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Christopher Spry

The Buffalo TeraStation

I have been using the Buffalo 'TeraStation' 1-GB network attached storage, since it became available in the UK in the middle of March 2005. It cost £587.65+VAT from BroadbandBuyer.co.uk. I have been using model HD-H1.0TGL/R5. It was supplied with a 'TeraNavigator' CD, which I put into a computer on the same network. I clicked on setup, and then on 'start' which showed the four phases in initialising the TeraStation. I connected the power and the network cable to the TeraStation. I turned the power on at the back of the TeraStation, and pressed the power-on button at the front. The lights on the TeraStation came on and these cycled through the positions for the four 250-GB hard disks. Two green lights at the top and two green light to the bottom of the display at the front were then lit, showing that all four discs were connected and working. The software automatically set the IP address using a DHCP server, which was already setup on the network. Next, a the window enabled me to add the administration password. I then chose to install RAID5. It said. "Confirmation. After an easy setup ends the RAID check is executed for about four-five hours..". When this had completed, I used a browser to connect to the TeraStation. It said that AppleTalk was enabled, and that the file system was XFS, which is a reliable filesystem for storing more than 2-GB. I suspect that the TeraStation was using Linux version 2.4.20. The total capacity of the Raid five system was now 748-GB. As I am using gigabyte ethernet, I set the ethernet frame size from the default to 4,100 bytes (Jumbo frame). This increased the data transfer rate from a networked PC to the TeraStation from 4.5 MB per second to 8.4 MB per second. When I change the ethernet frame size to 7,418, this increased the data transfer rate to 8.9 MB per second, so I left the setting at this highest rate.

The TeraStation is almost silent. I have been using it in my quiet office successfully for a month. It is simple to shut down, by pressing the button at the front of the TeraStation, when it closes itself automatically over about 25 seconds. Pressing this button starts it up again in about the same time and no further configuration is needed.

The TeraStation is particularly useful for creating backups. For this I use Acronis 'True Image 8.0 Corporate Workstation'. After making an initial full backup of the PCs on the network, I have set 'True Image' to create, each evening, incremental backups from each of the PCs in turn, one per hour. Others have reported how useful this approach is. The TeraStation is also an ideal networked resource for storing software to be installed on other computers on the network.

The TeraStation is small enough to be portable, and I have used it at several locations in this way.

Several companies have produced network storage systems but none that I have come across provide this degree of user-friendliness, lack of noise, and ease-of-use. It will changed the way that general users back up computers and files. RAID5 has definitely reached the general user.

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