How can I centralise data onto a single location within my network?

Iqbal Hamid October 1, 2012
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I have several computers, ranging from iPods to desktops and laptops. I want to network the lot and set them up so that no matter which computer I switch on, the data the computer depends upon are accessed from the ONE SINGLE location. That location could be a NAS drive fro example. So for example, the My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos folders all reside at that same location for ALL uac’s and ALL computers. Also, I use Outlook Express on all my machines and I want my emails to be stored onto and retrieved from the same location. All media will also be streamed from the same location, no matter which piece of hardware I use to access them.

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  1. Dany Bouffard
    October 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    You can also conver an old computer and some hard disk into a FreeNAS, its a good and fairly easy program to use.

  2. Alex Perkins
    October 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    A NAS is the way you want to go. You will probably want to have it using RAID as well to protect your data from hard drive failures. Here is one example: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/network-storage/1282456/d-link-sharecenter-pulse-dns-320

  3. ha14
    October 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm
  4. Hemanth G
    October 3, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Well if you want to be able to access all of your data, and if you are not really particular about having it all in your intranet, then you may want to consider an alternative such as Jolicloud.

  5. HLJonnalagadda
    October 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm
  6. Wil Perez
    October 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I would suggest a Seagate NAS. they have more access controls than the Western Digital and Buffalo Drives. They also have the ability to be set up as an FTP server for outside data access.

    If you have a little more money to spend I would aim for a Windows Home Server. It has a familiar windows interface and easier to manage.

  7. susendeep dutta
    October 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    A NAS is a good solution.You could try LaCie's NAS -

    http://www.lacie.com/products/range.htm?id=10007

  8. Ahmed Khalil
    October 2, 2012 at 7:59 am

    you can use one of these computers as a file server for data sharing

  9. Bruce Epper
    October 2, 2012 at 12:31 am

    The easiest solution is to set up a NAS server. Since you would be setting up a single point for all data storage, you should use a RAID configuration (mirroring probably being your best bet) so a failure of a hard drive will not cause the loss of all of your data. Most NAS servers have a simple way to set up public use of your photos, videos and other data, but redirecting your My Documents, My Photos, etc folders may cause some headaches since those folders are associated with specific user account ON A SPECIFIC MACHINE. You would most likely be simpler to redirect your public folders to the NAS device and use the public folders to store your data (instead of the localized versions). Another consideration is having multiple machines having your Outlook Express data files open simultaneously. OE is not written as an application that can handle multiple concurrent access to the data files so if one machine has OE open and you try to open it on another machine attempting to access the same data files I can envision 2 possible scenarios happening. First is that the second instance of OE simply cannot access the data files and refuses to go any further until it has exclusive access to the data files. The second is that both machines manage to have the data files open and they each make changes to it without the other one knowing thereby corrupting the data files. I have never tried that type of operation with OE but the chances are fairly high that one of these 2 outcomes would be the result based on previous results with other mail clients with similar design. A better solution would be to keep your email on the server instead of the client or to switch to IMAP which will synchronize your local data with the server (keeping the local data on each machine, not a shared location, in either case).

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