Mac users benefit from the TS-219P's ability to read HFS+ volumes attached to its external interfaces, a feature not found in many of its rivals. There's also iSCSI support, which lets you map a network folder or volume as a local drive, rather than a mapped network share.
Network access to data stored on the TS-210P is provided via all common file sharing protocols: SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP and HTTP. Most of them are configurable, too. It has excellent media streaming capabilities (it supports the Logitech Squeezebox for example) which makes it well suited for domestic duties as well. It runs whisper-quiet too.
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Downloadable QPKG packages can add extra functionality ranging from Wordpress blog hosting to an NZB download client for downloading content from Usenet.
4/ Netgear ReadyNAS Duo V2
As might imagine from its name, this NAS server can take a pair of 3TB HDDs – if you need even more capacity Netgear's 'prosumer' ReadyNAS Ultra range can take as many as six drives behind the hinged grille door at the front. With both ranges having hot-swappable capability.
At the rear of the ReadyNAS Duo you'll find a Gigabit Ethernet port plus a pair of USB 3.0 ports. There's also a USB 2.0 port at the front. A dedicated Backup button lets you back up data stored on your NAS to an external USB disk. It can also act as a Time Machine backup target for Mac users.
Installation is straightforward – insert one or two blank hard disks and use the supplied RAIDar discovery tool to locate and configure the NAS from a networked PC. The default file system is Netgear's expandable X-RAID2 array but you can also configure the drives as RAID 0 or RAID 1.
The ReadyNAS Duo v2's web interface allows you to administer and reconfigure your NAS. The Shares tab lets you individually set the properties of folders on your NAS; properties such as DLNA (UPnP) media streaming and user access. In common with other NAS devices, Netgear offers a range of both official and community-created add-on utilities, some good, some so-so.
Entry-level and mid-range servers
5/ HP ProLiant N40L Microserver
We've already taken a look at HP's baby server, the ProLiant N40L Microserver on Techradar (how to build the perfect home server) but this diminutive server is Microsoft Server 2008 R2 certified so is capable of much more serious tasks.
Powered by an AMD Turion Neo N40L 1.5GHz CPU, the Microserver comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 250GB SATA HDD. This occupies one of the four drive bays accessible behind a lockable door. A further externally accessible drive bay is provided above this. The Microserver supports RAID 0 and 1 arrays as well as JBOD, though hot-swapping isn't supported.
There are four USB 2.0 ports at the front and another pair are located on the rear panel, along with Gigabit Ethernet and eSATA ports, so no complaints on the connectivity front.
Loading older MS server operating systems, such as Windows Server 2003 can be tricky as HP doesn't support them but later OS's such as Server 2008, SBS Essentials 2011 and Windows Home Server 2011 work right out of the box.
The Microserver's expandability, compact size and low power consumption make it an attractive small office home office proposition even more so when HP seems to offer £100 cash-back on it at regular intervals.
6/ HP Proliant ML110 G7 Server
A step up from the Microserver, the ProLiant ML110 G7 is aimed at businesses with limited budgets and on-site IT skills. It's available in seven configurations but the basic one sports an eight-core Intel Xeon X3 CPU, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 250GB SATA drive, integrated 6-port RAID in a Micro ATX tower. It also has a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and can take a maximum of 16GB RAM.