View Full Version : NAS External Storage. Run programs from it? Recommendations?

01-17-2009, 05:55 PM
I'm running out of space on the 120gb drive on my laptop. I have a 500gb external drive which I turn on only to make periodic backups of important files.

So Im looking maybe to get a Network Attached Storage unit to use as another backup source, but also to serve files between the 4 computers in my house. I know I can install and run programs on my external drive, but I am wondering if anyone knows if you can do that on a NAS too? The reason is I'd like to install large programs (Matlab, Warcraft, Microsoft Virtual PC etc...) on the NAS and just be able to access it wirelessly on the laptop anywhere in the house.

Right now Im looking at the Dlink DNS-323. But one thing that I dont like is that it has to format newly installed drives to some proprietary file system (non NTFS, FAT32), so if the unit fails I cant just stick the inside drive on a computer and recover the files. But I do like that you can use the DNS-323 to run bittorrent.

EDIT: I also read people having problems putting files on this NAS which are not in english. This would be a huge turn off for me since 90%+ of my music is in chinese unicode. I am wondering if other NAS units will have this problem as well (due to them using a non windows file system).

Maybe someone has some good recommendations or better experience with this? I could probably build a dedicated machine and run FreeNAS, but I dont think I could get the low power consumption as with a dedicated unit.

01-17-2009, 08:00 PM
How much money do you want to spend? Is mirroring or other (RAID level) redundancy important? For automatic backups and sharing, I use an Apple Time Capsule (1TB) which also functions as a wireless router. If you need more space, you can plug in an external drive through the included USB connection which also allows you to back up the device.


For important stuff and video files (and the only way you'd likely be able to run apps from a device), I use a ReadyNAS NV+ 3TB. Different budget and solution, but a great device:


Works great for media streaming etc, and has a ton of built in features including automatic backup for most operating systems.

01-17-2009, 08:05 PM
If your NAS support iSCSI, you can attach it like a physical drive on your system.

Alternatively, you can't also map to it.

01-17-2009, 10:02 PM
The problem with running applications off of a NAS device is speed. Even with a gigabit network you'll experience painful load times on large programs, which I'm assuming are the ones you'll want to store on the NAS.

Usually NAS enclosures are quite expensive, with most entry level 4-bay units starting in the $300-$400 range and going up with RAID 5/6 support. Add the cost of drives into the equation and you're looking at a cool grand for a "starter kit" NAS setup.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying NAS is a bad way to go. It's just expensive if all you're really looking to do is expand your storage space. I run a 6TB RAID6 array at home, and would have trouble living without it now. If your goal is to centralize media, without running a dedicated server then NAS is an excellent option.

In your case, what may be better for you is simply upgrading your existing internal hard drive. We can do this quite cheaply. An upgrade to an internal 250GB hard drive would run $80 for the drive, plus ~1.5 hours of labour ($63.75) for the install and file copy. Or add $60 more for the 500GB drive instead.