Network storage for Mac/PC network.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by WildElf, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. WildElf macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    I've got a PC desktop and a MacBook Pro for myself and my fiancee.

    I want a back up system and central storage option so that all three computers can access the storage, and that the Macs can use Time Machine on.

    At first I was looking at the Time Capsule 1TB, but the price for value, and married router + HDD have me looking at similar options instead.

    So, here's what I have my selections narrowed down to:
    • WD My Book World
    • Synology DS207+
    • Lacie 2TB 2Big

    The My Book is very cheap, although I know some of them have issues with Macs. Synology is a little more than I was hoping to pay, but it has tons of space, plus works as a media server for a variety of things, including iTunes and can link into the Xbox 360. The Lacie has as much storage as the Synology, but a little cheaper, and supposedly more Mac friendly.

    My ideal situation is this:
    • Can mount as an external drive on Macs over wireless.
    • Compatible with Time Machine over wireless.
    • Has firewire (or at the very least USB) options to plug into the Macs for direct access and an alternate boot drive in case of emergencies.
    • Media server or remote media access capability (more than just opening the files remotely to access them).
    • Expandable - either by installing or swapping out HDDs or through USB/Firewire connections.
    • Printer networking capability (specifically a Canon MP610)

    My most wanted items are in order:
    • Compatible with Time Machine
    • Can mount as an external drive on Macs over wireless.

    And its the latter two that it's hardest to find information about. So, does anyone know more about these options? Are there other options I'm overlooking? I made a big list and narrowed it down to these three, but it could be I missed some key feature. I've already looked into Drobo (it was a popular mention in another thread) and I'm not interested.

    I'm mainly looking for a storage option that doesn't require having a specific computer turned on for (I've been using my PC as a storage option for the Macs - with mixed results as sometimes the Macs don't see the PC)
  2. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Have you down a search of the forums. There are lots of questions and answers to your questions.
  3. WildElf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    I didn't find any. Do you have any search terms? I tried "network storage" which got so many hits as to be unhelpful - and then using some of the brands I was looking at got me threads of people looking for iTunes servers or building their own).

    There's a lot of talk about external drives, or specific setups and time machine, but not about time machine or NAS options that are Mac friendly in general. Although if you have seen one specifically, I wouldn't turn down a link.
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I know it isn't on your list, but I'm using a Buffalo Linkstation Pro Duo with two PC's and two Macs. 2 Tb (you can select RAID 0 or RAID 1 if you like), and all four computers share the same iTunes library from it. I also have it set up for remote access via login/password. My printers are ethernet, so I haven't tried it as a printer server.

    Alas, no Firewire support to speak of, though.
  5. kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    I know this doesn't answer your question but in case someone is curious about other kinds of setups:

    I have an HP Mediasmart Server that uses Windows Home Server (gasp!). It connects my Dell laptop and an iMac. It's much like a network-attached Drobo (where the hard drives function as one huge volume) and a drive failure is a matter of just replacing it without any data loss. The mac sees the volume perfectly fine over the network. It doesn't use FAT32 nor NTFS (it's Microsoft's other server format of which I don't recall right now). It works fine as a huge Time Machine drive and it functions as a web-accessible file server because Microsoft provides a free dynamic domain.

    Anyway, it's an odd match of HP, Apple and Microsoft but it works great!
  6. Slovak macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2008
    Sounds like you're looking for FreeNAS. I've been using it as external network backup, though my MBP is on the FedEx truck so I can't speak to its use with TM. I've read several threads of its successful use though.

    Another option may be the D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router. I just looked at it in the store today. It has USB port for connection of printers/storage over network. I am curious to find out whether it would support a USB hub.
  7. WildElf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Thanks for the info. I actually had a Bufflo on my longer list, but the price was almost as much as some of the 2TB solutions on my list. This one is much more within the ballpark, and I've heard good stuff about Buffalo in general. Have you tried Time Machine with it?

    Nice, I hadn't even seen any of these pop up in my research. The initial buy in is pretty high, but it's nicely expandable. It might be a little steep for me, but it's definitely an appealing choice (even with Windows Server ;) )

    Oh man, great point, I completely forgot about Routers with USBs. That's also definitely an option. I'm a bit wary of D-link though. I have a d-link router right now. The interface is buggy (it keeps reseting the time back to April 2002) and the wireless service is spotty. Its one of the reasons I'm also considering router+USB (or Firewire if those exist) solutions. But going from D-link to D-link defeats the purpose of abandoning my d-link ;). Granted, my current one was like $30 and is 802.11g, not n, both of which could be factors (there's anywhere from 3-12 wireless networks visible from my apartment).

    FreeNAS is something to consider, but it sounds like I'd have to build a system for it. The prices I've seen tend to be about the same, so I'm not sure that's the route I want to go, at least not right now, having just replaced the guts of my PC. But the thought does have me looking to price shuttles to use as a NAS more seriously.

    I'm still looking for info on my favored systems, but all this stuff has been great so far. Thanks all!
  8. Slovak macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2008
    Please keep us updated of other options you may find. The D-Link one was the only one I found so far and would like to consider other options of 802.11 n routers.

    I had an old Pentium 3 with 256MB of RAM laying around the house and it works like a charm for the purpose.
  9. WildElf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Still doing the research. Hoping Tomorrow comes back to chime in on the Buffalo and Time Machine.

    I started focusing my research. Found a lot of info on Synology's forums, but it doesn't look good. I got linked to a discussion here, but the more detailed report was on the Apple support forums.. It looks like it won't work out of the box. Getting it too work involved a complex work around, a measure of steps I don't really want on a backup solution.

    I still need to look into LaCie (although LaCie's site dircetly claims Time Machine compatibility), but it's starting to look more and more like a great solution would be to get a USB capable router and plug external drives into it.

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