The NS2 ships with a CD that contains the LaCie Network Assistant and backup software for both the Mac and Windows operating systems. The Network Assistant installs in the system tray, and finds the NS2 on your network. (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Network Assistant
The Network Assistant shows the public shares and gives you the option to auto-mount them. The Network tab on the left shows you the IP address of your NS2, lets you update firmware and provides you with a link to the web management interface.
Figure 3 shows the admin home page for the NS2. LaCie took an interesting approach with a "widget" based interface. There are nine widgets, one for each of the main menu entries. You can customize the home page with your choice of up to six widgets. Three display across the bottom and three display along the right hand side. Alternatively, you can minimize any / all of them, and merely drag a widget into the working area of the screen to jump directly to that configuration page.
Figure 3: Admin home page
If you like a simple user interface without a lot of options, the NS2 is for you. Each of the nine menus holds just a few controls.
General Settings - Here, you set the name of the device (as it will appear on the network), the workgroup name, time, date and time zone. You can also choose to enable / disable FTP and built-in media / iTunes server. The iTunes server supports .mp3, .wav and .acc file formats. Audio files stored on the NS2 showed up as shared libraries on both PC and Mac versions of iTunes, and played properly. There doesn't appear to be an option for setting the device time from an NTP server.
Drive Information - By default, the NS2 allocates all of its storage as NAS. If you intend to also use the NS2 as a USB-attached device, you'll need to create a separate USB partition. LaCie recommends a maximum USB partition size of 128 GB. Figure 4 shows creating the USB partition. Choose your partitioning carefully, because it's not dynamic. You'll need to initialize the NS2 to defaults (and lose your data) if you change your mind.
Figure 4: Resizing the partition to create a partition for direct attach USB use
Download - Like many other NASes, the NS2 supports unattended BitTorrent downloads. Figure 5 shows you that you have the option of setting upload and download bandwidth limits, the number of concurrent downloads and the TCP listening port. Figure 5 also shows all nine widgets minimized. The instruction manual is a little light on information on how to download Torrents and points you to Wikipedia. If you're a regular Torrent user, you should have no problems.
Figure 5: Download options for the Network Space 2
Front Port - This menu shows the status of a USB device plugged into the front panel USB port. You can also activate the print server and have the media server index content on the attached drive. Figure 6 shows a Maxtor USB drive connected.
The instruction manual offers the following caveats about the front port:
- For multi-function printers, only the print function is supported.
- Only printers that support Postscript are supported by the print server.
- The front port is only active when the NS2 is connected via a network cable.
- Supported formats for attached drives are FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, EXT2 or EXT3
- Maximum capacity for an attached FAT32 drive is 500 MB
- Maximum capacity for any external device is 2TB
Figure 6: Maxtor One Touch drive connected to the front USB port
Copy - This menu allows you to create a backup of one share to another share. You can also choose to automatically copy the contents of an attached USB drive to publicly-available OpenShare. Copies must be manually initiated and can't be scheduled.
Users - By default, the NS2 is configured with an open, public share named OpenShare. In addition, there's a default private share named MyShare for the Admin. As you create users (a maximum of six are supported), a private share is automatically created named with the user's login ID.
Each share can also be designated as a Time Machine share. I configured my private cellison share as a Time Machine target and have been backing up my Mac without incident for the past three days. The NS2 has one of the easiest Time Machine backup setups of any of the NAS products I've tested and has no problem handling Time Machine backkup for multiple Macs. Figure 7 shows both the OpenShare and cellison shares available for Time Machine backups.