Mirror Mirror on the ReadyNAS
I had some time to work on my NAS installation and configuration tonight. The boxes themselves came well protected by Infrant. The contents of the box are the NAS unit itself, some quickstart directions, a power cable, a blue Ethernet cable, some extra drive mounting screws, and an installation CD.
I opened up the fully loaded ReadyNAS, pulled out two of the four 250G Seagate drives and stuck them in the empty chassis and then installed the software. I plugged in the NAS into my router and then through the software running over the network, I performed a factory reset which wipes the drives and set up the box with the configuration you desire.
The ReadyNAS supports true hot swapping of failed drives so you don't need to turn the unit off to replace a failed drive. The unit is designed to easily replace a drive by simply popping open the front panel grill, depressing the round button on the bottom front of the drive which causes the gray lever to pop up. You simple pull on the lever and the drive slides out. Unscrew the drive mounts, screw down the new drive, slide it back until the gray lever clicks down and you're back in business. The unit also acts as print server for USB connected printers and has a configurable front panel accessible button that you can link to a software job (like backing up to a USB mounted drive).
The wiping and reinstalling to factory defaults takes from 1-6 hours depending on your number drives and their capacity but I was happy to see that their RAIDar software did autodetect the NAS unit plugged into my network. Compared to the Shuttle Unit I built for the kids, the drive unit is narrower, shorter, but about the same height. I did notice the fan noise but it's not as loud as my previous computer which was horrendously loud. That said though, I think I'll be happy to get the unit upstairs and out of the family room so that the fan noise isn't a constant reminder of my computer geekness.
Once this unit is up and going I'll have 250G of usable, mirrored, and network accessible storage for both computers in a unit that is 'hot' exapandable up to 2 Terabytes (1.5T usable) in a configuration that lets me lose a drive without losing data. I might even feel comfortable having Rich (the king of bad computer mojo) over to look at my computer...eyes only though...no touching!