Get More From Your Disks With A NAS Part 2
Creating Shared Folders
Now we have a working volume (a file store) we can created shared folders that will allow us to store and access files. For the moment we will create a basic shared folder however it could be worth setting up several shared folders, each with their own access levels. For example a read-only public share with minimal data, a home based share for family based data, or a business share with access for only certain individuals, and a private folder for just your private data.
To set up a shared folder we can head back into Quick Start and click on the link or we can head into the Control Panel and head into “Shared Folder” listed under “File Sharing and Privileges”.
In the Shared Folder section we need to click on the “Create” button. When setting up a shared folder we can give it a name and helpful description, specify whether the folder should be displayed on Windows based devices under the “My Network Places” option, and we can also choose to encrypt the folder for added security.
If we opt for encryption we will need to enter an encryption key and make sure we do not forget it later! There are also some added caveats about using encryption:
- If you forget the encryption key you will not be able to access the data.
- Performance of any folder with encryption enabled will not be as fast as folders without encryption.
- There are some file naming limitations with encrypted shared folders.
- Encrypted shared folders cannot be accessed using the NFS protocol.
However, the added peace of mind encryption will give us, should the unit be lost or stolen, is well worth considering.
We can also choose to mount the shared folder when the unit starts up and we can drill down into further options that will allow the share to be indexed for searching later on and also enabled the Windows Access Control List (ACL). For now let us call the Shared Folder “data” and activate encryption. We will not activate the Windows ACL just yet but we will activate file indexing.
After confirming our options it takes a short while for the folder to be created but once the folder is created we will be given the opportunity to save a copy of the encryption key which should be kept in a safe place (not on the drive itself!).
We will also be able to specify which users can access our shared folder – for now we will give access to everyone.
To check if our share is available we can fire up a web browser window and enter “\\servername”.
In our case the server name will be the network address of 192.168.1.84 so we enter “\\192.168.1.84” into the internet browser window and enter our guest credentials and sure enough the data folder is available.
On a Windows 7 computer we could also head into Start, Computer, “Map network drive” (located on the icon bar) and enter the full path to the shared folder as “\\192.168.1.84\data” and enter our credentials which would allow us to map the shared folder to a more familiar Windows based drive letter.
On the image on the right is the shared folder mapped to the Windows drive letter “Z:” together with a notepad created text file saved on the drive.
The advantage of using a NAS for this shared folder is that the NAS can be left switch on and can be accessed from any supporting computer that has access to the NAS and a valid set of credentials.
In summary for this article we have:
- Installed the network attached storage device together with two match hard drives.
- Installed and updated the DiskStation Manager software and ensured that future updates will be downloaded automatically.
- Created a mirrored data Volume across the two disks.
- Created a shared encrypted public data folder.
- Accessed the shared data folder from a client web browser.
- Mapped the shared data folder to a drive letter from a Windows 7 based client computer.
In our example the shared folder is public which would not be an ideal situation in the real world so in the next article we will take a closer look at access control and how to limit shared folders for use by particular groups and individuals.