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When USB storage devices are plugged in they are declared as public shares available to all but read only access can be set if you wish. When a device is plugged in it is automatically recognised and made available as a public share which can then be mapped to a local drive letter. Note that the appliance only supports FAT32 partitions on USB devices.
Advanced settings can be modified from the appliance’s web management interface which opens with a wizard for setting up the time zone, administrative access restrictions and workgroup membership. The pair of 500GB hard disks defaults to a RAID-0 spanned 1TB volume but if you can afford a fifty per cent loss of storage space you can request a RAID-1 mirror if you wish. However, if a mirrored drive fails and needs to be replaced you’ll have to break the warranty seal on the rear panel to gain access. We also found that the power management setting for placing a drive in sleep mode does not function with these dual drive models and can only be used with attached USB storage devices.
The Gigabit Ethernet port makes its presence felt for general performance with a straightforward drag and sort copy of a 690MB video file from a Supermicro 3.2GHz Pentium D workstation taking 48 seconds for an average write speed of 14.4MB/sec. Copying the file back to the workstation delivered average read speeds of 19.2MB/sec. Tests run on an Infrant Techologies ReadyNAS NV and a Thecus N5200 RouStor returned 12.3MB/sec and 14MB/sec respective write rates and 25MB/sec and 26.6MB/sec read speeds.
Maxtor’s latest NAS appliance combines excellent build quality, extreme ease of use and a reasonable level of features including automated backup. However, competition in the entry-level NAS appliance market is really heating up and the Shared Storage II 1TB is on the pricey side – especially when you can get a Buffalo Technology TeraStation Pro 1.0 TB, which delivers a lot more features for your money, for only a small amount of extra cash.