NAS or Server... What's the diff.. which is best?

I'm wondering which to do if the express purpose is to access music and/or Movies anywhere in the home… and naturally back up personal files.

NOTE Security too is very important.

Depending on which is your recommendation…. Mind suggesting one?

The current allotment of personal confusers is… Two desktop PC’s, and one Laptop, but 3 different OS. XP, XP Pro, and the laptop will be Vista. Only the laptop will be Wy Fy… all else is Ethernet cabled… via a D-Link Wireless router

Only one USB 500 GB external drive is in place… I’ve two drives in the Pro unit.totaling 330GB…. About 180 or so on the XP unit, and probably not much space at all on the notebook.

I’m thinking a Tera bit minimum. With the ability to expand.
As seen on NBC: Scott Steele Technology

You might consider getting something similar to a Linksys NAS200. I think this would fill most of your requirements and it costs about $120 bucks not included bulk drives. This is a pretty cool system because it allows you to buy the bulk drives and install them yourself. Plus as drives get cheaper and bigger, you can upgrade relatively inexpensively. Otherwise I would go with a external terabyte station from WD or Buffalo.
Personally, to ensure that any pc or device can access the data on the network without the need for a pc to be on, I would use a NAS connected to the wireless router. I have used a few and my favorite is Infrant ReadyNas NV. This NAS has 4 slots for drives so you could easily expand. Putting your NAS on the router also allows you to quickly add additional drives in the future.
Thanks folks...

I'm inclined to go with a NAS unit personally. On this site:

Several are listed with read and write speeds in varying raid modes.

the Netgear NV+ is a bit more expense than I'd care to bite off right now. But I'm thinking amongst these listed one of these NAS units should fit well for me... I think.

The Iomega looks pretty tasty too, and so does the Seagate, due to the eSATA connectivity.

Support and cost will likely swing the vote.
I'm an audiophile and a real computer dealer with full a scale service dept for a large account base and have used the Infrant ReadyNAS, now owned by Netgear, running Linux at the NAS level and Slimserver, (now called SqeezeCenter byLogitech), with 4x250gb at my home and have one installed at a friends home. They are very quiet, reliable and have had absolutely no tech issues. I can not speak of the speed for video apps, but mine had not trouble sending 3 different signals to 2 Wifi, and 1 wired player at the same time using flac files. I also had no issues with my photo collection being stored and retrieved....( 12-30mb pics ). I have since given the ReadyNAS away to an employee and upgraded to an older HP Proliant Server running Win Server and supporting a pack of 300gb 10k drives in a raid system. My motivation for the change in configuration was the speed of indexing music and how long the application took to refresh, and searches for music. I believe this had to do with the Linux OS and SqeezeCenter running at the NAS level and not the Server or PC level. The difference was night and day, and worth the expense for my level of patience. The music of course didn't sound any different nor was the performance any better once a file was chosen. I would just get frustrated waiting for a new page to load when browsing. Downside is the noise a server makes..(mine in a remote part of my house thus not an issue), and the added overhead of Win Server and needing the tech ability to maintain it....obviously not a plug and play solution.

The entire project was very worth while for the reason that now my children have access to, and are influenced by my music collection and not reliant on their peers for new music...Example my 10yr old daughter listens to as much 70's rock as she does whatever that thumpy crap is she listens to the other 1/2 of the time.

Don’t know if this helps you any…but is my story to finding a solution that worked for my household.

Thanks much... I'm pretty sure a server isn't necessary for me... although I do like the notion of having a printer being used from any PC... past that... no.

The backup software and raid arrays are more important for sure.

...and noise is a non issue for me too. Price continues to be an obstacle however.
I make a list of priorities and then act on them. Having heard yours, I like the direction you are heading.The Netgear ReadyNAS is a solid product. It hits your hot buttons...good dumbyproof array preformance and has great capability for easy back up routines. array increases as you add drives because they hit all drives at the same time and while writting or reading; thus it's best to get the 4x250gb box. The ReadyNAS is packaged with decent backup utilities and comes with a USB port. What my guys set up at my freinds house...(because he lost some of his family digi photos once) the ReadyNAS and then we hung an external WD Hardrive and it copies all data to the external everynight. Now if you really want extra security for your data...(in case of home fire ect.) two cheap external hard drives and keep one at the office, then rotate them every week or two.
Good luck with your project and happy listening.


Thanks, I'm sorry I've taken so long to get back here and update things. i hate it when folks just abandon a thread after asking for help and recieving some... it just ain't good manners.

I've gotten so immersed into deciphering a bunch of new accessibility gear of late, including the new Laptop with Vista SP1 on it… I’m swamped… and the painter is coming Tuesday to paint the nearly all redone living/HT room.

I’m leaning towards a lesser expensive NAS than the Netgear unit. The Iomega 2TB unit looks attractive. But I’d like to get it just now without all the drives it supports, and fill it’s bays later as I go along and actually need the space… if they even offer that configuration, that is.
blindjim, just wanted to share little bit of story regarding storage for your digital music. I went with a more consumer (versus enterprise) based NAS drive. I used this to store my over 30K song library. To cut a long sad story short, this drive died after less than 1 year. Luckily I had performed a manual backup to another drive I had. Just out of curiosity, I opened up the dead drive and found a cheap hard drive in there. I learned my lesson and now will only get enterprise type NAS devices and hard drives. I make sure the NAS has good backup and recovery software. By the way, I used to work for a hard drive maker so I know first hand that there is a big difference between what is sold to consumers and businesses. The difference in MTBF is amazing. Spending a little more now is worth it if it avoids the headache that ensues in the event of a failure. Anyway, just my two cents.

Certainly that is appreciated. Thanks.

Budget and inexperience with some of my upcoming plans precludes me diving into a commercial unit. The 1TB Iomega gigabit unit with four 250 gig HDs and a RAID array with mirroring seems the logical choice now.... for me.... under $400.00.... an optional $150 prior to the expiration of the initial years warranty buys 2 more years and adds phone support.

Sure, support is an afterthought or worthless if the unit flat out dies... but it's twice the price for the same 'small business' near server unit... 150D with the same space. I had thought to add the latter or another likewise unit next year, once I'm vested into which and what I will do... add movies, and/or multimedia functions, etc.

I'll bare in mind your exp.