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Hardware > Disk drives

ZyXEL NSA320 2-Bay Power Media Server

Homepage: Specification


ZyXEL NSA320 2-Bay Power Media Server

Mark: Good

This is a small NAS (network attached storage) server with two drive bays. It doesn't come with hard disks, you must provide those yourself. It takes 3.5" SATA hard disks of up to 3TB, for a total capacity of 6TB.

The NSA320 supports a whole bunch of networking protocols, including CIFS/SMB, NFS, and FTP. It also boasts a number of fancy media and cloud services, which I don't particularly care about. I got this for running system backups onto, not streaming video to my game console. Fortunately, it's easy to ignore the features you don't need.

I ordered the NAS itself from Amazon.ca for less than CDN$130. I also got two Seagate Barracuda 3TB SATA disks (ST3000DM001) to go in it. Total cost was therefore a bit more than CDN$400.

NOTE: For the initial setup, you MUST have a Windows system, as the included Windows software is required to do a first-time configuration and format of the hard disks. After that, however, you can use the built-in web UI to do all day-to-day management.

I installed the hard disks into the NSA320, connected it to my Gb-Ethernet switch with the included LAN cable, plugged it in & powered it on, and installed and ran the Windows software from a Win7 system. The configuration is pretty simple: you set up the network (e.g. static IP or DHCP), create user IDs as you see fit, and choose how the hard disks will be configured. You have a choice of treating them as separately-formatted disks, a single filesystem spanned over both hard disks (this is what it calls 'JBOD'), RAID-0 or RAID-1. Note that choosing either RAID option will effectively halve the available space. For this reason, I chose JBOD - I'll be using this for storing backups, not mission-critical data, so I decided that storage capacity was more important than fault tolerance.

The disk initialization takes several minutes, but after that the NAS is ready to use. You can subsequently do administrative tasks by opening the NSA320's IP address in your web browser.

As for accessing the shared disk(s), as mentioned above there are various supported network protocols. SMB access works very well using the NDPSMB plugin with NetDrive or EVFS. EVFSGUI or EVFSCLI can be used to mount shared directories. (The NSA320 creates several shares by default; you can add others as you see fit. I created a share called 'BACKUP' for storing all my backups under, and I created a non-administrative user account for this purpose as well. This can all be done using the web GUI.)

I normally back up all my laptop's OS/2 partitions using ZIP 3.0. When I was backing up to an external USB 2.0 hard disk, a full backup took about 12 hours. Backing up the same volumes to the NSA320 took less than a third of that time! Needless to say, I'm impressed. (I should note that all my systems, as well as the NSA320, have gigabit Ethernet.)

I've only had this device for a couple of weeks, but I'm very happy with it. It's very small, easily tucked away in a corner or under a desk, and whisper-quiet - I can barely hear it make a sound. The only reason I don't give it a 'very good' rating is because of the requirement to use a Windows system for first-time initialization.

One slight caveat: I recommend configuring the NSA320 with a static IP address. My local DHCP server has an absurdly short lease time, and I found the IP address changed at one point. It took a couple more hours before either EVFS or Windows clued in to the address change, during which time they both kept trying to access the old address for the hostname.

And a final remark: a couple of the reviews on Amazon indicate that some units ship with an out-of-date firmware that can only handle hard disks of 2TB or less. If you get one of these, you apparently have to install a disk drive smaller than that before you can update the firmware to the latest version. Just something to be aware of.


Información enviada por: Alex Taylor -- 2013-08-13 06:25:38



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