The NAS appliance may be the easiest solution to adding more storage to your network, but these products are often criticised for being overly expensive – particularly for small businesses. Take Iomega’s NAS 200d for example. It offers an impressive range of storage management features but the bottom line is, for well over a grand you’re getting barely half a Terabyte of hard disk space. Wireless network expert Buffalo Technology is aiming to turn this notion on its head, as its compact TeraStation delivers a whopping 1TB of ATA storage for around £600, making it look an absolute bargain. Even more remarkable is the fact that the appliance offers full support for a wide range of RAID arrays allowing you to implement fault tolerance as well.
The TeraStation is reasonably well designed and will look good on any desktop. The front panel is home to an impressive range of status indicators showing general operations plus disk and network activity but it’ll also keep you posted on disk errors and when they have reached full capacity. As always there are sacrifices that have to be made to reach such as low price point but the hardware specification is still quite reasonable. Processing power is the weakest link as the appliance is equipped with a Motorola PowerPC 266MHz processor, but this is teamed up with a healthy 512MB of SDRAM. The network connection is well endowed with a Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller in evidence that supports 10/100/1000Mbit/sec operations. Note that Buffalo’s controller board has all components embedded so there’s no option to upgrade. Costs have also been cut in the operating system department as the appliance uses a basic Linux kernel.
Storage is handled by a quartet of Western Digital WD2500 ATA/100 hard disks mounted in a cage above the main board. It all looks good so far but you’ll need plenty of patience when swapping out a failed hard disk. To access the hard disk cage you must first remove the four rubber feet, the main cover, the front panel, the internal chassis side panel, the disk cage mounting screws and all power and interface cables. Take it easy during reassembly as we dropped one of the last screws inside the chassis and had to dismantle the whole unit again to retrieve it.