|Submited By: Mark McCullough on 08/06/2009|
A Network Attached Storage (NAS) enclosure designed to support two hard drives.
* Supports ext2, ext3, ntfs. I would not recommend ever using ext2 because of the lack of journaling. I chose ext3 because I trust it more than NTFS and have no need to support Windows.
* iTunes server support and Bonjour support that just works.
* Power light serves as activity light.
* SMB, FTP and NFS protocol supported. (No AFP, SSH, or HTTPS support)
* Appears to run some Unix under the hood. References in log files to crond, Unix style device names, etc. May be Linux, not enough visible to say for certain.
* Reasonable logs with remote syslog capability
* Surprisingly affordable NAS enclosure
* Contrary to some reviews, it does appear to support 1000baseT connectivity. The manual also claims such support.
* Web interface (when you get in) is reasonable, nothing fancy.
* NFS speed appears to be reasonable. Copying files from Solaris 10 workstation hardwire connected to the router to this device took what I would expect for reasonable NFS performance.
* The fit is extremely tight. Even with the recommended mounting bracket screws for the second drive fully inserted, it was impossible to slide the case cover back in place. Simply leaving out those screws (it s a snug fit even without the screws) made it work.
* Comes with a very short network cable, but no USB cable. This unit is intended to be used via NAS, not as a locally attached array.
* The network connection is flaky on setup. Took a bit to convince the network to work. The manual that you download does provide accurate instructions for OS X, but a user must be patient, it can take over ten seconds to negotiate a stable connection. Don t be afraid to use the reset switch either.
* Power light is blue, does not follow standard of green for power. If you use this, you ll have another decoration for your holiday tree. Since the power light is the power switch, packing tape to dim it down isn t overly practical.
* Internal cable connecting power switch to electronics in back is not anchored and could come out and get pinched. It also is soldered on one end instead of standard connectors, so if it is damaged, you are out of luck unless you are really good with a soldering iron (I m not).
* The power cable is a little short. It only barely reached from my desk to the floor and over to my power strip.
* The GUI has numerous spelling errors and other typos. This can be distracting, though thus far it does not interfere with comprehension.
* The documentation and help is minimal. Users are expected understand the difference between RAID-0, RAID-1, and Linear.
* Creating users does not appear to allow one to specify or change the UID#, a critical part of NFS security.
My first unit was defective (no link light ever came on), so don t be surprised if you see such a problem. I never could get it s DHCP server to work, but I didn t try overly hard, ended up hard coding the default IP (192.168.1.201). I usually assign static IPs to my hardware that I expect to stay around for a while. Makes it easier to use hostnames later on.
The web GUI was usable, though it appears the electronics are single minded enough to have problems formatting two drives at the same time. Since that should be a very rare event, I didn t let that bother me. Most people will likely want RAID, which means configuring a RAID set. That formats both drives at once.
Configuration is typical for a network device, requiring some minimal understanding of IP addresses if you can t get DHCP working. Ideally, the DHCP would make the unit "just plain work" in seconds of plugging it in, that s one of the reasons for the rating.
SMB appears to not be the fastest, but that is expected, SMB is not exactly a very fast protocol.
Mingling NFS and SMB for the same share is not recommended. This I learned the hard way. I can t really count it as a con, because even professional grade NAS units like NetApp have had problems with mingling this in a reliable manner. I ran into permission issues when I copied data via NFS for speed and then tried to manipulate it via SMB.
The unit feels very warm to the touch. The lack of access to a temperature sensor makes it difficult to know if this is because of malfunction or design. (No, I don t have an IR thermometer to confirm).
A user might be surprised by the soft power switch. Single-press and it initiates a clean shutdown procedure that can take over five seconds to complete. Press and hold for five seconds or so and upon release it does a harsh poweroff. Startup is not instant, it clearly is going to the trouble to load a kernel and start up services, further indicating it is running some kind of traditional OS kernel under the hood.
Overall, it appears to be a very usable product. The documentation could readily be improved, and some other very minor updates would make this a much improved product. Hopefully the company will release a firmware update to address some of these issues.
After three months owning this product, the NIC died, same as the first unit. Tech support was extremely unhelpful and insisted that the product is not intended to be used plugged into the network, only for plugging directly into a single computer. That is not a NAS.
The unit crashed repeatedly in normal use, requiring power switching to correct.
The umask was set inappropriately (and ignoring my umask), meaning that it was impossible to use in the expected manner, one user writing the file, the second user also being able to update the file. The end result was if user A wrote to the file, then it would ignore the umask I was using and write the file with permissions too restrictive for user B to be able to write to the file. It did not support the set bits on directories or file ACLs, making it impossible to use other methods to bypass this problem.
The unit is running a somewhat older release of samba (2.0.25a according to the scan) with known vulnerabilities.
While it seemed acceptable at first, I m looking into options for a return. As soon as I identify a reasonable way to plug two drives into my network, I plan on doing so.