The Share menu allows you to create users and groups, set up folders, enable services for folders, create shared folders, and create access restrictions for folders. Access control is available only for top level folders, and is disabled by default. Unless you explicitly enable access controls, all users have full rights to all volumes. There's relatively little control available, however. You can't for example, set user storage quotas.
Figure 7 shows the folder properties for the default Volume1. For each folder, you can enable Windows, Apple, (AFP), FTP or WebDav. NFS isn't supported, so Linux clients will need to connect to SMB-shared folders.
Figure 7: Folder Properties for the default Volume1 folder
Though you don't really need AFP to allow Mac OS X clients to connect to network shares, you do need to enable it on the \service volume if you intend to use the N2B1 as an Apple Time Machine storage target. Also, enabling WebDav for a folder disables access control.
The Blu-ray (or DVD depending on model) menu lets you burn data from anywhere on your NAS to optical media for backup. I ran multiple tests and burned gigabytes of data onto multiple DVD -R disks without a problem. Note, however, that at the end of the burning session, the disk is closed and is no longer a writeable disk. Burning also must be initiated maually; you can't schedule it to run at night, for example.
You can also use the optical device, interestingly named CDDROM, to share data on a read-only basis with everyone on the NAS. You can't, however, do a "one touch" backup directly to the optical drive. Figure 8 shows a burning session in progress.
Figure 8: Burning data onto the N2B1 NAS' optical drive
The Service menu allows you to enable or disable various services on the NAS. The N2B1 includes DLNA and iTunes media servers, supports USB printer sharing, unattended BitTorrent downloads, Time Machine (Mac backup) and iSCSI. Network services include FTP and AFP.
iTunes server - When the iTunes server is enabled, you can share any of your multimedia content with other users on your network. The content shows up in iTunes under the "Shared" menu on the left. Note: You must put your content in the /service/itunes folder - that's the only place that the iTunes server will look for content.
You can manually force the iTunes server to re-index your content, or set it to re-index every five minutes. I enabled the iTunes server and copied about 2.5 GB to the appropriate iTunes folder. The content appeared in iTunes both on the Mac and PC Platform. My personal feeling is that the iTunes server is a nice feature to have, but the most recent releases of iTunes allow peer-to-peer sharing of your library with up to four additional users on your network. And libraries shared through iTunes, unlike those available through an iTunes server, include play lists.
Time Machine - Time Machine was a feature introduced in Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) that allows users to back up their Macs to a networked store. Most Mac users simply use an external drives. But a number of NASes now include a feature that allows the device to be used as a storage "target" for Time Machine.
However, setting up time machine on the LG NAS can be a bit tricky. First, you must configure Time Machine from a Mac. The NAS detects your browser and won't let you configure the settings from a PC. When you do log in from your Mac, you'll need to provide the MAC address of the Ethernet card in your Mac along with the local name of your Mac. It turns out that the local name on my Mac as 13 characters, and the NAS would only accept 12. Perhaps that's a limitation of AFP.
I found the MAC address of my Mac in the advanced portion of Network preferences - I didn't have to launch a terminal session and use ifconfig as suggested by the instruction manual. I also found and changed the local name to 12 characters under system preferences, sharing.
Once enabled, it took me several attempts to change the Time Machine target on the Mac, but eventually, I was able to get this feature to work as shown in Figure 9. Note: It's good idea to disable system standby, because the Time Machine backup will fail if the NAS is in standby mode.
Figure 9: Time Machine backup running on the LG N2B1
iSCSI - iSCSI, as implemented on the N2B1, was a real disappointment. On other NASes, iSCSI support allows you to set aside and format a portion of the storage to be used as an iSCSI target. When used with an iSCSI initiator, that storage then appears as local storage and supports block level access, which improves performance.
But on the N2, the iSCSI feature only allows access to the optical drive. And, with iSCSI enabled, you lose the ability burn and well as to share the optical device via SMB. Perhaps LG should have left iSCSI support for a later release, when they could have implemented it in a more useful way.
Mobile Device Menu
USB Backup - Under the Mobile Device menu, you'll find USB Backup, which is pretty nice feature, although not unique to LG NASes. When you insert a supported memory card into the pop-up card reader, or connect other USB storage devices into one of the USB ports, you can back up its contents directly to the NAS.
By default, the backups are copied to /service/backup directory, but you can custom configure each device. In addition, as shown in Figure 10, you can configure each device to be copied to a location you specify, set the backup type to incremental or full, and choose auto.
Figure 10: USB Backup configuration
If you choose auto, connecting the storage device to the NAS will automatically initiate a backup of the type specified. Alternately, you can deselect auto, and run the backup using a front panel button. I tried an SD card as well as a CF card that was plugged into a connected card reader, and the backups were performed as expected.