Your next job is to decide on a name for the target which must adhere to the IQN (iSCSI qualified name) format and add CHAP authentication if you want to protect access. We tested using Windows Vista, which has Microsoft’s iSCSI initiator preinstalled and had no problems logging on to the new target. You just need to format the new drive and then it’s ready for use. Also, from the appliance’s web interface you can view each target and see which initiators have logged on to them.
To test performance we copied a 690MB video file to and from the iSCSI target over Gigabit Ethernet and watched it deliver average read and write speeds of around 35-36MB/sec. It is fast but to put this in perspective we’ve regularly tested larger business level iSCSI appliances and have seen them return two to three times this performance. However, these devices cost a heck of a lot more than the N5200PRO.
For general NAS duties the N5200PRO delivers plenty of features. It supports Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac clients, runs an FTP server and can use NT domain and AD authentication along with its local user database. The appliance also offers UPnP media services for streaming to suitable media players but unlike the majority of similar products it doesn’t have an iTunes server. It’s easy being green with Thecus as you can schedule the appliance to power itself off and on and use WoL (Wake on LAN) to start it up when next accessed.
Backup options are plentiful as the Nsync option enables selected folders to be backed up regularly to another Thecus appliance. Thecus bundles its own client backup software, which although somewhat basic does enable you to secure selected folders to a destination of your choice and schedule full and incremental backups. However, the volume snapshot feature has now been removed by Thecus due to various problems with it.
General NAS performance is particularly good with a copy of our test video file using the Vista workstation returning read and write speeds of 34.5MB/sec and 29MB/sec. For FTP performance the Filezilla utility reported read and write speeds of 43MB/sec and 31.5MB/sec when copying a 2.52GB video file. However, the backup utility proved to be a sluggard as securing 12.1GB of test data to a network share took over an hour for an average of only 3.4MB/sec. We also tested speeds when copying files from a Maxtor USB hard disk on the appliance to a network share and this returned averages of 23MB/sec.
One of the best desktop NAS appliances on the market just got even better. There’s little to touch the N5200PRO for features and performance and the new iSCSI target capabilities make it quite unique.