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I have a nice spare laptop (Dell 15R, one year old) that I was wondering if I could use as an NAS. The laptop has an E-Sata port, and I was wondering if I could set it up and plug in a few hard drives permanently (meaning I won't be unplugging it) to the eSata port and use the laptop as a wireless NAS to seamlessly and wirelessly store and access my files.

To see more about what I'm looking for in the NAS to see if it's possible to use my other laptop for this purpose, see my other question: Is it possible to have a wireless in-house NAS with wireless data transfer rates of equivalent to SATA speeds?

Alternatively, would it be better to sell the laptop and buy a dedicated NAS?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

A NAS is a storage device that exists on a network. So any device would in general be suitable, provided it has storage, network connectivity, and software that supports network file access protocols.

The limitations of this approach would be the amount of disks (as noted in the other answer) and lack of fault tolerance. There is no way to implement RAID for example. The speed requirement from your other question is a limitaton of wireless, not NAS technology.

Accepting these limitations, you could run something like freenas, which is an easy to use linux based NAS distibution.

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Thank you, this is very helpful. – techaddict Mar 30 '12 at 6:29

The biggest problem I'm seeing with your idea it that a eSATA port can only support a single drive. The hardware of the laptop would be more than sufficient, the limitations come in for storage as most laptops can only have 1-2 internal drives and limited externals. If 1-2 disks can provide enough storage space / redundancy this solution would work fine.

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Thank you for your well-worded, helpful, and concise answer. – techaddict Mar 30 '12 at 6:30

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