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 Post subject: A Couple of Questions
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:59 am
Posts: 2
Hello, I've been in the market for a NAS and have a few questions, if anyone is willing to answer some. I apologize if a different board would have been better suited for this.

After having issues with backing things up from other devices to my desktop to an external hard drive, I vowed to use a more reliable and integrated system. I have decided to use RAID 1 or RAID 10. I realize it is possible to use a software RAID on my desktop computer but I would really like to have an independent enclosure for my drives.

The thing is, I wanted the solution to be as close to internal hard drives as possible (minimal intrusion) because my desktop computer will no longer contain hard drives for storage but just an SSD for an OS and programs. Can I get a NAS that is read as a network storage device and functions just as internal hard drives to clients? Would I just need to connect it with USB to my desktop but also have it connected to my router for other devices? I'm so iffy on this because many seem to be marketed as "cloud" systems with odd operating systems that make it function like a media server, while I really just want a way to store files with as much freedom as possible. I understand they generally come with integrated operating systems, but would I need to deal with a GUI just to load a video onto my desktop? I must sound very ignorant, but I really have no idea what to expect with these, even with explanations and such.

In short, can I buy a NAS with 4+ bays that can function as if it were just a few drives on a home network, but still be able to access it with protocols like SSH/FTP/whatever I can get to using a web browser? I just want a storage and backup solution for a myriad of devices that is also substitute for local desktop storage. Preferably with a nice filesystem like XFS/ZFS and free operating system I can connect to and run scripts or configurations or whatever.

Also:
I would be able to assign it a static IP and name through my router, right?
Can I give it considerable security, even in a trusted home network? Forced encrypted communications etc.
Would it be feasible/possible to, say, have a virtual machine/console emulator on the NAS, do all computation on the client, and write only to the NAS?
Have encrypted containers of sizes larger than 100 GB and decrypt them on the NAS, rather than sending the file to the client?

Excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject, I'm new to this and poor at networking. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:45 am
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Quote:
Can I get a NAS that is read as a network storage device and functions just as internal hard drives to clients?
That is hard to say. Depends how you define 'just as an internal drive'. Normally a NAS functions as a Samba server, which means the data shows up in a share. If that is 'like an internal drive', then yes.
If you want a level deeper, then you should need a NAS which supports iSCSI. It means that a partititon (or a virtual partition) is seen on the client as a SCSI disk. The client should support iSCSI also, of course. A problem is that only one client can use the partition at a time (unless you use a special filesystem which supports more than one host simultaneously. The client has to support that, as the NAS only offers a 'disk'.
An iSCSI device will in most cases have a higher latency than a directly connected disk.

Quote:
Would I just need to connect it with USB to my desktop but also have it connected to my router for other devices?
In case of Samba shares it's not possible to have a disk mounted via USB and simultaneously shared via Samba. (Unless the USB host shares it).

Quote:
I understand they generally come with integrated operating systems
They always come with an integrated OS. It's not just a disk which coincidentally has a network connector instead of a sata/usb/scsi/... connector, it's a server.

Quote:
I would be able to assign it a static IP and name through my router, right?
If your router supports it.
Quote:
Can I give it considerable security, even in a trusted home network? Forced encrypted communications etc.
AFAIK Samba nor iSCSI support encryption on the data streams, so no, not out of the box.
Quote:
Would it be feasible/possible to, say, have a virtual machine/console emulator on the NAS, do all computation on the client, and write only to the NAS?
I don't know what you mean.
Quote:
Have encrypted containers of sizes larger than 100 GB and decrypt them on the NAS, rather than sending the file to the client?
If you mount an encrypted container on a client, the file is not send to the client, but the client just reads that parts it needs.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:59 am
Posts: 2
I see, thank you for the info. I didn't know much about Samba and haven't even heard about iSCSI before.

Quote:
...so no, not out of the box.

So I'd be looking for another OS/protocol/something, then?
Quote:
I don't know what you mean.

I guess I meant to ask if I could write everything directly back on the NAS; I think I'm just confused on how the protocols work because I'm only used to FTP where I would download copies of the file rather than just streaming or making volatile copies on RAM or something.

Thanks again, all I need to do now is find a NAS that suits my needs, and possibly other software I can use.


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