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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Hammer Storage HN1200

At a Glance
Product Hammer Storage myshare (HN1200-1000)
Summary Inexpensive SATA RAID 1 NAS with FTP and USB print servers.
Pros • Inexpensive
• RAID 0,1
• Gigabit Ethernet w/ jumbo frames
• Decent Performance
Cons • No backup software
• Some bugs
• No media servers

I've reviewed a lot of Network Attached Storage (NAS) products over the last few years. Typically they are either single-disk units marketed toward home users, or RAID 5 capable, four-disk units geared more toward business use. Recently, there seem to be more dual-drive units coming on the market. These units take a middle-ground approach, supporting the lower RAID levels while keeping the cost down.

In this review, I'll check out a dual-drive NAS box from Hammer Storage. The gigabit-capable myshare HN1200 supports RAID levels 0 and 1, has dual USB ports for print serving or storage expansion, and is fairly inexpensive. A one Terabyte HN1200 can be picked up for less than $500.

Setup

Figure 1 shows the back of the HN1200. In the image you can see two USB ports, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port and a fan vent. The Ethernet port supports jumbo frames—and you can enter the frame size directly, instead of being limited to choosing from preset values.

HN1200 back panel

Figure 1: HN1200 back panel

When the unit is powered up, the sound of the fan is noticeable, but it's not as bad as other units I've reviewed. In-use, my review unit drew about 23 - 28 Watts of power. The unit can be placed either horizontally as shown above, or vertically.

One thing I noticed as I was setting up the HN1200 was a lack of an installation CD. Typically, NAS boxes require installing a local program that is only used for locating the box on the LAN and then spawning off a web browser to connect and configure. Hammer decided to forgo this intermediate step, and take a bit of a unique approach to initial configuration.

Instead of installing a new program, a clear installation guide is provided for both Windows and Apple users. This guide directs the user to mount a configuration network share using the default NetBIOS name of HN1200. The user is then directed to load an HTML page from this share that starts the configuration. I appreciated this approach, as I get tired of installing setup programs that will never be used again once setup is complete. Figure 2 shows the main configuration menu of the HN1200 that is displayed once the administrator is logged in.

configuration menu

Figure 2: Main HN1200 configuration menu

This status display shows a few statistics such as firmware version, time, how long the unit has been running, etc. One curious entry was the "Memory Usage" display. Every time I saw this graph, my first reaction was to wonder how I'd used up so much disk space, but this graph is not referring to how much disk space has been used; instead, it's telling you how much RAM has been used internally. Since the user has no control over how much RAM is used, I'm not sure what this display accomplishes.

Next, I explored the configuration items under the "System" heading. Figure 3 shows the "General Setup" screen where the machine name can be defined, the machine description set, the time set either manually or through an NTP server, etc.

General Setup

Figure 3: General Setup

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