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Good NAS Going Bad

Our household NAS, known as HAL, is suffering. A LaCie 5Big Network Drive, HAL arrived in December of 2008 loaded with five 500 GB hard drives, yielding 2 TB of RAID 5 storage.

HAL was a Christmas present. He addressed my wife’s need for a storage strategy for her digital photographs, amongst other things. Within the family I was widely known as a geek. The fact that she welcomed a NAS as a gift cemented her standing in that regard.

HAL was twice upgraded such that he presently sports five 2 TB Seagate Barracuda hard drives configured for RAID 10 + a hot spare. One drive failed a couple of months ago. At that time it pulled in the hot spare, spending a weekend rebuilding the volume. No data was lost.

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CBC Radio’s Spark On Soundscapes: Cutting Through The Noise

I’ve recently discovered a CBC Radio program called Spark. The CBC is a bone fide national treasure, and Spark is their program on technology in society. They describe it as:

Spark is a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching. It’s not just technology for gearheads, it’s about the way technology affects our lives, and the world around us.

…sounds interesting, non?

I recently loaded my phone with some Spark podcasts in a effort to catch up on the program. I was especially taken by episode 128 from November 2010 which considers the impact of noise on people. From the calming influence of bird song to the stress induced by using a cell phone, it’s profoundly interesting stuff.

Our personal and collective productivity often hinges on the soundscape of the working environment. Your personal stress and anxiety level can also be impacted. To be blunt, noise matters…and yet it’s often completely overlooked.

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All Your Files Are Belong to Me! – HAL9000

From my Facebook page comes this comment from Gary Mark about our new NAS.

Okay, so why do you need this Mike? Can’t you RAID a couple big disks into your desktop and run it like a server? You’d save another 500 bucks doing this.

In fact for the past couple of years I’ve had a mini-tower PC living in a closet acting as a file server. It wasn’t really a server as it was a pretty limited little box. It had an AMD 1800+ CPU, 512 MB memory and four 300 GB IDE drives on a Promise RAID controller. In RAID 5 it gave me around 860 GB of storage. It actually started out with four 120 GB drives long ago and had been upgraded once already.

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Michael, don’t do this Michael. I can feel my files slipping away.

5big_3qtr-left_new1

Meet HAL9000. That’s what my wife has decided to call our new LaCie NAS. She cites the similarity between the big blue light on the front of the NAS and the vision panels that the famous supercomputer has on-board ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is a relatively new device to the market and just recently was reviewed by my friends over at Small Net Builder. Tim’s conclusion about matches my experience thus far. It’s not the best performing of its sort, nor is it terribly feature laden, but it is a decent RAID capable NAS. It provides 2.5 TB of raw storage, or in our case 1.86 TB of actual RAID 5  storage based upon 5 x 500 GB SATA-II disks. All for a modest $730 street price.

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