Back in April, I reviewed the Synology DS916+ NAS and was quite impressed. Since then, Synology has released a new NAS, the DS1517+, a five-bay NAS that continues to build upon storage as the cornerstone of the modern network. When I received my review unit from Synology, the packing slip described the DS1517+ as a "barebones server", rather than a NAS. And that's a more accurate description of the device.
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Synology keeps adding more to the capability of the NAS line-up. They have launched a new version of the Virtual Machine Manager into beta this week. This lets you run Windows and Linux VMs directly on many models in their range.
You've got backup religion on your computer, but how about on your web server? Your hosting plan may offer some sort of backup, but to be sure, you might as well take matters into your own hands. Tech site Webmonkey runs down how to back up your web server using command line tools like tar and pg_dump to archive your HTML files and export your database, then schedule the whole shebang to happen automatically with cron. Personally I use a combination of a daily MySQL dump (for my database) and a weekly rsync job. If these UNIX commands leave you cold and you just want to back up your hosted blog, here are a few tools to do so. Back Up a Web Server
You've just read about a cool new web app or informative article on Digg, Slashdot, or some other link-heavy site, so you hit the link and ... minutes later, you're still hitting refresh and seeing 404 errors. Just before you give up, try loading the site in Coral Cache, a free service that uses a distributed server network to keep content from being overwhelmed—i.e. "Slashdotted" or, as is sometimes the case, suffering from the "Lifehacker effect." No software or bookmarklet necessary, just add ".nyud.net" to the end of any URL. You may get a slower load and occasional formatting wonkiness, but it's often more up-to-date than the Google Cache version, and a helpful work-around.
While computer manufacturers are now coming out with "media servers" to sell to consumers, Popular Mechanics claims that it's not necessary to buy a brand new machine. Instead, use cheap (or salvaged) parts to build your own box, as media server hardware doesn't have to be top-notch. The biggest hurdle is choosing what operating system to use. For free and fully functional, the article suggest Ubuntu. The catch: it's not that easy to configure. The other option would be to go with the expensive, albeit easy OS (Windows Media Server).
Web site YouGetSignal scans your external IP address to let you know which ports are being successfully forwarded through your firewall and which ports are closed for business. Whether you've set up your own home server or gotten down and dirty with BitTorrent, chances are you've had at least one run-in with port forwarding, the process that lets computers outside your network through your firewall to access your computer. If you don't know how to set up port forwarding but would like to, check out our guide.