You can also implement file and volume quotas where soft ones passively monitor storage usage and report on any transgressions. Hard quotas will block access and you can add utilisation thresholds to advise users if they’re approaching their limits. File screening allows you to decide what can and can’t be copied to the appliance and the wizard offers predefined templates that can be used to block specific file types by their extension. User and groups are created using the standard Windows Server methods and this also applies to Volume Shadow Copies which can be used to take point-in-time volume snapshots. The storage report tool is also available and can be used to generate regular reports on areas such as the status of quotas and duplicated files.
It’s even possible to set up a simple IP SAN as the appliance has Nimbus’ MYSAN preloaded. It’s actually free software but we found it easy enough to create iSCSI targets and assign access rights to our initiators. You won’t be able to use it with the appliance’s factory configuration as it must have dedicated Windows partitions. We therefore had to delete the data volume and create a smaller one in its place to leave some spare for iSCSI targets.
We found performance particularly impressive and for testing partnered the appliance over Gigabit Ethernet with a dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 Boston Supermicro system running Windows Server 2003 R2. Raw read performance looks good with the Iometer utility reporting no less than 85MB/sec whilst CIFS operations using a 690MB video file returned average read and write speeds of 54MB/sec and 43MB/sec, respectively. FTP speeds were even better with the FileZilla client utility returning 83MB/sec and 50MB/sec average read and write speeds. Folders with large numbers of small files can take their toll as copying a 2GB folder with 4,988 files returned 28MB/sec and 22MB/sec read and write speeds.
The 450r is a cut above your average NAS appliance as although it seems comparatively expensive the price includes a superb backup and disaster recovery software bundle. With Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 in the driving seat you won’t get a better set of storage management features and the decent hardware package also delivers very good performance.