The title for this post is an amalgamation of a birthday card I found one year about NASCAR, and what I have decided is England’s favorite superlative. If you have been a follower of this site for 6 months or so, you know that I had a major technology disaster in September with the loss of a hard drive and countless files that go along with it. After this experience, I vowed to never again only have data in one place in case of the inevitable computer storage failure. On a similar note, Chelsea and I also tried to digitize all our our media, in an effort to save space on the move here to England.
Well, that collection of external hard drives was only really intended to be a temporary solution until I could do some research on a better alternative. With the help of my friend Steve, I now have that solution: DLink DNS-343, network attached storage (NAS). Steve was looking to unload his NAS enclosure in favor of a more serious media server, so I made a decision as Chief Technology Officer here in the Brideau household and took it off his hands.
Because I had recently purchased two external 1TB hard drives, I figured I could just pop them out of their cases and plug them into the NAS – not quite true. I wanted to setup a RAID 1 array, which is where one disc mirrors the other, and in case one fails we never lose anything. Well, in order to do that I needed to reformat the discs, which was impossible with all of our precious data occupying them. Additionally, I learned that the best way to setup a RAID array is to have all the hard drives be the same (mixed reviews on this fact though). My solution? Take apart our most recently purchased Western Digital MyBook Essential 1.0 TB external drive, and then buy a drive to match the one I extracted. Below is my guide of how that worked:
First I needed to remove the cheap plastic casing surrounding the drive. There are four tabs that need to be depressed to make this happen. I found it was easiest to do with a cheap plastic insurance card. Not quite as thick as a Student ID or credit card, and more flexible.
On the other side you can see some of the plastic attached to the fancy lights, as well as an additional circuit board. The lights pull right off the circuit board with ease.
The next trick is to slide the drive away from yet another plastic enclosure. This one is held in place by four rubber pieces (below). Pushing the pieces a small distance, one at a time is an easy way to get the drive out.
Now you just have to remove one last board, by unscrewing the two obvious screws and carefully pulling it apart. This is the I/O part of the external drive, and you should be able to see the USB connector and AC adapter plugs. This is also what converts the information from USB to SATA, and just be careful to pull it away from the SATA pins on the back of the drive.
And there you have it. Your very own drive that can now be used anywhere. Some people like to put them in an external enclosure with dedicated fan, or because external drives are often priced cheaper than their internal siblings (no idea why) you can plug it into a desktop. I chose to plug it into my brand new NAS enclosure.
Of course in order to setup that RAID 1 array, I needed another drive. Check.
And its as easy as plugging them in to the NAS. No tools required. You may notice that I have two open bays down below, I’m saving my tooth fairy money to get two additional drives for those slots. Although I have two 1.0 TB drives in there, because I have them in a mirrored array, my computer only “sees” them as 1.0TB. And we already have at least 1TB of data to put on there, so why not increase the storage?
Well here she is. My newest gadget and pseudo home server. More to come once I figure out some of the features and start moving content over.