Monday, April 14, 2008

Software Turns Old Computer Into Big Server

Livonia Firm's Software Turns Old Computer Into Big Server

Livonia-based Server Elements Inc. has released NASLite-2 HDD, an operating system designed to create additional storage space on a home or small business network.

The three versions of NASLite-2 transform a basic computer into a dedicated file server, giving home or small business users the opportunity to turn a nearly useless old computer into a valuable network component.

Each version can implement multiple file-transfer protocols: SMB/CIFS (Windows networking), NFS (Unix networking), AFP (Apple networking), FTP, HTTP, and RSYNC. And every release of NASLite-2 can support fixed-disk drives connected through IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB, and FireWire (IEEE 1394), as well as hardware RAID arrays.

NASLite-2 runs in an 8-MB virtual disk in RAM, which ensures consistent and reliable operation of this file-sharing operating system. The two previous releases boot into RAM either from a CD-ROM or from a USB drive, which requires that either the CD and its drive or the USB drive and its connection be present throughout operation. NASLite-2 HDD, however, boots from a hard drive that is also used for file storage, thereby minimizing both the need for hardware and its cost.

A single NASLite-2 HDD server is capable of exporting terabytes of information, handling 50 or more networked users easily and efficiently, even when running on modest hardware. NASLite-2 can be implemented on a PC with any Pentium CPU with as little as 64 MB of RAM, one or more hard-disk drives, and a network adapter -- either on the mainboard or connected through a PCI bus.

The operation of NASLite-2 is independent of the computer's BIOS, so there is virtually no limitation on the size of the drives involved. And the number of drives is limited only by the number of connections available -- whether IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB, or FireWire.

"Because NASLite-2 is very easy to set up, to administer, and to use, it's perfect for the home user who has replaced, but not discarded, an old PC," said Tony Tonchev, a founder of Server Elements and developer of the operating system. "You can add the storage capacity of multiple hard drives -- enough capacity to wrangle your complete archive of videos, photos, and music. And you can do it essentially for the cost of the drives themselves. The cost of NASLite-2 HDD itself is about the same as the cost of a USB enclosure for a single external drive -- $29.95."

Small-business users will appreciate that the economical simplicity of NASLite-2 is complemented by a comprehensive set of reports that detail system status, hardware health, and resource usage. These reports can be accessed through any of the active protocols, and they are made available as a series of HTML pages.

Server Elements was founded in 2004 for the distribution of Linux-based operating systems for network-attached storage (NAS). NASLite-2, in each of it boot-specific versions, is the fourth iteration of this elegant, economical software.

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