Thecus takes an approach similar to QNAP and Synology by generally maintaining a common feature set across its product line. So you can consult the N5200 review for details on most of the base NAS features and the N3200 review for the media, webcam, download manager and photo server features.
Figure 7: N7700 login
Here is a summary of the N7700's feature set for quick reference:
- Network file sharing via SMB/CIFS, NFS, AFP
- Hot-swappable JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 with hot spare for RAID 1, 5, 6 and 10
- Online RAID expansion and RAID level migration
- FTP with upload / download bandwidth control
- HTTP / HTTPs file and admin access
- Joins NT Domain / Active Directories for account information
- Network Backup: Once daily, weekly or monthly networked backup to other Thecus NASes using proprietary nsync protocol or to standard FTP servers. No compression or encryption
- Client Backup: FarStone DriveClone PRO 5 (Windows only)
- iSCSI target (5) and initiator
- ISO mounts
- User quotas
- Email alerts
- USB print serving
- Apache webserver (via installable module)
- Media servers: UPnP AV / DLNA, iTunes
- Web photo album
- BitTorrent / HTTP / FTP download service w/ scheduling
- Webcam recording and playback
Although Thecus has included consumer-y features like media, iTunes and photo servers, the N7700's real value lies in its ability to simultaneously support iSCSI and SMB/NFS/AFP access and create multiple RAID volumes. When you create a volume, you can choose from EXT3, XFS and ZFS formats (you must use ZFS if you want volume snapshots).
Figure 8 shows the RAID configuration page, which doesn't have any graphics, online help or wizards to guide you though your options. The only clue you have is that unavailable options are greyed-out.
Figure 8: RAID Configuration
You can expand any RAID volume by replacing drives one-at-a-time and letting the volume rebuild before you change the next drive. RAID migration is supported, but only from RAID 0 to 1, 0 to 5 and 1 to 5. You can add a hot spare, however, to RAID 1, 5, 6, or 10 volumes.
Setting up an iSCSI target is easy. You just visit the RAID page (Figure 9), choose a RAID volume and click the Space Allocation button.
Figure 9: iSCSI target setup
The Create iSCSI Volume page that appears (Figure 10) allows you to finish the setup. Note that you can allocate iSCSI target space separately on each RAID volume, as well as create multiple targets per volume.
Figure 10: iSCSI Volume creation
RAID Fail Test
I performed our usual pull-a-drive test on the N7700 and, like other Thecus NASes, it passed with flying colors. The behavior was essentially the same as I found in the N3200. The short story is that if you have a drive failure on the N7700, it will be hard to miss, given the smoke-alarm-like sound, email alerts and front panel indication. The only thing you don't get is an obvious indication when you log into the admin interface. I also wasn't able to silence the alert screamer by pressing any of the front panel switches.
Auto-rebuild commenced without a hitch or any action on my part, after I reinserted the pulled drive. Rebuild was pretty speedy; only around 2 hours for a four-drive, 2 TB RAID 5 array.