Network-attached storage devices seem to be getting more and more popular these days, not only in the home, but also in small businesses that may not require the grunt of a dedicated file server. To serve these markets, Intel has rolled out an Atom platform tailored for storage devices. Dubbed Milstead, the platform relies on existing Atom D2500 and D2550 processors. Both chips feature dual cores and 10W thermal envelopes, but the D2550 adds Hyper-Threading support and slightly faster integrated graphics.
Intel's press release and accompanying materials make no mention of the platform hub paired with those Atom CPUs. We do know it supports six hot-plug Serial ATA devices, though. RAID is handled in software, and the platform will work with both Windows and Linux. Gigabit Ethernet should be a part of the package, as well, although the press materials don't get specific about network connectivity. Surprisingly, they do tout Milstead's ability to accelerate 1080p video playback in hardware. It seems Intel has home media servers and digital video surveillance systems in its sights.
Asustor, QNAP, and Thecus are all introducing Milstead-based systems today. They look pretty slick, although some enthusiasts may prefer to roll their own servers for network-attached storage. There's a certain appeal to building a custom solution, and I've certainly done so with closet file servers in the past. However, the hot-swap bays and ever-improving software available with pre-built NAS solutions would make me think twice about going the DIY route today. What about you? Are your networked gigabytes housed in an off-the-shelf solution or something you built yourself?
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