So far so good but there are a number of NDAS restrictions you need to be aware of that centre around write access to the drive from multiple users. The Device Management software is available for both Windows and Mac OS 10.x and if both types of system are accessing the drive together all can read it but only one can have exclusive write access at a time. This also applies if there are Windows 98 and ME users as write access must be manually passed from one system to another. No such problems if you’re running Windows 2000, XP and 2003 as all can share read/write access simultaneously.
As already mentioned, NDAS mode does offer some unique security features as only those clients that have the drivers and software installed can access the drive over the network. Furthermore, you can also decide at the device registration phase whether they are allowed write access as well.
The Device Management software runs as a background task and provides tools to mount and dismount drives and change the access mode. It offers a complete rundown on the drive’s status and its properties and you can see which other clients are accessing it. With the drive dismounted you can deactivate it and reset the NDAS connection from here as well. The Device Bind tool also offers some interesting features for Windows 2000, XP and 2003 users as you can take up to eight Network Drives and aggregate them into one large drive or a striped array. Two can also be amalgamated into mirror and there’s even a RAID-4 option which uses a minimum of two drives plus a third for parity data to provide a fault tolerant array.
Performance over our Gigabit Ethernet test network was pretty good with the open source Iometer reporting a raw throughput of 10.5MB/sec for one Windows XP client and a cumulative total of 10.4MB/sec for two. Speeds in the real world impressed as well with a copy of a 690MB video file to the Network Drive completed at a rate of 8MB/sec.
The Classic SL Network Drive brings together a unique solution for local and networked storage and delivers a fair turn of speed as well. The installation process is a bit of a pain and we would only recommend NDAS for Windows 2000, XP and 2003 users but it does offer some good security options and doesn’t cost much more than a standard USB external drive.