Installation is a simple affair but you must have a device on your network, such as a broadband router, that provides DHCP services as you cannot give the unit a fixed IP address. The Storage Central Manager utility needs to be loaded on all PCs that want to use the appliance and this also installs the necessary drivers as well. There are plenty of wizards to help create your first partitions where you select a physical drive, provide a partition name and size and decide whether to mirror, share and password protect it. Once created, the partition appears as a new local hard drive where it is given a drive letter. Note that the appliance uses Zetera’s proprietary Z-FS file system format so you can’t remove a drive and place it is your PC.
The Manager provides all access for viewing existing partitions and spare drive space, attaching, detaching and deleting partitions and sorting out broken mirrors. You can change a partition name and easily expand it into any available space. Keep an eye on available IP addresses as the SC101T has a real hunger for these. The controller and each physical drive require addresses as do each partition – a dual drive appliance with eight partitions configured will cost you eleven addresses. The other problem we encountered was drive identification as they are only denoted by their IP address. We had two SC101Ts on the test network and could only tell where each drive was installed by firing up one appliance and making a note of its addresses before starting up the second box.
The SC101T posted a good overall performance with a 690MB video file copied from a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz PC to the appliance and back again in 33 seconds for an average 21MB/sec read and write speed. Using a mirror across two appliances slowed write speeds down to 14MB/sec, whilst read speeds remained the same at 33MB/sec. For comparison we ran the same tests on a Netgear ReadyNAS NV with a four drive RAID-X array and this returned 11.5MB/sec and 27.6MB/sec write and read speeds showing the SC101T has the measure of most NAS appliances.
The SC101T remedies the shortcomings of its predecessor and adds support for high capacity SATA hard disks. Performance is up with most desktop NAS appliances making this a very interesting and affordable alternative for shared network storage although make sure you have a few spare IP addresses to hand.