With all the focus on networking in our homes eventually we will all be faced with what I feel is the most important, yet least discussed, element of a home network. Storage and the backup thereof aren’t romantic topics. But they are important ones.

Yes, computers today have huge hard drives and can store tons of data, music and movies. There will soon be no need to buy CD’s for music at all and DVD’s won’t be far behind. Purchasing and downloading entertainment from the internet will be as common as email before you know it. And all of this content will be stored on those gigantic hard drives for use on demand. Conceptually you could have thousands of dollars worth of content stored on your hard drive in no time at all.

That’s when the topic of backup and portability becomes much more important to us. Currently most of us have hard copy (i.e. CD’s) of our music collections. If we lose a hard drive … yes it’s a hassle … but we can recopy the music to a new drive and continue enjoying the music on our network. In the near future that will not be the case. Most music will be downloaded directly to the hard drive. If it crashes … everything is gone.

Backing up data from a hard drive is a hassle and many people either don’t bother or do a poor and incomplete job of it. Backing up to CD’s is downright tedious and who wants to spend the time each day or even once a week.

Enter a Network Storage Device such as NetDisk from Ximeta. With one of these units on your network it’s easy to set up automatic backups. In fact what could be even better is to use the NetDisk as your primary storage device and backup to the PC hard drive. With that configuration, all of your music and data are completely portable in a unit the size of a paperback novel. Just unplug it and go. Plug it into another network and all your files are available to you at the new location.

I tested the NetDisk on a wireless network while on the road. It’s plugged (ethernet or USB available) into a wireless hub and works just like it was a disk drive attached to my laptop. Setup was pretty seamless. The instructions were clear and I was up and running in no time at all. Within a few minutes I had access to 160 gigabytes of storage designated as Drive E. Simple as that. And it’s available to all computers on that network.

Here are some specs etc.:

Network Storage

* Connect NetDisk™ to any available Ethernet switch for instant network storage
* Powered by NDAS™ (Network Direct Attached Storage) Technology

Portable USB Hard Drive

* Connects as a local high-speed USB drive for personal data storage
* Supports both USB 2.0 and 1.1 interface connections
* Compact and light – the size of a small book

Secure Access

* Secure file access allows the drive to be shared with only the people you want

Easy to Install and Use

* No IP address to configure
* Appears as a local drive on each PC
* Plug and Play; pre-formatted
* No dedicated computer or server needed for network storage
* Hot-swappable local data storage



Add secure storage to your home network, small office, or company workgroup

Personal data backup with USB 2.0

Save entire MP3 or CD collections on your NetDisk

Compatible with DSL, cable, and wireless access modems/routers

Store digital photos, home videos, and more!

The units are currently available in 80 GB, 120 GB, 160 GB and 250 GB capacities. Prices range from $150 for the 80 GB unit to $400 for the 250GB drive.

In my opinion, Network Storage Devices such as this one are essential for a safe and secure home network configuration.