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Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 Reviewed

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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.

Related Items:

Seagate Adds Two-Bay BlackArmor NAS
Seagate Adds Single Drive BlackArmor NAS
Seagate Announces Four-bay RAID 5/10 NAS Family
New To The Charts: Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220
New To The Charts: Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 Network Storage Server

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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3.5 Features :
4.3 Performance :
2.7 Reliability :
Ratings (the higher the better)
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Cannot handle large loads

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Mark
February 25, 2012
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When attempting two large copies at the same time it locked up and had to be unplugged (Pressing and holding the power switch in the front did not help.)

A number of attempts to back up a 500G drive (350G data) failed with write errors and it locking up. Numerous reports of this problem appear on Seagate's own forums. (Search: BlackArmor 440 locksup)

Write speed is 20% of the write speed to an old 6 year old laptop. Before purchasing put an old computer on your network and write a large file. Now imagine doing your backups at 20% that speed. It would take me days to do a single backup.


Slow but safe.

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by R. de Koster
August 05, 2011
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My experiences concern the Black Armor 440 12T with four 3TB Barracuda disks. The NAS is used as a data file archive so not intended to be used for intensive reads. Security is the main priority so the BA is backed up to a second identical BA. The default Raid 5 is kept, and that leaves 8.05 TB of usable disk space.The Recycle Bin is supported on the main BA, but disabled on the backup BA.

Backing up is done using the NAS to NAS feature. Take notice that in this case the backup share on the backup server is hidden and only accessible by the Backup and Restore features of the BA firmware. The throughput during a backup task transferring large files (>1GB) is around a disappointing 11.5 MB/s, so a frequent schedule is advised. Although the manual remains silent about the protocol it is confirmed that it is rsync as can be expected.

Tip: to uncover the hidden backup share you need to uncheck "Backup Service" after which you can check "Add Backup Share to CIFS Share". You can find this under the menu option Backup ManagerBackup ServerServer Setting. Then you can read, and only read, the backup data via samba.


Not the best, not the worst

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Ogre
May 24, 2010
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First of all, the bundled Acronis backup software is only useful if all your PCs can boot into network access without special drivers. (For many OEM installed machines, like Dell, those drivers are pre-loaded, but they won't be in Acronis' restore environment). Buy a blank HD and try a restore to it for every different PC before you feel safe using this.

Second, the NFS server on the NAS is worse than worthless -- not only does it all_squash the user ID so all files created through NFS are owned by nfs nobody (65534), but it also gives world write access regardless of the setting of "public". To top it off, the security settings for NFS, where you can enter an IP or wildcard doesn't affect the exports list, as one might think, but modifies hosts.allow for rpcbind. So it affects ALL shares, not just the one you're editing. If you bought this to use with Linux/Unix servers, you're going to be disappointed.
Due to security flaws like this, the "hardware" encryption is rather worthless -- if you can read the files unencrypted anyhow, it really only helps against thieves that steal the drives out of the box...

That said, the NAS has a lot going for it. It's very configurable once you get past the web interface and edit the actual configuration files. And while not the fastest NAS on the planet (especially not with RAID 5, since it's a software RAID), it is pretty solid, and allows for extremely easy change of broken drives. It's fairly quiet, and doesn't draw much electricity either.
But the main strength is all you can do with it from the command line.