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Review: Buffalo NAS

I've been meaning to blog about the Buffalo NAS that I purchased and have finally been spurred into action by a post from Leaf:

I'm thinking of buying an external drive for backups for my home pc. Reviews online don't even suggest clear leaders, let alone a winner.

For a few years, I've been using external hard drives as a way of backing up main computer's data. I create a fresh backup once a month and incremental backups for the rest of the month. Since my main computer is a laptop, it's been pretty easy to get an external drive with much more capacity than the computer. The extra space allows me to store a few months worth of backups. I use an ancient version of Norton Ghost to perform the actual backups. It works pretty well and I've configured it to send me an email every morning letting me know if the backup was successful or not.

I've gone through two Western Digital MyBook USB drives. Each worked great for around a year and a half, then died. Having all of your backups die simultaneously isn't really ideal in a backup solution, so I decided to search for a better option.

Based on the advice of my cousin Paul, I investigated—then invested in—a Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo, which is a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. It contains two hard drives and I configured the device to mirror them, so if one drive fails the other one still has all of my data.

I'm pretty pleased with the Buffalo. The web-based configuration is quite flexible. It's even possible to make some or all of my data accessible from elsewhere on the Internet, so I can access it while I'm traveling. Very handy. I also configured it to email me every morning to let me know the status of the drives and how much capacity remains. That way, I have some warning when I'm running out of space and I'll know right away when one of the drives fail.

Under the hood, the Buffalo runs Linux and there's an active Buffalo NAS hacking community. Using their instructions, I was able to unlock ssh access into my Buffalo device.

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