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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Updated 4/23/2009: Fixed reference to link aggregation.

Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440

At a Glance
Product Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 (ST340005SHA10G-RK)
Summary Four drive NAS that supports multiple RAID configurations, DLNA server and remote web access
Pros • Lots of storage for the money
• Hot swappable drives
• Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports
• 10 Windows client licenses for full-featured backup software
• Remote web-based access easy to setup and worked well
Cons • No Logging
• No MacOS backup client or Time Machine support
• No RAID migration / expansion
• Slow USB backups
• No eSATA support

Recently, we reviewed Buffalo Technology’s new TeraStation Pro III, the latest addition to Buffalo’s family of NASes targeted at the small office market. Now, Seagate has entered the market with its first family of four-drive NAS products aimed at the same buyers. But in its first attempt at a business-focused product, Seagate has neglected to include some obvious features for this market.

The BlackArmor family consists of four products: the 2 TB BlackArmor NAS 420 (2 X 1 TB), and three models of the NAS 440 with capacities of 4 TB (4 X 1 TB), 6 TB (4 X 1.5 TB), and, "coming soon", (according to their website) 8 TB (4 X 2 TB). The NAS 440 is shipped from the factory configured for RAID 5 to provide the maximum amount of fault-tolerant storage. Other possible configurations include JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10. Unlike the TeraStation III, the BlackArmor 440 does not support RAID 5 with a hot spare. However, the SATA drives are hot swappable – a feature you really need if you want to minimize downtime.

Figure 1 shows the features of the front panel of the BA 440. It contains a small two-line LCD panel that displays information such as the IP addresses of each of the two LAN interfaces, date, time, disk status, volume usage, temperature, fan speed, etc., as well as alerts.

Front panel of the BlackArmor 440

Figure 1: Front panel of the BlackArmor 440

There are also LEDs for each of the LAN ports, system status LED, power button and one of the three USB 2.0 ports. If you’re interested in seeing disk activity, however, you’ll have to open the door to expose the drives – the drive status activity LEDs are on the tray for each drive.

Noticeably missing is the ability to secure the drives against theft or mischief. Neither the drive bay door nor the drives have locks and the drive trays can be easily removed without tools.

Rear panel of the BlackArmor 440

Figure 2: Rear panel of the BlackArmor 440

The rear panel (Figure 2) has two Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be configured for port failover or for NAS to NAS replication. You'll also find a reset button, Kensington lock slot, case locking tab and the remaining of three USB 2.0 ports.

The USB ports can be used to connect external drives for capacity expansion or backup, UPS shutdown synchronization or to connect a USB printer for sharing. Note that the reset button will reset the administrator’s password, but will not set the device back to factory default – a design decision made to "protect data", according to Seagate.

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