NAS for OS X -- recommendations?

I need to get some inexpensive networked attached storage that works well in a pure Mac OS X network. Ideally it supports mirrored drives (a la the Netgear SC101 which is not compatible with Macs) but at the very least has USB 2.0 backup facilities (like the Buffalo Linkstation). The Buffalo unit looks like the current winner, but I’m hoping someone knows of something more ideal.

Not really cheap, but the Pug Vault Mini Server does what you’re looking for. You could also build something yourself and just slap the free version of Clark Connect on it. OS X machines can connect to any linux server via Samba shares.

That Buffalo Link Station may be the best bang for your buck.

Stusser linked to a netgear NAS device in another thread. Like most inexpensive NAS, the file services are provided by Linux.

Unfortuanately it is not compatible with OS X according to Netgear and various reviews. In fact, it requires a device driver to be loaded on client systems (as opposed to just mapping it as a network share).

That sucks! It’s not even powered by Linux.

Put linux on a nslu2 and you can do pretty much whatever you want. Or alternatively, just buy a supercheap dell, install ubuntu, raid the drives, and share them with samba or nfs. I’d tend to go for the dell, personally.

Bump? The less expensive ones I’m finding are still mostly Windows oriented (even the Lacie ones are NTFS formatted).

Oh, definitely Illmatic, regardless of platform.

Drobos aren’t the cheapest thing around, but they’re very solid and work well with OS X.


There’s ‘works’ and works. If you just need somewhere to store files, Drobos and other NASes are fine, but if you want it to work with Time Machine, there is TONS of haxoring involved.

If it’s not an AFP, it’s going to involve a nightmarish setup involving configuring sparsebundles and crap.

I blame Apple, naturally, because Time Machine could support any damned NAS on the market but they don’t want to.

I just this week bought a WD My Book World Edition (the 1 TB NAS one). As mentioned above, it doesn’t work with Time Machine without lots of futzing around (and even then it’s not clear it actually works if you read people’s adventures with it). But I mostly purchased it to have a central storage facility for my family’s computers, a place for me to back data up to, and a place to stick my wife’s extra data/photo archive (I moved that data from a locally attached drive which will now be used for her Time Machine backups).

It has a USB port so you can hang another device off of it.

Got it from for around $195 shipped (seems that the price has creeped up a bit. Link is here)

Overall it’s worked great. The only problem I had was when I used their web-based copy program to copy her current archived data; it had issues with the Mac files that had illegal Windows file names (like “Desktop 11/06/08”) and it turned them into a nightmarish assemblage of directories and crap I was unable to delete (even going command line). I eventually had to blow it all away, but after I did, I set up share points for each person in the family (so if something bad happens in the future all I’ll have to do is blow away one person, not the entire disk), and now it’s working like a charm (I ended up copying her old data over by dragging folders on her Mac; yeah, it took a bit longer, but it worked fine).

Time Machine is a special case. If you want a networked Time Machine backup device, you either do some hacking or you get a Time Capsule.

I ended up punting and getting a 2tb my book studio ii and hopefully it works well enough that I can toss my other drives. A robust mac friendly nas doesn’t seem likely right now

Synology is another big NAS brand.

Which is what’s ridiculous. The OS has the capability of accessing SMB devices, there’s no reason it can’t support it other than the fact Apple wants to keep you locked in to their overpriced crappy hardware.

Which reminds me, does anyone know of an alternative to Time Machine for users running 10.4 or for people who need it to interface with a non AFP NAS?

Actually, SMB doesn’t support the directory symlinks that Time Machine uses. Time Machine only works over AFP, and uses two undocumented AFP commands. Now, it’s quite possible that the reason those commands are undocumented is that Apple is happy to lock people into their hardware, but it still isn’t trivial for them to support Time Machine on SMB devices.

If I can do a bunch of hacks with sparsebundles that makes Time Machine work on an SMB NAS, then I say Apple is throwing up bullshit road blocks because they’re Apple and that’s what their game is.

Yes, because “a bunch of hacks” perfectly describes Apple’s software.