Maybe you want flexibility. Maybe you just enjoy shopping around for hard drives on deep-discount rebate sales. Whatever your reasoning, the future is looking good for network-attached storage (NAS) owners. New NAS products are a big trend here at CES, and while plenty of vendors are offering new devices, D-Link, Linksys, and ZyXel are simply releasing the chassis to hold your own personal drives -- with a few perks for good measure.
The US$230 D-Link 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure DNS323 may not have the best name, but its compact, black, rectangular chassis will look at home in a multitude of environments. The unit accommodates two 3.5-inch SATA drives, has a built-in FTP server for remote file access via the Internet, and offers a built-in Universal Plug and Play audio-video (UPnP AV) media server. The unit supports four hard-drive modes: RAID 0, RAID 1, standard, and JBOD ("Just a Bunch of Disks" represented as a single volume).
The industrial-looking Linksys Network Storage System NAS200 is a two-drive-bay NAS box due out in March. The US$180 unit has two 3.5-inch SATA drive bays, two USB ports for additional storage capacity, a Web-based drive management utility, and one-touch backup.
The ZyXel NAS-220 has a much slicker industrial design than the others, yet its size is comparable to that of the D-Link. The white chassis has an attractive LED status screen on the front.
The gigabit-ethernet unit has two drive bays, each approved to accept a SATA hard drive up to 750GB, for a total of 1.5TB. The company is still evaluating the feasibility of using two 1TB drives in the chassis -- for a total of 2TB -- instead. Ultimately, the device may support configuration for RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD. You can add further capacity via two USB ports. Finally, it's DLNA-compliant, which should make it easier to use on your home network.
The unit is expected to ship in the next few months.