D-Link have released a device, the DSM-602H, that they are call a Storage Media Central Home Drive. We think there are a couple of things about this product that are of note and are a signpost to the future.
Utilising an idea from business computing, where networked hard drive storage is separated from the server – a Storage Area Network (SAN) – this device is just for file storage. It doesn’t perform any other function. It just receives files, holds them and dispatches them on request of the processing machine, be that a Digital Media Adaptor, computer or another device.
While it’s not the first device to do this, the Martian NetDrive has been gathering fans for a while, it’s the first from a major manufacturer. We feel this will be a continuing trend – as consumers digitise and hold greater amounts of media, they will just add storage units to cope. There are two models for this, single standalone units like this the DSM-602H, and units that have a empty drive bays for a number of hard drives to be held.
The other significant development is that this is the first storage device that utilises Universal Plug-n-Play (UPnP). UPnP allows the user to just plug the device into any UPnP-friendly network, and without any manual configuration, it will sort out it’s own IP address, network name, announce its capabilities and make itself available to any other device on the network. UPnP or Apple’s similar Rendezvous are great advances for the home user, removing the unnecessary complexity of setup.
We imagine the only extension that this type of device will require in the future would be an interface to handle the drives contents Digital Rights Management (DRM). Rights holders of content won’t be distributing their products onto home networks that store their content without this.
It is disappointing to see that this first release is only 20Gb, which when put in the perspective of the Apple’s 40Gb iPod, sound pretty feeble. It’s no surprise that D-Link don’t mention storing video.
Available from mid-October at a surprisingly high $249.99, it’s interesting to see it comes with free 24/7 technical support – one of the essential features for Digital Lifestyle products.
Expect plenty more devices like this in the future.