The appliance supports Windows, Linux and Macintosh clients whilst security extends to a local user database along with NT authentication and Active Directory support. We found shares easy enough to create and we could allow global access for specific users and groups and decide whether each could have read only rights or full access. The appliance also functions as an FTP server and during share creation you can decide, individually, which ones are to be made accessible.
There are plenty of backup options as data can be copied across multiple TeraStations on the network using a scheduler that manages up to eight differential or full backup tasks. Workstation backup gets a boost as Buffalo has given its elderly Easy Backup utility the elbow and replaced it with a single user copy of Memeo's AutoBackup software. This supports a larger range of backup destinations, offers optional backup encryption, and after the first full backup has run will only secure file changes or new files using an agent that runs permanently in the background.
Buffalo scores well for performance as we ran the Iometer utility on a share mapped to a Boston Supermicro dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 system running Windows Vista where it reported a raw read throughput of 39MB/sec. General file copy speeds were good with copies of a 690MB video clip returning 19.2MB/sec and 15.5MB/sec read and write rates, respectively. The appliance's FTP capabilities are nothing to sniff at either as the FileZilla utility reported upload and download speeds of 25.3MB/sec and 15.2MB/sec.
No doubt the biggest competition in this space comes from Netgear's rack mount ReadyNAS appliances and we reckon your choice will come down to the features you want. The ReadyNAS is more consumer-oriented as it offers a wealth of streaming services including a Firefly media server that provides iTunes services and allows you to create internal smart playlists. Its backup features extend to volume snapshots and it includes a five user version of EMC's Retrospect Professional, making the ReadyNAS better value.
The new TeraStation Pro II Rackmount looks just as good value as its desktop partners and it's a fine performer as well. It does offer a good choice of RAID arrays and general storage features but we think the Netgear ReadyNAS rack systems are better built and designed, and offer more for your money.