The Netgear Stora NAS device.

Oh my - eBuyer had a sale on these Netgear Stora NAS devices. £50 each for a bare, two SATA drive NAS device. Okay, its not going to be fast, and its not going to be pretty. But £50 ? Worth a punt ? 

My Windows 7 monster backup machine died a few weeks ago, and I had to get a backup of the main NAS sorted. I'd be rather screwed (again) if I lost that. So I took a punt. I mean - how bad could they be?

Ah. Damn. Pretty bad indeed. The eBuyer ones got shipped with the original firmware - v1.2.1. Pretty horrible. And the very nice flash/flex interface immediately informed me of a Firmware update. So I tried to apply it using their nice interface.

I mean - a very nice interface. One I would happily give a muggle to play with. Pity it didnt work.

You see, before you configure the disks, the underlying Red Hat distro sets up a 60 MEG /tmp directory. And the firmware update (in compressed form) was 30 MEG. So guess what. It didnt work.

Damn and blast. Why not leave the original firmware ? Because the original firmware would ONLY let you set the second drive up as a mirror for the first. Sod that. I dont want to mirror drives WITHIN a NAS device. I want to mirror NAS devices!

Google is, as always, your friend.

Guess what. A bunch of folks on OpenStora.com have a very handy 'upgrade your firmware manually' guide. And it works a treat. Thank feck. 

So now I have two Stora devices on my network. And they both want to be called Stora. (They both can be time machine backup targets too, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves).

When you log into the machines, it sets up a partition using your login name. Guess what. The Mac doesnt handle partitions with the same host and partition name well - so I could only use one. Can I change the SMB host name of the device ? Or the partition name it comes up with ? Probably. Can I be arsed ? Probably not.

Anywhoo. They're in, they're working, they're cheap. They are *not* fast - I'm lucky to see 5mb/sec copy-rate over my gigabit LAN, making the previously slow-as-a-slug ReadNas Duo look positively fast.

Basically, if you want a slow NAS device to do media streaming, then it might cut the mustard. As a backup NAS device - okay, fine. Handy if you have a bunch of old 1tb drives kicking around. Certainly faster than chucking them in a USB chassis and daisychaining them off the back of a machine.

Recommended ? Well. Only if you want hassle. Or perhaps want a tame red-hat box you can hack. But I dont.

Should have bought a super-fast Drobo or Synology like all my grown up friends.