All the usual RAID and drive configuration suspects are here, from native, single-space storage to the surprisingly high-end RAID 5 with hotspare. As that level of complexity is unusual in an entry-level system like this one - but a pleasant surprise nonetheless - we opted for that ourselves. The first option given for allocating the size of 'shared folders' - user storage space on the Ethernet Disk RAID - is only 200MB, with the remainder to be used for the storage of iSCSI-based hard drive back-ups.
The iSCSI-based desktop backup and recovery system the Ethernet Disk RAID exclusively uses a portion of the storage space for this purpose alone, once configured no longer accessible by any other means. This reduces the available storage space on the NAS for data, so how much space to allocate to this partition, if any, needs careful consideration. After all, 200MB per-user isn't much these days.
Only a complete system rebuild and reconfiguration will free up any space at a later date, not the most amenable practice by any means. The software used in backup and recovery - also by FalconStor - is intuitive and easy to use. Only one client licence was provided - presumably for evaluation, as the NAS system is marketed and sold with a disaster recovery feature set and can support a maximum of 128 users. More licenses can be obtained directly from Intel, but this could be quite costly. An additional need for this software to function is the Microsoft iSCSI initiator, to be installed on each and every system that is backed-up. This changes the overall build of that PC, which might not go down well within some IT departments.
Connection to the network is provided by two autosensing Gigabit Ethernet ports, the second of which can also be used to issue IP addresses by way of a DHCP server in the OS. Otherwise this port needs to be on a different subnet or network, not an ideal solution. It's not possible to use the two ports for load balancing on the NAS traffic or in a fault tolerance scenario - quite common with two ports present and noticeably absent here.
Many thanks for your reply Tim,
Unfortunately root access has been disabled as a feature in the recent firmware updates, sorry.
If you are looking for performance and up to 3TB then try the AMCC 3ware Sidecar - only for Macpro right now but PC version is ready and will start to ship in 30 days time.
Comparison to Buffalo Terastation
I potentially question the review's closing comment "You'll be hard pushed to find a more-cost effective way of adding 2TB of storage to the network.". Yes, it's cheap, but I'm seeing the 2TB Buffalo Terrastation (well, actually I think they only do the "Home Server" version now, but it's essentially the same thing) for about 750 quid (inc VAT).
I don't think the Buffalo has the iSCSI stuff but, as a basic RAID5 NAS device, it looks to be every bit as competitive as the LaCie, if not more so.
I'd be really interested in knowing how the LaCie and Buffalo compare in terms of performance, noise and heat (probably in that order of descending importance). I'm seriously looking for a source from which to stream my CDs and DVDs. I'm not too fussed about write performance, it's a once-only operation so I suspect either of these solutions would be OK but on price the Buffalo seems better and the general concensus is that it's nice and quiet.
RAID 5 in software is notoriously horrible, which probably explains the crappy write rates you experienced. It would be interesting to know what the read rates were - I'd expect them to be much better.
An alternative would be to configure the device as RAID 1 (or 10, 0+1 whichever it supports). This should have far better performance, and ought to give you the same storage as 5 + hot spare (two disks worth in each case). Of course, you've lost the hot spare in that case, which might be an issue.
Questions I'd like to see answered are:
Do I have root? Can I install other packages?
Things like this would allow the rededication of this to a media server, for example. For that, you'd want to be able to install Linux packages to, for example 1) allow network booting for a diskless HTPC 2) allow media server software to be installed (e.g. the MythTV product for server, or the linux server software for products like the NetDVD Cinema or even Mac Mini) 3) since it has to be on all the time, run a firewall on there (or virus scanner)
Without these capabilities, it can be used as network storage. Whoopie. I can buy a remaindered PC of similar spec and install Linux on it and get 2TB of storage for the same price or less. And get a better product out of it.