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New Tricks

Administration is still done via a web interface, which I found to be surprisingly poky, given the speedier processor and expanded RAM. The V2 comes set to grab its IP address info from a DHCP server and there is an "IP Configurator" utility included on the CD, which will locate the drive and let you reset its IP, or just get you connected to it.

LaCie has made a few improvements to the V2's feature set, including the ability to add shares and enable a UPnP AV service for media serving, which I didn't test (Figure 4).

LaCie Ethernet disk mini Media server screen

Figure 4: Media server screen

Figure 5 shows the other services including SMB/CIFS ("Windows file server"), AFP ("Apple file server"), FTP, HTTP and Bonjour.

LaCie Ethernet disk mini Status screen

Figure 5: Status screen

A welcome addition is the ability to add additional drives via a single USB 2.0 connector on the rear panel. Drives formatted with MS-DOS/FAT 32, HFS+, ext2, ext3 and reiserfs file systems can be read and accessed through the V2's FTP and HTTP servers as well as via networked share browsing. Note that with the help of a USB hub, I was able to get the V2 to recognize two USB flash drives.

One of the original Edmini's claims to fame is that it can be used as either a NAS or as an external USB drive and the V2 retains that feature. However, the V2 kicks it up a notch and now supports connection to both interfaces simultaneously. Note that this doesn't mean that you can combine the USB and Ethernet connections to get higher performance—only one data path per client is supported.

To accomplish this trick, LaCie runs an IP network connection over USB. This, plus changing the internal drive filesystem to XFS eliminates the need to reformat the drive to the FAT32 filesystem if you want to use it as an external USB drive. So once you connect the V2 via USB, you'll find it in Network Connections, not My Computer.

On oddity that I found during testing that LaCie had not resolved by my posting deadline was that I could reach the V2 shares only when I used the unit's IP address. If I browsed using Windows My Network Places, I could get only as far as seeing the drive in its Workgroup. Any attempt to access shares was met with a Windows "not accessible" message.

A few negatives worth pointing out is that the V2 doesn't have built-in copy-from-attached-drive and drive-to-drive backup features that other similar products have. There's also no idle time spindown/shutdown, but thankfully, the unit is quiet enough that you won't notice it much when it's on.

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