The Maxtor Shared Storage II offers 1 TeraByte of storage space on your local network and some great backup software.
For the last year I’ve been using a Maxtor Shared Storage II device. This NAS (network attached storage) device contains one terabyte of storage on two drives that you can configure as one 1 terabyte logical drive or as a RAID 1 500 gigabyte drive (RAID 1 maintains a complete copy on the second drive for extra security).
The beauty of an NAS is that it is available to every computer on your local network. This means you can use it for backup and/or you can put files you may need from any computer, as I do for use with either my laptop or desktop machines. You can also add as many such drives as you need, without worrying about running out of USB or Firewire connections. Another huge plus is that you can place one of these drives anywhere you can get an Ethernet connection. That means you can hide one of these away in a basement or a cupboard for a really secure form of backup.
Any NAS can do this. But the Maxtor Shared Storage II is an amazingly easy to setup and operate unit. It auto-configures to your network and it is easy to setup password protected private folders if you need it. You can even configure it as a media server to serve up images, audio and video across your network (it does require an adapter). It has two USB 2.0 ports so you can share printers directly from the Shared Storage II. Both an application, Maxtor EasyManage, and a web browser interface make management of the device easy. EasyManage also provides backup management, making it VERY easy to keep your systems backed up.
I’ve been using my Maxtor Shared Storage II for two things: backup and providing a central repository for images I may need to work on across several computers. And this is precisely what any photographer or creative can use one of these (or several) for. Now that many of us use several computers, perhaps a desktop and a laptop or a Mac and a PC, it makes sense to have a central repository for images and work in progress, so that you never get confused and end up with two versions of the same file.
My workflow involves backing up my camera images to DVD and keeping online two copies of images that I am still working with, so there is an instantly available backup if I need it. The Maxtor works perfectly for this.
Depending on your use you will need to think about your network infrastructure. There are three types of cabled network: basic 10Mbps, faster 100Mbps and 1000Mbps GigaBit Ethernet. Your cabling and devices like hubs will determine what speed your network runs at. For heavy imaging work across the network you will want at least a 100Mbps network. This is pretty much the base standard these days if you get your cables and hubs from an office supply or consumer electronics store and is plenty fast enough. Heavy large video file usage would point you to GigaBit Ethernet instead. Most recent computers will have Ethernet ports supporting all three speeds.
Wireless networks are a different prospect. While the latest wireless network systems are very fast, they are not as fast as a wired network. Plus many of us are not running the latest and fastest. My home (office) wireless network is a 54Mbps G network. Now for most purposes it is plenty fast enough, but for imaging work it is a bit slow. Transferring individual files is plenty fast but moving large folders of RAW files and things like having Bridge create previews for folders of files located over the network is much slower than you would want. 802.11n is the latest and greatest and is supported by Apple’s Airport Extreme. It runs up to 300Mbps and offers plenty of speed for imaging applications and also to support several people’s network activities at the same time.
The network speed issues above are less important for backup than for interactive use. Apart from my laptop, I mainly use the wireless network to extend the network across a part of the house for a computer used by my wife and daughter. Backups from this work fine at the lower speed of our wireless network. It just means the backup takes a bit longer.
The Maxtor Shared Storage II has proved to be a reliable, effective and very easy to use system and has become completely indispensible around here. I have no hesitation in recommending the Shared Storage II to anyone.