Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Adaptec Australia Snap Server 210
- Can be set up in RAID 0 or RAID 1, easy to install
- Management interface takes a little getting used to, disk quota information takes a while to be updated
Well built and easy to install, the Snap Server 210 is suitable for any small or medium sized business.
Price$ 2,152.00 (AUD)
Adaptec's Snap Server 210 is perfect for small or medium-sized businesses that require a central network storage location for their users. It's very well built, has a 500GB capacity and it doesn't require a networking expert to install it and manage it.
During testing, installation was simple and performance was reliable. Two 250GB Maxtor Maxline III 7L250S0 hard drives are installed in a RAID 0 configuration, providing quick access to a total formatted disc capacity of 461GB. The server can be connected to a LAN through a gigabit Ethernet port on its rear, and we attached it to a Netgear RangeMax NEXT wireless router (WNR834B) to perform our tests. File transfers to and from the Snap Server 210 averaged 9.1MBps, which is what we expected. As this router only supports 10/100 Ethernet speeds, faster transfers are possible with a router and cabling that's capable of handling gigabit Ethernet speeds.
The server can work either with a DHCP-allocated IP address or with a static IP address. With a static address, the supplied Snap Server Manager (SSM) software must be installed so that the server can be assigned its network address. We set up the 210 on a static network using the SSM software and didn't experience any problems in doing so.
The SSM software also allows for the server's Web interface to be easily launched. The server can be configured and managed from this interface, but those who haven't used a network attached storage device before might find it a little tricky to configure shared folders.
Users can be given full or read access to folders or they can be added to groups that determine their rights (admin, for example). Shared folders, by default, are created in the root directory of the drive, in effect sharing the whole drive. An effort must be made to create 'home' directories for each user below the root directory. If users have access to a default, shared root directory, then they will be able to access all the folders underneath it, even if they are not administrators. Once created, folders can be accessed through Windows Explorer and users will be able to drag and drop files to them just like any other folder on their local hard drive.
To manage the space on the server, a default quota can be set, which is applied to all users by default, but each user's quota can also be changed individually. To give users less, more or unlimited quota is as easy as clicking on each user in the user-list and changing the value of the quota.
Once a quota has been set for each user, disk usage can be gleaned from the Web interface. We noticed that the quota manager didn't update quickly when new users were added. It also took a few minutes for disk usage changes to show up in the manager once files were added or deleted.
For data redundancy, the Snap Server 210 can be configured to run a RAID 1 array. It comes with a RAID 0 array from the factory, so this needs to be deleted first if users plan to change to RAID 1. Setting up a RAID 1 array is done through the server's Web interface and is a straight-forward task. The RAID 1 array will halve the total formatted capacity of the Snap Server 210 to 230GB, but will provide peace of mind as data will not be lost in the event that one of the disks in the array fails.
We also found the Snap server to be very sturdy. A full-metal chassis encloses the two Maxtor hard drives and the server's 1300MHz VIA Esther CPU and 256MB of RAM, while its exterior shell is plastic. Cooling is by way of an extraction fan at the rear of the server and cool air is sucked in through a vent on the front of the unit. The CPU is cooled only by a heat sink and the rear cooling fan doesn't spin too fast, so the server runs very quietly. A 10/100/1000 Ethernet port facilitates network connectivity, and USB ports allow for a USB-based uninterruptible power supply to be attached. The front of the server has indicator lights to easily let the administrator know if there is a networking, thermal or disk drive problem.
The server can be used on Windows, UNIX/Linux and Apple environments and we tested it on a Windows network using Windows XP Pro-based machines. We didn't have any problems during the installation or usage of the server and we think it's a great solution for any business that requires a network attached storage facility for its users.
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