Network Attached Storage or NAS is now a big thing. And it's constantly getting cheaper. This year in 2011, you can buy them much cheaper than you could last year. As the price of hard disk drives keeps dropping, this will become a trend. Most NAS systems are Unix based, that means that they run a lite version of a Linux operating system and have very basic functionality. If you have a cheap to run machine lying around, you could transform it into a cheap to run Network Attached Storage system.
Anyway, on with the review of the Seagate GoFlex Home.
Seagate are a hard drive manufacturer. So it's no surprise that they have jumped on to the consumer NAS market bandwagon. They have been known for a lot of particularly important research and being the first to build important projects such as the first company to produce 7,200 RPM hard drives.
Seagate also own Maxtor and Samsung's hard drive division, making it one of the biggest manufacturers of hard disk drives to exist.
These devices come with hard drives of capacities of 1TB or 2TB. They also come with a simple docking device that connects directly to the drive through a SATA (Serial Advanced Technological Attachment) and SATA power connector. You can use any drive with the device, but the one provided includes an enclosure which makes it ideal for use with the drive bay.
The GoFlex Home runs on a Linux distribution. It uses a piece of software called Seagate Dashboard to interface with the device. In all fairness, the software requires a bit of technical knowledge to use, but it can be bypassed after the device is setup by accessing it as a normal network computer over the network. We use my GoFlex the second way as I am the administrator of the device, whilst everyone else just uses it for storing backups of important filesBacking upI never recommend storing important files on a network attached storage device unless you have a backup elsewhere. You can however feel at ease with a network attached storage device with RAID technology in mirror mode.. The device allows multiple users to access the device, and there is a shared public folder that allows all user to access. I store music, photos and videos in this bit, as well as projects I work on with my brother.
The device supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) therefore you can connect modern televisions to the device using their own DLNA capabilities. This allows you to view the photos, music and videos stored in the public section of the device.
On top of that, the GoFlex Home can be accessed online through a Seagate portal. This means not only can you view the files and stored in a web browser and download them to the local computer, but you can also use a smartphone to access the files such as a music and play them on the device.
As mentioned before, the software that is bundled with the device is really complicated to use. As well as that, if like me you need to send your device away for a warranty repair, you can be sure to know that you will be unable to call your device by the same name, making access to the device completely different to the previous one, and it does take a while having to set it all up with a new device.
The device itself
The device itself as mentioned earlier consists of a hard drive and dock. Whilst it has not got a particularly powerful set of features in terms of connectivity or anything else, especially compared with it's competition, it is worthy of being spoken about. On the rear of the docking device are three connectors. The connectors include Gigabit Ethernet in the form of the RJ45 connector, a power jack, and a USB 2.0 port. These connectors are adequate but some competition provide more. The USB 2.0 port is particularly useful in that it allows you to attach more storage to the back of the device so that you can expand the device's storage. You can also use the USB 2.0 on the back to use the device as a print server by simply connecting a USB printer to the back. This is particularly useful feature for those who do not have a networkable printer.
The drive and device itself make a good pairing, but it does take time to startup from idle. This can sometimes be rather costly if you are really in demand of something. On top of that, transfer speeds between the device and a computer system are reasonably slow. If this does not bother you (it doesn't bother myself, as I'm not storing things that are mission critical on my device or using it to host to others) then the GoFlex Home should suffice.
Whilst the Seagate GoFlex Home is mentioned in this article to be slow, difficult to manage and reasonably insufficient in terms of features, the device itself is a rather good option for home users who want a stylish looking device that does the job. It provides an incredibly useful device in terms of being able to stream to DLNA devices as well as being accessible anywhere in the world, but at a cost - speed. If you, like me, can live with this then this device is a good option for entering the market. However, you may want to consider other devices such as HP LX195 MediaSmart Home Server which has an Intel Atom processor ensuring a faster device and four USB ports.
- Cheap to run
- Lightweight Linux distro does not occupy much space on the disk
- High capacities
- USB port for use as expansion or a print server
- Cheap compared with other NASes
- Slow access speeds
- No RAID offerings