As far as an inexpensive NAS I would agree that the buffalo ones are my
recommendation. We have a Lacie, which works very well with one access
at a time, in this case a backup program writing files to it. However
when we try to use the Lacie as a place to store images, we are limited
to only imaging one machine at a time. If we try to image a second it
drops the connection to the first. It would seem the network IO has
some "limitations". The buffalo doesn't seem to suffer from that problem.
I would not want to use either in a situation where you had to keep more
than a half dozen accounts and only the most simple security. The
interface for administering accounts and access privileges is "primitive".
Finally, if you are looking for a SAN, shared storage that several
servers can use, do delve into iScsi. You can use off the shelf
hardware to create a very powerful iScsi device. I've had experience
with San Melody, software that can take a computer based on a good
motherboard with a chip set that supports RAID (With WinXP drivers) and
lots of inexpensive SATA drives and create a shared storage device that
many servers share. This opens the door to clustering and having
virtualized servers automatically fail over should hardware fail.
Another "school budget" solution is to mine CraigsList for fibrechannel
equipment. Look for the 1 Gig stuff that is one generation out. It is
amazing how fast that stuff is! Getting it set up will hurt your head,
but it is good stuff to learn (the switches that connect the storage
devices to the servers are very complex). I've never seen storage as
fast as a Fibrechannel array with 7 drives striped. It was about 5
times faster than the fastest SCSI!!!