Dena and I gearing up to buy a house at some point. Throwing money away on rent has become unbearable. As such, I’ve been visualizing a place to call home. I prefer to be clutter-free. I looked at the ugly rack of CDs and DVDs that we have, that occupy way more space than they should. I’m seeing NAS and media centre computers in our future. We have plenty of digital music in the form of MP3s and a whole lot of CDs taking up space. Also, managing a digital libary is insanely easier and more convenient than dealing with a physical one. Why not rip all of our CDs and add that to our existing digital library? Well, that would require a lot of disk space. Lots ‘n’ lots. Sure, hard drives are cheap, but they fail often because of said cheapness; I’d like a solid disaster recovery plan. Traditional backup media (CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, tape drives, external hard drives, remote storage, etc) are fine for backing up your documents and files, but not more something like a music library. RAID is better suited for a task like this. Here’s where a NAS device would come in handy.
Buffalo has a pricey NAS line for the home market called TeraStation Home Server. However, Infrant‘s ReadyNAS X6 really impresses me. Its proprietary X-RAID technology allows you to hotswap disks, even adding larger disks, to resize the array on-the-fly. So if 300GB disks are starting to fill up and 2TB disks become the norm…swap-y swap-y 😉
These RAID-ready NAS devices aimed at consumers are still a tad pricey for my tastes. You’re looking at over $600 just to get started, which is why I’d also consider something like FreeNAS. The OS is free and the hardware required wouldn’t be that expensive if I build it myself: a Celeron/Sempron CPU, a modest amount of RAM, RAID card and that’s pretty much it (minus the drives themselves, of course). Although, I’d preferably want a tiny case from Shuttle or whoever, and solid noise reduction/heat dispertion. Here’s where the consumer NAS devices shine, it would appear.
Once that’s taken care of and the opportunity presents itself, I’ll surely look towards X10 and/or INSTEON gear. Writing code using the X10/INSTEON APIs to program an entire house would be wicked. If I walked in the door at the end of the day, the house would turn on the lights in the kitchen and play the most recent Radio 3 or TWiT podcast (stored on the NAS, of course) for me while I got supper started. On the other hand, if Dena were the first in the door, the house would do the same as it did for me, but play the latest Pearl Jam album (also on the NAS) or maybe turn on the TV and automatically flip to that CTV affiliate channel from Calgary so she can watch the day’s Dr. Phil episode that she missed while at work. Programming an entire house would be fun and keep me busy…and Dena thoroughly annoyed 😉