back to article Akasa Integral P2 LAN

Network attached storage – or NAS as it’s widely known – isn’t the easiest thing to set up, but it can be very useful, especially if you want to be able to share data between several computers in an easy and affordable manner. Enter NDAS - Network Direct Attached Storage – a much simpler way of getting shared storage onto your …

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Eh?

Not sure I follow....

There are many cheap NAS boxes out there which already have a USB port and an ethernet port. I have one which doesn't require any drivers at all, and will work on any platform..... you can even plug in another USB drive to expand capacity!

From the sounds of this review, this "new" technology is going backwards, not forwards.....

Not impressed.

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But what about the noise?

Great review, but what it doesn't tell us is the ambient noise the thing makes (exluding the hard disk obviously). If you want one of these sitting next to your router in your living room, you need it to be as quiet as possible. The last time I considered buying one them they all seemed to be quite noisey.

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Basic questions...

I worry that this review seems like sales blurb rather than a consideration of the options available.

I've been looking for something like this to use at home and there are various similar options (Buffalo, WD) - although most offer USB hosting rather than the opportunity to connect to a PC via USB. But isn't that more useful and appropriate? And also as another commenter said, key questions are how loud it is and whether it turns off the HD after a period of non-use to save power. Just reading amazon I came across much discussion of that. As for standards, the WD use of CIFS (which is linux supported) and DHCP etc. seems a good option - obviously this device is very proprietary from a non-major-name manufacturer and that is a concern if I'm trusting my data with it. The support for mirroring is mentioned, but I'd like to hear the results of trying it; I'd like this technology to set up a super-safe (from burgulars too) data vault in the loft or something. The paragraph on RAID seemed just... confused.

For me, a disappointing review.

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Re:

It's completley passiv, so there's no noise at all except that produced by the hard drive.

And NDAS is hardly backwards, as you need to network configuration knowledge, which makes it the ideal solution for those that don't like or know how to set these things up.

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Explanation

I think there is some information lacking re the differecence between NDAS and NAS.

NDAS makes the drive appear as if it is directly attached to the machine and transmits all the raw data it would transfer across a USB port across the Ethernet.

This has severe limitations which have not been pointed out here and I think haven't even been examined or encountered.

The primary limitation for a mixed platform workgroup is that only ONE person can write on the box at a time!. I think this is quite fundamental.

If it is on an all windows network simultaneous writes can be performed but I wonder what it's performance impact would be in this situation.

Page 14 from it's manual:

http://www.akasa.co.uk/pdf/installation_manuals/P2lan_manual_PC.pdf

States:

WARNING:

DO NOT perform disk operations (format, partition and chkdsk) when multiple PCs have the INTEGRAL

LAN drive mounted.

The INTEGRAL LAN device can be formatted, partitioned, chkdsk, aggregated or mirrored when ONLY

one PC is connected.

Multiple-OS sharing:

• The INTEGRAL LAN can be shared by a mixed

of ME/2000/XP and Mac computers

• Multiple computer can have READ ONLY access

simultaneously

• WRITE ACCESS is assigned to one computer at a

time and is passed from one computer to another

Multiple-Write sharing:

• Windows XP/2000 only network environment

• Multiple computer running XP or 2000 can

have READ and WRITE access simultaneously

It does have some interesting capabilities because of this though. It could be used on an exchange server to do certain maintenance tasks that demand a locally attached drive (this would be the only way to do it over the network). Tasks such as Offline defragmentation.

Also what appears to be flexibility of RAID and that it supports native file formats is probably a result of one thing - that it is directly controlled by the host (hence the D in NDAS). It doesn't actually support or use any file system per se - it doesn't care as it doesn't manipulate it. All the circuitry in this box is doing is just transmitting the signals that would normally come through USB through TCP/IP ethernet.

Another thing to consider if considering the RAID aspect - as it is effectively a direct drive setting up two of these devices on the network to form a RAID mirror or RAID 1 does it create twice the data over the network as the host itself is doing the RAID?

These are the things that I would expect to see tested. Can we have another review/test please??

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RE:

Right,

NDAS is more of a solution for home usage and I didn't experience any problems during the time I used it. It's not a solution for everyone and I don't think i suggested this. As I was only sent one enclosure and only had one spare hard drive I wasn't able to test the RAID ability or how well it works, but I would think it would increase the traffic on your network as it would have to copy the data to both drives at once.

It might be worth having a look at Ximeta's site for more info, although there isn't a whole lot there - http://www.ximeta.com/technology/ndas/technologie1_en.php

And of course there would be a performance degradation with multiple users using a single drive, this is always the case, try sharing a hard drive in your PC over a network and have multiple users accessing it...

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Too much money, not enough innovation

I've a similar NDAS box. Where this one cost 54 Pounds Sterling, mine cost 59 US dollars - which I'm given to understand is quite a bit less dosh.

No drivers are needed with the one I have (I won't mention the brand name because I don't want to come off as a shill), and while it does support a direct USB connection, that's not why I bought it. It's meant to be attached to the network, and it's being used pretty constantly by two humans and a half-dozen unattended servers, with simultaneous read and write operations.

Frankly, anyone who can't figure out how to hook up a network cable and then query the DHCP server to find out the device's IP address (or do a MAC address lookup) has no business trying to operate a network. If you didn't know how to use that funny guage with the "kph" markings on it in a car, you shouldn't be driving, either. These are very basic parts of operating a network.

Requiring proprietary drivers, as Akasa does, is in my opinion merely a Microsoft-like attempt to lock the user into continuing with the same brand in future; it's meant to discourage buying more versatile, less expensive (and probably more reliable) products from other makers.

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