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A company called Newisys
was happy to provide one of their brand new NA-1400 NAS appliances for the experiment.
Our test sample came with four 250 GB drives, for a total of 1.0 TB of storage.
Larger capacity versions using 400 GB and 500 GB drives are also available,
and a new version using Seagate's new 750 GB drives is also in the works, allowing
for a maximum of 3.0 terabytes. The drives came pre-configured in a RAID 5 configuration,
reducing the effective capacity to 750 GB, but adding a layer of data protection
that is necessary in a professional context. Home users who do not need the
extra protection may want to reconfigure the box to create a larger RAID 0 partition.
Newisys is targeting the NA-1400 at the small business and home theater markets.
These markets have different requirements, but both can benefit from
an integrated NAS box. The biggest advantage is that an integrated system does
not require steady maintenance something that a small business cannot
afford and a home user doesn't want to be bothered with. In addition, a small
business gets a source of centralized storage, and a home user gets far more
capacity than could fit into a small HTPC case.
The NA-1400 is built around a 600
MHz Intel XScale 80219 processor and a customized version of Linux called
In addition, it features dual gigabit ethernet ports and dual USB 2.0 ports.
Why would you want these extra ports? The extra ethernet port could be used
to provide a direct data connection to one system that bypasses network traffic
without sacrificing network connectivity for other systems. The USB ports can
be used for just about anything. For example, ApplianceWare allows the NA-1400
to double as a print server. Other capabilities can be added by installing additional
A little black box with a 120W power brick.
|FEATURE & BRIEF
1.0TB, 1.6TB and 2.0TB models
|More storage than you'd
ever want to keep quiet in your main system.
|4 hot-swap SATA,
high-capacity disk drive
feature is genuinely useful, allowing failed drives to be replaced without
interrupting network access. It will even re-build RAID partitions automatically.
18 22 MB/s performance
|Hardly on par with a
local drive, but as expected for network storage.
Intel® XScale® processor with Linux-based operating
system for reliability and compatibility
|Not Windows based
it should be stable without requiring constant updating.
Two USB ports on the front panel for easy connection with digital
media devices; both can be configured for separate networks or direct-connect
|Multi-purpose, but documentation
on exactly how to use them is scarce.
|Two GigE RJ45 Ethernet
ports on the rear panel for direct-attach or Ethernet-based host connection
||A direct connection will
not be subject to performance losses from network traffic.
Locking front and rear panels for added security against unauthorized
removal of hot-swap drives
|Important for use in
public places. A slot for a Kensington lock makes it easy to secure.
A lockable door prevents the drives from being removed by quick or inquisitive
The device itself is straightforward: It's a black box with a few ports, some
flashing lights (power, network access, and individual read & write access
lights for each drive), and a power button. All of the lights are bright (very
bright) blue LEDs. The drives are mounted in individual cartridges that can
be easily removed if necessary.
Drives are easily accessible from the front panel.
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