Since Tim has already given you a product tour and described the internals of the Pro Quad, I’ll just jump directly into the setup. The setup on the Pro Quad WSS is quite different than on Linux-based Buffalo NAS products. When you connect the system to power and your network and boot it up, it takes approximately 90 seconds or so for the system to initialize.
As you scroll through the display options on the front panel, once choice shows you the name of your TeraStation (WS-QVLBA8 –the default for my evaluation unit) along with the IP address of the device. On a Linux-based TeraStation, you’d just type in the IP address into the browser and you’d land at the web-based management console. On the Pro Quad WSS, that doesn’t work. Instead, you manage the WSS the same way you would manage other Windows servers – via a Remote Desktop session.
The Pro Quad WSS ships with an interesting choice of media. It comes with an 8 GB micro SD card along with a Micro-SD to USB adapter. You plug the chip into the adapter, and the USB adapter into a USB port on your computer. The Autorun file runs TSNavi.exe, the TeraNavigator program, which walks you through connecting your TeraStation to your network.
It also installs the NAS Navigator2 program, which finds your TeraStation on your network. TSNavi also lets you read the manual, or optionally install the included NovaBACKUP Software. Ten NovaBACKUP licenses are included with the Pro Quad WSS. Figure 2 shows the main screen of TeraNavigator.
Figure 2: Main Screen of the TeraNavigator setup program
The included USB Media also includes an image of the operating system. Should you need to restore the operating system, Buffalo support can guide you through the process. On the back of the NAS, there’s a USB/HDD boot switch. During an OS restore, you’d select the USB option.
The installation software includes a link to Buffalo’s website, where you can download the latest version of the user manual, setup guide, Email notifications setting guide and hard drive replacement instructions. If you’d rather not install the software just to get the links to the manual, I’ve saved you the trouble—click here for all of the documentation.
It’s worth downloading all of the documentation. The setup guide online is a later, improved version of what was included in the box. The user guide is a well-illustrated 49 page document that helps you with setting up your WSS, creating volumes and shares as well as more advanced tasks, including setting up an iSCSI target.
Figure 3 gives you a flavor for the installation steps involved in connecting your TeraStation to your network.
Figure 3: Step one of connecting your TeraStation to your network
The Buffalo NAS Navigator 2.0 is a simple program that doesn’t really do too much. As mentioned, it does find the Buffalo NAS devices on your network as shown in Figure 4. Here, it found both the Pro Quad WSS and a LinkStation that I used for testing NAS to NAS backups.
Under Menu, properties, you can manually reassign the IP address, or launch the Remote Desktop client. Optionally, you can map remote shares to drive letters and create a desktop shortcut for your TeraStation. The “I’m here” option flashes the front panel lights and plays a tune on the selected device to help you find/identify it should you have multiple Buffalo NAS products.
Figure 4: NASNavigator2 finds all Buffalo NAS devices on your network
Connecting to your Pro Quad WSS is quite simple. You just launch the remote desktop client from the NAS Navigator2 program, or use the remote desktop client that is supplied with Windows. (A MAC version is available from Microsoft.)
Log in as Administrator, skip the certificate warning screen, and the desktop of your server will appear. Alternatively, you can connect a VGA monitor and a USB keyboard and mouse to the WSS. The VGA port is available inside the front panel of the NAS. This is an unsupported feature on all TeraStation Pro models, but Buffalo does use it to help with diagnostics.
On your initial connection to the WSS, you’ll receive a screen of initial configuration tasks shown in Figure 5. There’s really not too much to do, but you’ll probably want to set your time/time zone, configure updates, download and install any updates from Microsoft and possibly change the computer name/workgroup or domain. My initial updates included 48 updates from Microsoft, including SP1 for Windows Storage Server 2008R2.
Figure 5: Initial Configuration Tasks
The Pro Quad WSS' storage arrives configured into multiple volumes. There’s a 30 GB “C” volume that’s mirrored (RAID 1) on disks 0 and 1 and an approximately 2.7 TB “D” RAID 5 volume that uses 901.6 GB from each of the four disks. In addition, there are two 30 GB unallocated spaces on disks 2 and 3, which I used to create a small, mirrored NTFS “E” volume for testing iSCSI. Unlike many NAS products which have one or more default public shares, the Pro Quad WSS arrives with no pre-configured shares.
If you’re familiar with Windows server products, you’ll immediately feel comfortable with the server console screen. If you’re new to Windows Storage Server management, after the initial tasks have been completed, you might feel overwhelmed by the default screen shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Default Windows Storage Server console screen
I know. You’re probably saying, “What a waste of a screen shot. There’s nothing there”. Well, that’s the point. The screen is almost blank. You can, however, configure the Server Manager to start up upon login so that you’re not faced with a blank screen.
The Server Manager console closely resembles Windows 7's. There’s a Start button in the lower left corner, and the quick launch bar is prepopulated with a shortcut to Server Manager, Power shell, and, of course, Windows Explorer. A click on the Server Manager icon starts the Server Manager console – the place where you’ll make most of your configuration changes. Alternatively, you’ll find configuration options available under Start>All Programs>Administrative Tools. After expanding all of the Server Manager menu options, the server console looks like Figure 7.
In this screenshot, you can see Volume C on mirrored on disk 0 and 1; Volume D as a RAID 5 volume on each of the four disks and Volume E mirrored on disk 2 and 3.