A little over a year ago (2005) I was doing quite a bit of consulting on the side and needed to get some new hardware around the home to handle it. I purchased a new computer, new netgear wireless router and wireless cards… and the best investment was my LinkStation.
The LinkStation connects directly to my wireless router and has 250Gb of space. The user interface for the LinkStation is really simple… I was able to set up a drive for each of my kids, my computer, a central music directory, and a client backup. The LinkStation also came with a USB outlet to share a printer, FTP software, and even media streaming software. That allows me to put my printer far away from the computers and somewhere convenient.
My favorite feature, though, is having so much space away from my PCs and on a network source. Whenever I finished a project, I'd copy it over there. Whenever I downloaded and installed software, I copied over there, and whenever I wanted to share stuff between computers – we simply pass the files to the share between all of them. No ‘folder shares', no install disks, no problems at all.
About 7 months ago, my PC was totally hosed up by a Norton Antivirus update that scrapped a boot sector. I had to reformat the drive and reload everything from scratch. It could have been an absolute nightmare with the exception that I have everything loaded up on the network drives. I was back up in a day or so and didn't miss a beat.
A year and a half later and now one of my clients asked me to do some repeat analysis for him. It had been so long that I didn't even have the applications loaded anymore. Last weekend, I jumped on the share and reloaded the applications. This weekend, I downloaded the old analysis and was able to knock out the analysis this afternoon. Re-educating myself on the application was the toughest part!
So – here's some tips for professionals and amateurs alike that do a lot of work on their computers:
- Invest in a network storage device.
- Use the network storage device. Every chance you get, copy over the work you're doing to it.
- Copy software installs, updates, driver updates, and even serial numbers on the share. This puts everything safely in two places.
The nice thing about network storage is that there is no backup and restore time necessary… just copy the files over to the drive, much quicker this way. (I do have backups of each of my PCs over on it).
And in case you were wondering, the Mac sees it all fine as well! Even the shared printer!