Believe it or not this is my first NAS device. I’ve used many different kinds for work but never really bothered buying one for myself. My previous storage methods were with several USB external hard drives and a server with multiple drives. They all have been working fine and luckily they haven’t failed on me. The issue with my current setup is the amount of space they take up and the amount of power it consumes.
I needed an efficient and effective way of consolidating my storage. With over 800 GB of music, movies, pictures, and files the D-Link DNS-323 fits the bill. The DNS-323 is a 3 year old model and its one of the more popular NAS solutions available. This device is a 2-bay enclosure and the drives are sold separately. The DNS-323 supports RAID 1, 0, and JBOD. It can also be set up as an ftp server so you can access your files remotely.
The device can be used with one drive, but using two drives is best if you want to take advantage of RAID. When paired with Western Digital Green drives it will keep your NAS cool, quiet, and power consumption to a minimum.
What is RAID? It stands for redundant array of independent disks. The DNS-323 supports two types of RAID. RAID 0 is referred to stripping. It means data is written to both drives. Half of the data goes to one and the other half goes to the other drive. When data is being accessed both drives can send each half of the data so it provides better read performance compared to using just a single drive. The draw back of RAID 0 is that if one drive fails all your data is hosed.
RAID 1 is referred to mirroring. Data is written to both drives since the drive” mirror” each other. In the case with the DNS-323 RAID 1 provides the same read performance as RAID 0, but at the cost of reducing the storage capacity by half. This setup is best (and recommended) if you require data protection. Even if one drive fails you can still access your data. When you replace the failed drive the NAS can rebuilt the new drive automatically to ensure your RAID 1 configuration.
JBOD stands for “just a bunch of disks.” Each manufactures have different meanings for it. JBOD can be referred to having separate independent drives that can be visible from the NAS or it can be represented as one volume where the storage is spanned across the two drives. As for the DNS-323 it uses the latter meaning. Data is written to the first drive until it is full then data will be written to the send drive. The difference between JBOD and RAID 0 is that JBOD read performance is not as fast, and if one drive fails in a JBOD setup only data on that drive is lost.
My current setup consist of 2 x 2TB WD Green drives with a RAID 1 configuration. My laptop has a mapped drive to the NAS with certain folders set for offline syncing. It works great and does what I need it to do. This device supports a gigabit connection and if you’re looking to transfer a large amount of files be sure you’re network supports it. Those looking for a NAS solution should check out this D-Link DNS-323. It’s inexpensive and easy to setup. It supports the large 2 TB drives that are available and it’s firmware has been updated frequently to add better stability and more features. Since the device is popular there are a ton of end-user support through official and unofficial forums.
Support 1000Mbps networks
Easy to use Admin interface
Small and quiet design
User and Groups creation and network access setup is archaic
RAID 0 & 1 vs JBOD read performace difference is minimal
Can’t be used as an external (USB) disk drive. (But there are available hacks to allow it)