Valery's Mlog

Mindlog of a Freak
June 12th, 2008 by Valery Dachev

Buffalo LS-W1.0TGL/R1

I wanna brag of being a proud owner of Buffalo LS-W1.0TGL/R1 V3 (also known as Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo)! There’re a lot of things I would like to share about that little thing but I want to start from the beginning…

It has been almost two years since I bought my first laptop and decided to do something about getting rid of any desktop PCs in my room.  Unfortunately I don’t think the hard drive of my laptop is reliable enough as a storage and in fact it is not that large (100 GB are not much nowadays). I’m tired of always looking for the right CD/DVD, buying blank ones and turning on my desktop machine when I want to find something stored in its 200 GB hard drives…

Some time ago I tried the cheapest solution – putting hte larger hard drive in a USB enclosure. Unfortunately I wasn’t a successfull one – the RaidSonic Icy Box IB 351U-B I bought couldn’t power up my 120 GB IBM Deskstar hard drive. Then I found some information about Linksys NSLU2 but was adviced in a comment not hurry and wait for Linksys NAS200 to become available. And I waited…

Meanwhile a friend of mine told me that Buffalo have cheap linux-based alternatives to Linksys’s wireless routers (sadly Linksys have switched to VxWorks). When I noticed that NAS200 had finally arrived I remembered what Victor had told me and I searched for a Buffalo alternative to NSLU2 and NAS200. I needed a reliable network storage with a good capacity. And of course at a reasonable price. So this is what I found (and bought) is Buffalo LS-W1.0TGL/R1 – a relatively small (100 x 163 x 225 mm) device with two SATA hard drives (500 GB each), one gigabit network adapter, two USB 2.0 ports (for additional storage) and both RAID 0 (stripping) and RAID 1 (mirroring) capability. Several protocols are supported for accessing your shared folders – Samba (Workgroup, Domain and Active Directory setup support), FTP, HTTP(S) as well as DLNA Media Server.  The access restriction is UNIX-based (it’s a Linux box, remember?).

I compared the prices of this solution with those with NSLU2 (incl. two external USB enclosures and two 320 GB hard drives) and NAS200 (incl. 320 GB hard drives) and the Buffalo solution turned out to be just a bit more expensive – a price that I gladly paid for the comfort of having a relatively small and integrated solution (with only power and network cables) with larger storage.

OK. That’s what you would read from the brochure. The really interesting thing here is Buffalo release the sources of their firmware (as the GPL license requires them) and it can be optionally replaced with other. You can currently choose between FreeLink (Debian based) and GenLink (Gentoo based), each of them having some features in additional to the original firmware’s ones. More on these and many other handy stuff about Buffalo’s NAS devices can be found at NAS Central.

Fine! My PC is now on sale… stay tuned for a post on that. :)

Comments

20 Responses to “Buffalo LS-W1.0TGL/R1”
  1. Nice! I’ve been looking for something like that. Can it work as a USB Mass Storage device, or are the ports only for additional storage? Either way, this is way cool. I currently have an internal 500GB drive and an external 500GB drive which backs up my primary PC nightly. The DLNA feature in particular is super cool – I run TVersity to stream musicfrom my PC to the Xbox right now, but it gets stuck every now and again.

    Anyone want to buy a Seagate 500GB USB hard drive? ;-)

  2. @kay: In fact I have no idea but I suppose it does. I’ll check that out as soon as I get a memory stick. I tried attaching my iPhone but it’s not a USB Mass Storage device. Hah… I can use the LinkStation as an iPhone charger.

  3. @kay: It does detect USB Mass Storage devices – I’ve just tested that. However I don’t think you can build a RAID array of USB memory sticks. The device has exactly two USB ports on it and I can see containers for only two USB Mass Storage devices in the web interface. I wonder if the kernel supports USB root hubs and what will happen if I attach one and for example three sticks to it.

    BTW, gaining root access to the device is a quite easy task using a console Java application called ACP Commander. If you really want to secure the device in your local network, you should disable a management daemon running on it or filter connections to the corresponding UDP port.

  4. Hah… I’ve successfully attached my Sony Ericsson K810i in File Transfer mode… Nice! :)

  5. By any chance did you try using the built in media server with an xbox360?

  6. @Dave: Unfortunately I haven’t tried that, Dave. I don’t actually have an Xbox 360. But I have found some answers to your question in Amazon’s Askville.

  7. Here’s the reply from BUffalo Tech Support…

    “The unit should be able to stream to the 360.
    Thank you,
    Ryan
    Buffalo Technical Support”

    I followed up asking if it “should work” or “will work” Hopefully I’ll hear soon. If this does work, it’ll be the justification to finally get rid of my desktops!

  8. Ed Prose says

    Hi Valery,
    How do I know I have version 3 of this product. The box I just purchased says
    LS-W1.0TGL/R1 (3) on a label under the shrink wrap. I do not want to open it as of yet as I would have to pay a 15% restocking fee if I do. Thanks,

  9. @Dave: What did Buffalo Tech Support respond?

    @Ed Prose: My box has exactly the same label on it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if "(3)" means it is version 3 as I haven’t found any information about that on the Internet. However I doubt there are any older versions on sale. By the way the exact model name of my device is: "LS-WTGL/R1-V3 F/W 3.03".

  10. Ed Prose says

    Hi Valery,
    Just got off the phone with tech support, they do not know if the “(3)” indicates version 3. As to the file system, they say it is xfs, I asked as I wanted to know what my options were to get to the disk if there was a failure on the box. After a bit of discussion, he said it might be better to get two separate NAS single drive units, and have the NAS boxes schedule a backup from one to the other, this way, if there was an electronic failure of the server box itself, I could still get to the data, even if it meant moving the hard drive from one box to another. This is a solution I think I may go for, as I do not need instantaneous RAID1, just want assured backup of my files over time. What are your thoughts on this?

  11. @Ed Prose: I actually don’t have an idea what the problem with the older version was but I haven’t had any problems with the device for the last month.

    As far as I know the LinkStation Pro Duo is equipped with a Marvell SATA controller with no native RAID support. RAID0 and RAID1 arrays are standard Linux arrays. I agree that the best solution is to have more than one NAS and set up a regular backup and actually keep the second NAS in a very distant location. But is it worth?

    If only one of the hard drive fails, the box sends an e-mail. I would then shut down the box, report the problem and wait for a replacement drive.

    If case both of the drives fail I suppose I would be able to take out the drives and mount each of them on a computer and rescue my data (unless the plates of both HDDs are injured).

    Having one box only of course is not an insurance against fire, floods, hurricanes or theft and I personally do regular backups of my most sensitive information in True Crypt volumes on a remote machine.

  12. Ed Prose says

    Hi Valery,
    Thanks for getting back. You covered many of my concerns, but I am also concerned that the box itself would fail, not the drives, making the drives not accessible. I have laptops only, and no other SATA device, so I would need to get a sata usb adapter and need to get xfs driver software, which I am not sure works. I think I may opt for two NAS raid0 devices, it really is not that much more expensive, I just need to think about how they back each other off.

  13. @Ed Prose: If the device itself fails a replacement of the device only will be enough to boot and access your data.

  14. Ed Prose says

    Hi Valery,

    Understood, but the idea is to have access always, and to have redundant hard drives without redundant electronics seems incorrect. Plus, if the electronics really goes bad, it is possible that it destroys the data as well.

    Thanks for your input.

  15. [...] Recent public urls tagged “nslu2″ → Buffalo LS-W1.0TGL/R1 [...]

  16. @Ed Prose: Yeah, if the memory of the device goes bad the chances are I’ll get some bad writes on the drives before you detect the problem. Nevertheless this applies to any device you could use to back up your information. I personally keep some of that stuff in encrypted partitions on a portable hard drive as well as on my server. Still an atomic bomb could probably destroy my data… There is always a risk and it usually is inversely proportional to the price you are about to pay for securing your data. :)

  17. @Dave: I’ve got a good news for you. I’ve just tested Buffalo’s media server with an Xbox 360 Arcade at home and the latter one finds and plays all the music from the library perfectly! However I’m not sure about DRM-protected content… :/

  18. Valery: It plays EVERYTHING I’ve thrown at it. =o) Definitely glad I got it. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Natural Vitamins says

    wireless routers are very necessary nowadays because we do not want so many wires running around the home `~’

  20. @Natural Vitamins are also very necessary nowadays because we do not want unnatural vitamins around the home. :)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: