Buffalo LinkStation Pro network shared storage device

Oh no, not another external hard drive, we hear you cry in despair.

But you are dead wrong, this is not just another external hard drive, this is the next generation of Network Attached Storage.

In fact, Buffalo insist on referring to it as "Network Shared Storage" but we refuse to play the invent another acronym game when the existing one does just fine, thank you very much.

They do have a point though, putting the emphasis on sharing because that’s what the LinkStation Pro NAS device lets you do, and do with a certain amount of flair. Think of the ability to instantly store, acess, backup and share data be that in the form of documents, presentations, digital photographs, audio, video or whatever.

Think of the ability to attach additional external USB hard drives courtesy of the two USB2 ports, expanding your networked storage capacity or perhaps to be used as a secondary backup target for peace of mind.

Think the ability to do all this quickly thanks to the 400MHz on-board processor and a top data transfer speed of 35MB/sec, the quickest single drive NAS appliance available apparently. Think all of that, and you are getting into the right frame of mind.

Buffalo have cleverly taken their basic Gigabit Linkstation product line and dropped them into a new chassis and then added the firmware from it’s high end TeraStation Pro appliance. The single SATA hard drive is available up to 750GB in capacity, although it’s the entry level 250GB drive on review here.

What they all share in common is that great turn of speed, but without a noise overhead. Move more than a few cm away from the LinkStation Pro and you just won’t hear anything other than a few whirrs as it seeks data. By building the power supply into the chassis, Buffalo have managed to achieve a very neat and compact design measuring just 60 x 160 x 216mm but weighing in at a fairly hefty 1.6kg.

On the downside, unlike many NAS appliances the LinkStation Pro cannot function as a print server and the USB ports do not support printers. That said, you do get a FTP server to access your files from the Internet.

Initial setup is easy thanks to it not requiring any drivers, but advanced configuration is another matter. The web based console, rather than a wizard approach, makes Active Directory integration harder than it could be.

Odd, but strangely welcome, options such as the ability to change the default brightness of the front-panel LED display can also be found. As can an ability to enable email alerts for such things as a fan or disk failure.

You also get an auto-MDIX10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit Ethernet Port with100m wired transmission distance and compatibility with Windows XP, 2000, Me, 98SE and MacOS X 10.3 or higher. The supplied Buffalo Easy Backup software and Memeo’s AutoBackup application (a single license version is included free) provide pretty much all your require on the backup utility front. AutoBackup is especially nifty, with backup encryption for additional security.

Verdict

A lot of storage device for your money, feature packed, small and quiet this makes an ideal alternative to the bulky and expensive TeraStation units for home users and small businesses looking for network attached storage to protect and share their data.


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