Need NAS on NTFS or FAT32 but not EXT3

Anyone know of a dual- or multi-SATA RAID 1-supported NAS that runs on NTFS or FAT32?  there are many features-packed consumer products (such as those made by Synology, Q-nap, Buffalo) available but they all seem to be running on EXT3, and would only support FAT32 or NTFS for EXTERNAL drives attached to its USB port.  My network is purely XP based, and am reluctant to going with EXT3 only because I wouldn't know of a quick/easy way to read and retrieve the files shall the NAS fail.  I will appreciate any alternative solution that may address my concern.
By the way, what exactly is the limitation with NTFS? would a NTFS-based NAS imply only read access but not writable? (how can a NAS not be writable to begin with?)
miontonAsked:
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Quick and easy way?  Boot up with Knoppix with the drive attached to the system.  

NTFS is a file system that is CLOSED (meaning MS did not provide access to the source code).  So everyone OTHER than Microsoft has to essentially reverse engineer it.  This can be dangerous because if they can't do it right, you might think everything is fine only to suddenly find all your data corrupt.  They've got the read only access down, so that's what they provide.

You can also look into a NAS system that runs Windows Storage Server instead of something *nix based.  And frankly, I wouldn't bother with a NAS (unless you refuse to buy a server) because they are more expensive than just adding space to your existing server - direct attach or internal.
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bhanukir7Commented:
Hi mionton,

I would agree with what leew has to say. NAS is simply another server with minimal set of Os and large amount of hard disk space. Dell has a NAS box running windows storage server and as a matter of fact many other vendors have a NAS running Windows storage server.
I would rather suggest bring up a server with more disk capability and configure that as a file server or what ever you want to configure it as.

Please elaborate if what we have said does ot make sense to you,your specific requirement for a NAS then we can suggest what would be the best alternate.

bhanu
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miontonAuthor Commented:
thank you leew and bhanu for the response.

Perhaps i should clarify that i don't already have an existing server.  i'm rather new to the subject and am looking for a scalable way for weekly backup, data consodidation and maintenance.  i was also hoping to backup image snapshots of each workstation on a weekly basis - with the intention to restore the last known good image shall any of the workstations crashes, although i have no idea what exactly is required to accomplish that.

so with that said,
1. does "NAS box running windows storage server" imply it would fulfill my initial NTFS wishlist criteria but given its microsoft affiliation it should offer write access as well the "correct" way, Leew?
2. Bhanu, when you said Dell has a NAS box running windows storage server - is it a NAS box only or another file server altogether?
3. All in all, I think this is a great idea!  i'm completely new to this though and ultimate goals is to shop for a specific product by process of elimination.  any chance to point me to a few specific products?

thanks again!
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kkransCommented:
www.lacie.com has Windows Embedded OS based cheaper NAS boxes.

Other NAS boxes tend to run other filsystems such as XFS, which do not have any effect on the OS on the workstations because it is a NAS and it simply works  on Windows, Linux and Apple boxes.

If you invest in a dual drive raid-1 NAS boxes you can pretty much forget about the portability of drives. If one fails you have a spare still working while you wait for a replacement from their service departments.
Example: http://www.snapserver.com/snap/en-US/Products/hw/servers/ss210

Those Windows Storage Servers are repackaged standard Windows Servers. Ok, it is a matter of taste but I have a hard time seeing them as a real NAS boxes.

A NAS box is for me is a system running a smaller OS which is optimized for file-based operations and because of that provides an easy to handle and high performance filesharing. Details about filesystem, OS, memory and so forth are secondary information. Only functionality t provides is important.



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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
kkrans is mistaken.  Windows Storage Server (WSS) is not just a repackaged server 2003 OS.  It provides for Single Instance Storage (something 2003 does not natively provide for), it doesn't require any CALs (which otherwise, all Windows Server products do), and it has been optimized to act as a file server - things that, for the most part, you might be able to do with some HOURS and HOURS of testing and manipulation... or you can just save your time (which usually equates to significant money) and get the WSS product.

More information:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/wss2003/productinformation/FAQ/default.mspx
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kkransCommented:
Yeah, that's why I type it is a matter of taste :-)

Not starting a OS war here.
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