Thursday, November 07, 2013

My Personal Cloud

Nick sounded approachable the first time I spoke with him about Synology. Most IT dealers I spoke to were blur about this brand of NAS (network attached storage) which has a far better consumer rating than the Buffalo brand. By consumer I mean home users. I don't know about business users who require a bigger and faster storage. The key concern is reliability which Synology scored good points. Nick is in network solution so knows what I want, and I clearly want the DS-213j model which has 2 bays for the hard disks. After much Internet research and comparison this model came up very well reviewed. Google it in Amazon to read about it. I decided to go along with Nick although his offer is pricier than another source. I guess personal touch and having a real physical store help boost customer confidence. In spite of the hype about its reliability you can never be sure that you won't need technical or warranty support one day.

The DS-213j was set up on Oct 21 to become my personal cloud. It has 2x1Tb WD red caviar HDD set on RAID 1 array where an exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data are stored on both disks. This is useful when read performance or reliability is more important than data storage capacity. In the event of failure in one disk, the data is still intact on the second. RAID 1 is a very popular and common configuration in network storage.

For the DS-213j or DiskStation to operate optimally data transfer speed at 1000Mbps or gigabit is recommended and using cat 5e or cat 6 Ethernet cable required. My existing Dlink DSL-2640B modem router cannot provide this output as it has only 10/100Mbps LAN ports. Its wireless speed is also slow at 54Mbps. In searching for a better modem router I found and bought the TPLink TD-W8970 300Mbps wireless N gigabit ADSL2+ modem router that fits the requirement. The Dlink retired to become a LAN switch for the PC and printer for wired network access and printing.

I took my cloud project a little further so it become an integrated digital library cum entertainment centre. To protect it from power failure and surges I installed the Prolink PRO850VU UPS with AVR to stabilize input power supply and provide emergency power backup in the event of power failure. The wiring layout is tidied up to make it appear neater. The next steps to complete this love project are to attach my USB hard disk containing movies to the DiskStation to enable watching them on all my portable devices including smartphone on my home wifi network. And finally to instal a Foscam surveillance camera for added security.

I'm still in the learning curve and through this month long period I picked up useful technical knowledge that makes me appreciate this project even more. It cost me a little over RM2000 or about USD650 for all the equipment. I have my son-in-law who is very knowledgeable in setting up IT equipment to thank for configuring the modem routers and switch to enhance privacy and security, and my son for technical advice and feedbacks. I'm starting to enjoy years of accumulated music, photos and home videos of my grandchildren and our family outings and holidays beside having a place for my data accessible 24/7 anywhere, anytime. Who says retirement is boring?

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