Hitachi unveils external HDDs, SimpleNet NAS adapter

By on July 14, 2009, 10:00 AM
Months after taking over external HDD manufacturer Fabrik (SimpleTech), Hitachi has unveiled a new pair of portable USB hard drives and a tiny adaptor that can turn them – or any other USB drive, for that matter – into basic NAS boxes. First up is the SimpleTough, a water and shock resistant drive designed to survive a three meter drop and the pressure of a one ton truck. It comes with a wraparound USB cable and houses a 2.5-inch drive in 250GB ($100), 320GB ($120), and 500GB ($150) sizes.

The SimpleDrive Mini offers the same capacities, minus the tough exterior. These drives come in multiple colors with free backup software and 2 GB of online storage. Prices in that family range from $90 to $140. But perhaps the most interesting release, and the one which really caught our attention, was the SimpleNet network storage adapter for easily sharing content over an Ethernet network.

It has two USB 2.0 host ports and a single 10/100Mbps Ethernet port. Just plug a USB drive and it’ll appear on your network so you can easily share your pictures, movies, songs and documents with everyone. The SimpleNet supports FAT32, NTFS, HFS+ and EXT3 file systems to satisfy Windows, Mac and Linux users, and on-board servers enable iTunes, FTP, and DLNA shares. At just $79, this seems like a pretty decent alternative to more expensive and feature-rich NAS solutions – especially if you already own an external hard drive.

User Comments: 11

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raybay said:

We don't see how this helps us... Both SimpleTech and Hitachi have been on our lists of least reliable components for five years now... are they going to do something about product support, warranties, and customer service? According to Forbes, Hitachi is still looking for a buyer.

Guest said:

Amazon's user review of the SimpleNet adapter is definetly not positive.

Only one review at the moment, but very very unsatisfied.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I really like the SimpleNet, if only it where 1GB/s and Open Source Linux...

tengeta tengeta said:

You lost me at 100Mbps. It was already bad enough that it was Hitachi, stupid DeathStar HDD memories...

Guest said:

I'm an early adopter of the SimpleNET. Good device; however, in Windows 7 RC1 x64, the CIFS file system does not read/display ISO files over SimpleNET. Oddly, the included FTP server will display ISO files. This reduces the value of the device since you cannot play DVDs packed as ISOs using a media streamer (e.g., WDTV). Hopefully, a firmware update will resolve this in short order.

Guest said:

it does run linux. 2.6.something-i-forgot.

Guest said:

something else i found is formatting devices with EXT3 instead of NTFS will give you a big speed increase. This is not to say that NTFS is slow, just that with the way it setup on this device it will always be much slower then EXT3.

So far i've found 2 bugs that need to be fixed. They are using a old version of samba that limits file access to basically 2 gig. The other bug prevents some devices from being mounted because the SCSI sub system doesn't support more then one LUN. This can be changed by tweaking something in /sys but i can't remember what it is. Now if they would just release a update...

Guest said:

Nov. 4 UPDATE -- Hitachi has released a firmware upgrade that addresses the problem. It turns out the original firmware was based on an outdated version of Samba, so file sizes were limited to 2GB. The firmware update to the NAS' file system eliminates this limitation. Good job SimpleTech, although it took longer than I expected for you to fix this.

raybay said:

Thanks. That is a useful update. I suspect other problems we occasionally see arise because manufacturers do not look back.

Guest said:

Does anybody have firmware version 2.3.20? It was on my device when I bough it but upgrade to 2.3.22b1 caused significant slowdown when reading. I'd like to put v2.3.20 back. Thanks.

Guest said:

FYI is was solved by setting SO_SNDBUF=0 in /etc/sysconfig/config/smb/smb.conf.

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