by Mike Shea on 5 July 2006
I've been spending a lot of time looking into backup and archival stuff the past couple of days. I noticed that Mark Pilgrim switched off his Mac and bought a Lenovo ThinkPad T60p Laptop (so did Cory Doctorow) and a Infrant ReadyNAS X6 RAID drive. The NAS in particular really got my attention and hours of surfing later I found out how cool this thing really is. For about $1000 from ExcaliburPC one can buy the ReadyNAS X6 with four 300 GB Seagate drives. In RAID 5, the total usable storage is about 900GB, not quite a terabyte but still a lot. This could hold about 180 DVDs in their raw format.
So what would one do with all of this storage? Well, you can use it as your single source backup drive for all of your PCs. You can FTP to it from out in the wastelands of the internet and FTP up your pictures from London directly. You can, from what I understand, even serve files as a webserver.
Another cool idea is to run it as a media server. One can buy a $80ish Wireless Media Server (Note, I haven't done any research on any of the multimedia streamers), hook it up to your home theater, and watch 180 DVDs directly from the drive streamed to your HDTV.
Of course, this means burning 180 DVDs which isn't exactly easy. I used Magic DVD Ripper and it took about 30 minutes per disc to do about 50 discs. Of course, I lost about half of these when I accidentally formatted a drive. In the end, I probably don't watch enough DVDs to justify this purchase and I have no other data that comes remotely close to 900 GB.
Still, for a nice big network attached RAID array to store critical data at home and a high-powered multimedia streamer, this setup is pretty cool. The thousand dollar price tag is high, though.
Mark Pilgrim also had one of the best articles on data longevity that I've read in a long time.