The market for NAS appliances has soared in the last couple of years with more and more people using them as a means of distributing multimedia content throughout their homes and small businesses using them as an alternative to a full blown file server. However, there has tended to be a large divide between the most basic versions that lack any form of redundancy, or which use proprietary software to interface with the unit, and the much more expensive versions that act as truly independent file servers with redundancy and extras such as print servers. Well, today I’m looking at a unit that tries to bridge that gap, the HP Media Vault.
The HP Media Vault comes in two varieties, the mv2010 and mv2020, with capacities of 300GB and 500GB and RRPs of £249 and £349 respectively. Both versions feature the same comprehensive list of features that includes space for an additional SATA hard drive, print server support, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, SMB/FTP/http access, and RAID-1 and JBOD.
Physically, the Media Vault is larger than most NAS appliances of similar capacities and bares more resemblance to a slim line desktop case than an external hard drive. This does seem to make sense as it squeezes in space for a second disc and an expansion card, an integrated power supply, and the motherboard and CPU that controls it all. However, opening her up revealed a less than optimal use of space and where the expansion card slot should be there was just the solder blobs on the PCB, so it’s actually just wasted space.
Styling also left a lot to be desired with a pretty thin coat of generic silvery grey paint covering the steel case and a flimsy plastic panel adorning the front. Of course, none of this really matters as you are likely to hide the box away under the stairs or behind a desk.
The front panel has a door to access the additional drive bay, a USB 2.0 port, power button, and a row of status LEDs. Round the back you’ll find a power socket, Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, a reset button, and a blanking plate for the aforementioned phantom expansion card.