I want Network Attached Storage that supports Firewire (IEEE 1394) for additional expansion. I’ve come to the realization that I could really use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device these days. Since the Windows XP desktop is mostly dead, we’re using the iBook all the time which means the 40GB drive in the iBook just isn’t cutting it. If I had a NAS device I could plug it into my home LAN and access it from the iBook via WiFi. My external 250GB Firewire/USB drive is handy but it’s just not as portable as the iBook. I’m stuck with the iBook and external drive in a static location if I need anything on the external drive. With a NAS device I could be free! ;) Yeah, I know, 802.11g is only 54Mbps and it would suck to pull lots of stuff off of a NAS device over wireless but for most of the stuff I’m doing it would be fine.
Now, as to why I’d like Firewire on the NAS device. Firewire allows daisy chaining of devices. A NAS device could provide one Firewire port and then you suddenly have the ability to add many more Firewire external drives to that NAS device. Currently I’ve only been able to find NAS devices that provide USB2.0 connections. Yes, most offer more than one USB 2.0 connector but you can’t daisy chain using USB.
The other problem I discovered is that almost every vendor out there offering a home NAS device has to include a hard drive (or drives). For example, I really like the Buffalo Technology TeraStation Home Server NAS but I don’t need a 1TB or 2 TB device. I’d love to be able to just buy the TeraServer box and add drives as I require. Of course, you don’t get the full set of features (like RAID 5) until you have 4 matching drives in the TeraServer, but heck, I’d still like it. The only other thing that would make the TeraServer better is adding a Firewire 800 or Firewire 400 port. Yes it has 4 USB 2.0 ports but going back to my initial complaint, that’s only 4 additional devices that can be connected, and only at USB 2.0 rates. Since the TeraServer supports Gigabit Ethernet, it could easily handle having a Firewire 800 port and the performance of those additional external drives could be better.
Hmm, I wonder if I can just find a Firewire to Ethernet device that would provide the required interfaces so it would show up in OS X, Windows and Linux. I’m guessing the answer is no. Same as the answer to my search for Network Attached Storage that supports firewire.