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Hitachi SimpleNet NASizes USB Drives

simplenet

By Evan Ackerman

A NAS (network attached storage) drive is quite a handy thing to have on your home network. You can stuff it back behind your router (assuming it’s not a part of your router, that is) and forget about it, except that it’ll always be available to any computer on your network… It’s an easy way to add flexible storage for things like media that multiple people want to share. Or, it should be an easy way, but it often turns out to be expensive and troublesome.

This little box from Hitachi is called SimpleNet, and it’s able to turn any external USB drive into a NAS drive. From the look of things, you plug your router into one and a USB drive into the other, and that’s it. $80 might be a tad steep for this convenience, but there’s a lot of possibilities with this little device, and it gives you the flexibility to hot swap as many USB drives as you like. I haven’t run the numbers on this, but my guess is that you’ll probably save money (and headaches) if you get SimpleNet and some regular dirt cheap external USB drives, as opposed to a couple external drives designed with integrated ethernet ports. Yes, you’re going to take a speed hit with the 10/100 ethernet port (plus the USB) on the SimpleNet, but I bet it’ll work great for backups and light media access.

The Hitachi SimpleNet USB NAS adapter should be available now(ish) in retail stores.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]







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  • jgillespie928

    I'm an early adopter of the SimpleNET. Good device; however, in Windows 7 RC1 x64, the CIFS file system does not read/display ISO files over SimpleNET. Oddly, the included FTP server will display ISO files. This reduces the value of the device since you cannot play DVDs packed as ISOs using a media streamer (e.g., WDTV). Hopefully, a firmware update will resolve this in short order.

  • jgillespie928

    I'm an early adopter of the SimpleNET. Good device; however, in Windows 7 RC1 x64, the CIFS file system does not read/display ISO files over SimpleNET. Oddly, the included FTP server will display ISO files. This reduces the value of the device since you cannot play DVDs packed as ISOs using a media streamer (e.g., WDTV). Hopefully, a firmware update will resolve this in short order.

    July 27 — Correction. After further testing, SimpleNET will display ISOs of smaller file sizes, but larger file sizes (for example 3.5GB-4.3GB) do not display in file directories. And yes, this was observed on NTFS formatted drives. I have not tested whether this file-size-limit issue applies to all file formats. Since DVD5 and DVD9 ISO files exceed these limits, the observed problem remains–you cannot stream a DVD across SimpleNET.

    Nov. 4 UPDATE — Hitachi has released a firmware upgrade that addresses the problem. It turns out the original firmware was based on an outdated version of Samba, so file sizes were limited to 2GB. The firmware update to the NAS' file system eliminates this limitation. Good job SimpleTech, although it took longer than I expected for you to fix this.