Cheap, but very cheerful, storage device
Raid storage systems can be expensive and a little over the top for a small business. In fact, most can get away with just one disk in a network-attached storage (Nas) device such as the recently updated Linkstation Pro from Buffalo.
Based on the popular Linkstation product, the new Pro model features a high-speed Sata disk (serial ATA) and a Gigabit Ethernet interface to provide the kind of performance required when shared on a small-business network.
We looked at the base model, the LS-250GL which has a 250GB Western Digital Sata disk, but others are also available up to a maximum of 750GB.
To install, just plug in the Linkstation Pro and turn it on. The power supply is built in and it’s very quiet with optional scheduled shutdowns and start-ups, for example, to save power. You can also plug in external USB2 hard disks for use as backups or, if you buy two Linkstation Pros, take backups from one to the other over the Lan with the built-in backup scheduler.
The storage appears as a shared folder on a Windows network with (new on the Pro model) support for Active Directory to allow the server to be integrated into Windows domains. There’s also support for Apple Mac networks, plus a built-in FTP server.
A simple web interface is used for management, with facilities to control user access, configure the network and file sharing options and arrange for email alerts. Performance-wise, Buffalo claims 35Mbytes/sec but that’s with jumbo Ethernet frames enabled and support for this option is far from universal. We only got about 20Mbytes/sec on our tests, although that’s still pretty good for this kind of single-disk Nas device.
Factor in the free PC backup software and, at the price, it’s a tempting buy.
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Pros Gigabit Ethernet connectivity; fast Sata disk; Windows workgroup and Active Directory support Cons Possible single point of failure; no support for USB backup tape drives Overall A straightforward Nas solution for companies with modest storage requirements
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