid from Lime Technology (again, "Google it" and read the Wiki). However, this may not suit you unless you feel confident about building your own server.
It would be particularly suited to you needs because it only needs one parity disc for "security" and you can have up to 21 discs for data. If a single disc fails, it can be replaced with no loss of data. If 2 or more discs fail at the same time, then you would only lose the data on those discs and it could possibly be recovered. Unlike "conventional RAID" arrays, data is not striped across multiple discs.
I think your next move should be to read up some more on the various types of RAID, variuos NAS storage units and if they can be configured as JBOD, and take a look at the UnRaid Wiki.