The appliance also offers a Download Manager facility, which enables files to be downloaded in the background over HTTP or FTP. If users are permitted to use this they can create their own jobs but only individual files can be selected on the remote system and jobs can't be scheduled. We had no problems creating jobs that copied files from a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ to the NAS200 over FTP. Multimedia is on the agenda as the appliance offers UPnP media services for streaming to suitable media players but you don't get the ubiquitous iTunes server as well.
When it came to the performance tests our concerns were vindicated as copying a 690MB video clip from a Boston Supermicro 3.2GHz Pentium D system running Vista returned pedestrian read and write speeds 3.9MB/sec and 3.8MB/sec respectively. FTP performance was marginally better with the FileZilla utility reporting read and write speeds of 5MB/sec and 4.5MB/sec. We also inserted a Maxtor USB external hard disk and copying a 300MB collection of music files across to the appliance returned a modest 1.4MB/sec. To put these speeds in perspective D-Link's DNS-323 returned up to 23MB/sec over Gigabit Ethernet whilst QNAP's TS-209 delivered up to 15MB/sec. We also configured the two drives in the NAS200 as a RAID-0 stripe so performance for the NAS200 won't get any better either.
We like the NFI Shadow utility as this provides a good range of backup tools and, as the name suggests, can be set up to run permanently in the background, where it saves new files and modifications as they occur. Alternatively, you can use it to run scheduled jobs at regular intervals and also specify how many file revisions you want to keep. The backup button on the appliance worked perfectly as pressing it caused our test job to fire up almost immediately. Bear in mind that if NTI Shadow is installed on more than one PC and each instance has multiple backup jobs this procedure will start everything up together. Performance was par for Fast Ethernet speeds with a backup of 1GB of test data returning only 3MB/sec.
The NAS200 is neat little NAS appliance with a reasonable range of features for the price and a smart backup software package as well. However, it's real shame that it only has a Fast Ethernet port as this does hit performance hard.