Other Settings and Backup
Figure 10 shows the System Settings menu where a number of settings can be examined or changed.
Figure 10: System Settings
You can enable the "Audible Alarm" so that the device notifies you when system events occur. According to the documentation, if a drive fails you'll start getting "beep" notifications. When this occurs, descriptive messages will also be directed to the Windows control application so you can diagnose the problem. An option for emailing these status messages to a specified account does not exist.
A nice settings feature is "Power Saving Mode" because it allows the drives to spin down when they're not in use. On my LAN, most of the time my NAS devices are idle; therefore, allowing them to spin down saves both power and minimizes noise. My power meter showed that with my two-drive setup, the device drew about 30 Watts when active and half of that when idle.
Figure 11 shows the device's logging feature. If you're storing important data on a device, it's important to monitor it to make sure it's operating smoothly.
Figure 11: Logging
A final option available under the System Settings menu is the time adjustment for setting the time manually or via an NTP server.
After the Media Vault is configured, you can map the network shares and use them normally, but the device also allows access via a web browser. Figure 12 shows the access of the "CinemaNow" folder via a browser interface.
Figure 12: Web Browser Interface
Using the browser interface, you can roam around the directory structure uploading and downloading files. The feature worked, but I wouldn't want to spend much time roaming. In general it seemed a bit clunky, but that's not too surprising for this type of interface. One aggravation I had with this interface was the Back button on my browser. Due to the way the page was designed, oftentimes my Back button takes me nowhere.
The one nice thing about having a web-based interface to your shares is the possibility of accessing your files remotely. With a little bit of port-forwarding setup in your router you'll be able to get to your files when you're away from home. Just make sure you turn on password protection on and have the proper limitations set if you're going to open up your device to the Internet at large. Note that by putting HTML in your directories, you can also serve up your own web pages using the device.
Since NAS devices are frequently used for backup purposes, HP provides a few Windows-only options. The first is a fairly standard backup feature in which you specify which folders should be backed up and then either set a backup schedule or specify that the backups be continuous, i.e. whenever a file changes. The second backup feature is one that I've never seen before in a NAS device. Figure 13 shows the Drive Backup screen that allows you to back up your entire Windows drive for recovery purposes.
Figure 13: Backup Utility
HP then provides a Windows boot CD to restore the backup image. So when the drive on your Windows system fails, you replace it, boot off the CD; and then, restore it from the backup image. Slick.