I have a standard SATA drive which I want to access over the network. I have an available 1Gbit/s port on a switch.

What is the minimum hardware which will allow me to connect this SATA drive to the network and allow a single host on the network to speak SATA with drive at close to 1Gbit/s speeds?

I have been looking at NAS solutions, but what I have found so far would have the NAS act as a file server rather than simply encapsulating the SATA protocol in Ethernet or IP.

Is there a piece of hardware, which will just provide power to the drive and encapsulate the SATA protocol in Ethernet or IP?

  • 2
    It sounds like you want ATA over Ethernet, which means the minimum hardware is a cheap Linux computer. ATAoE isn't popular (corporate IT prefers iSCSI for flexibility and control, while home users prefer the ease of NAS or a fileserver). I haven't been able to find any dedicated hardware -- the searches I've done have turned up nothing but Cisco Analog Telephone Adapters.
    – Mark
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:49
  • @Mark Yes it does sound like ATA over Ethernet is the protocol I am looking for. Your comment "minimum hardware is a cheap Linux computer" sounds like you are telling me what hardware I could use on the host side. But my question is about what hardware I could use on the other end of the connection to connect to the disk. The Wikipedia article mention a LayerWalker product which sounds relevant, but that link is dead.
    – kasperd
    Sep 18, 2015 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


You can use iSCSI to connect your SATA drive over the network. AoE is faster but unsecure. Both technologies use an exclusive link and cannot be shared to more than one computer at a time.

Your Gigabit network is OK. However beware of cheap switches that handles a low number of packets per seconds.

Those are SAN technologies: you share a storage device over the network. That tech is the fastest one.

If you want to share to more than one computer at a time then you need a NAS technology. You share a "folder" which can be the root of your hard drive (c:\ under Windows or / under Unix). However it's a lot slower... like Windows file sharing.

Some NAS have both worlds inside them. For best performance you need a high quality one like Synology for your hard drive part.

On the other side: any modern PC can connect to it in any way possible: Windows XP onwards and recent Linux (and easily versions from 10 years ago).

  • I am aware that the drive can only be used by one computer at any given time and also mentioned in the question that this limitation is fine for me. I don't need additional security features as I intend to use a dedicated VLAN anyway, but I don't mind having additional security features. As far as I can tell from the documentation, the specific NAS you link to does not provide access to the physical drive over iSCSI. The iSCSI targets are virtual drives (similar to LVM).
    – kasperd
    Sep 19, 2015 at 22:15
  • Look at the specs that are badly redacted .... iSCSI lun at dsm spec :) the device does support iSCSI. Sep 21, 2015 at 9:23

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