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Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby gries818 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:03 pm

I am going to be purchasing a 1 TB external hard drive in the next couple of days and I wanted to know if anybody has any suggestions. I am going to be backing up 4 or 5 computers (3 XP, 1 OS X, 1 Ubuntu Server). Is it possible to connect it via ethernet to my router? Will it be too complicated for different computers (and different operating systems) to connect to a shared USB drive?
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby kd1966 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:46 pm

Ethernet attached HDDs are usually referred to as NAS - Network Attached Storage - and the cost is coming down, but still significant cost increase over USB attached storage. I am kind of doing the same thing; I got a Seagate Freeagent 1TB USB 2.0 drive. The administration on a USB attached device on your home network will be more than a NAS, as you have to map the drive to each system you want to have use it, PLUS, the attached PC must be on at all times you want to use it. I like using the USB attached, as it saves me $$, plug I get to work with mapping network drives. I don't get a whole lot of that at work, as it's all NAS and SAN stuff
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby gries818 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:05 pm

Ok... so if I just map the drive to every system, I won't have any problems with sharing... sounds easy enough.

I have a copy of Acronis True Home Image Home I plan to use for my XP systems, obviously Time Machine for OS X, and I don't know yet on the Linux server. Do I need to be concerned about speed? I guess for the first time when each system puts a couple gigs on the drive but incremental backups won't take a super long time to transfer via USB, will they?
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby kd1966 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:28 pm

gries818 wrote:Ok... so if I just map the drive to every system, I won't have any problems with sharing... sounds easy enough.

I have a copy of Acronis True Home Image Home I plan to use for my XP systems, obviously Time Machine for OS X, and I don't know yet on the Linux server. Do I need to be concerned about speed? I guess for the first time when each system puts a couple gigs on the drive but incremental backups won't take a super long time to transfer via USB, will they?


Where you could run into issues is the overhead administration, which includes the drive itself and the machines that are using the mapped drive. Problems can arise if drive letters change, PC host changes name; things like that, but it's a fairly decent solution. I use a free backup program called Personal Backup, which allows me to shedule backups and use the mapped drives over the network.
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby ar1stotle » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:36 pm

If you have an old computer with some ethernet you can load up FreeNAS, put it in a corner, and there's your NAS. It's really easy to set up. We used USB sharing through Windows at school for our broadcasting department, and sometimes with too many connections it would just mess up, or if the computer it was attached to needed to be shut down while people were working on it, it was a problem. The dedicated NAS was also faster. If you can do it for free, I'd say it's worth a try (it will probably use a little more power than a retail NAS though).
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby gries818 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:01 am

I do have an old computer that I'm setting up a Linux server on, but the hard drive is only 40 GB. That's plenty of space for my own web testing, but its far too small for the other computers to backup to. And the cables in the computer are of the older type which isn't supported by the newer, larger hard drives. Is there a way around that problem without redoing the computer?

Then I also need to figure out how to share the drives to work with my Windows machines I need to backup. Not all together impossible, but a lot of work nonetheless. Hey, might be fun though.
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Re: Need Advice on External Hard Drives

Postby ar1stotle » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:29 pm

You can get a PCI SATA controller for ~$25. You can also get a gigabit ethernet card and some Cat6 cable for your network if you want it to be as fast as possible.
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