Underneath my TV is a collection of boxes, each with a different purpose in life and it was this that got me thinking – why is there not a combined all-in-one device that does all of these functions and more? What devices then are under there? The first is the cable tuner but this can be swapped out for a Freeview HD recorder for example. Freeview by the way is the UK Free to air channels and there is 50 TV channels and 24 radio stations. Next up is my DVD player, this is not used as much these days but always handy to have. Last on my list is my media player, this can handle movie’s streamed from my NAS box and such. My Goal device would be all of these combined into one box that connects to the network – but, do this thing exist?
VMWare produce various pieces of software that allows you to run a virtual machine and in the case of VMWare Workstation for example, this allows you to run Windows inside a Linux Box or the other way around. IN effect then it allows many different operating systems to run without you have to reformat your machine every time. At the other end of the scale is VMWare vSphere Hypervisor ESXi – this is a bare metal (i.e. wipes your hard drive) installation and allows many virtual machines to run at the same time on a headerless (no monitor) box – often servers. I thought I would take an existing desktop machine and see how this ran – let is begin my journey into ESXi.
While I already have a gigabit network running, there is not enough ports to allow all the computers to connect via gigabit which means some are locked to 100mbit and the rest are on wireless (a mixture of Wireless N and Wireless G speeds). Converting your network to gigabit gives you a boost in speed and the cost is very low these days as you will see. A Quick recap on what I already have – I am on 50mbit / 5mbit Cable Internet via Virgin Media which is connected to a D-Link 615 Router (Supplied by Virgin media as part of the install) which features Wireless N Speed but only 4 ports at 100mbit. I have a 5 Port Netgear gigabit Switch which is a bit dodgy on the 5th port – this means I can only have 4 computers (or NAS Boxes) max that is on Gigabit.
I recently bought the Synology DS210J NAS Box plus a couple of Seagate Barracuda ST32000542AS 2TB 3.5″ SATA II Hard Drive, this was to give me a shared network storage space of 4TB (well under 4TB once formatted) and be able to store all of my data requirements for now and in the future. I agree that 4TB will be used up and as this is only a 2Bay device – no way to expand internally but we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.
I have been looking into NAS and this one device I have seen which interests me. The website is HERE and we shall go through what it is, what it does and why you might want one (or something similar). First of all let us explain that NAS is Network attached Storage and this allows a box dedicated to sharing space across the network so that any computer can get at the information stored. Some boxes just share the drives but some come with a whole range of extras such as Web Server, Torrent client and iTunes Server.