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NAS Reviews

Feature Summary

We first saw Seagate's NAS OS 4 on the Business Storage 8-Bay Rackmount NAS, which was the first product produced by the merged LaCie / Seagate design team. The feature set appears to have evolved since then and is summarized in the list below. New features are in italics.

Updated 8/7/14: Feature corrections

Storage and Services

  • Volume Types: Single drive, JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/10
  • Volume encryption
  • Volume expansion beyond 16 TB
  • Hot Spares supported in RAID 5, 6, 10
  • Multiple volume support
  • SimplyRAID automatic volume management
  • User and groups with quotas
  • Network file systems supported: SMB/CIFS; AFP; NFS
  • Network recycle bin
  • FTP / SFTP servers
  • WebDAV server
  • DFS-N
  • Active Directory support
  • iSCSI targets
  • iSCSI LUN import / export
  • iSCSI iSNS support
  • UPnP/DLNA server
  • iTunes Server

Administration and Remote Access

  • HTTP / HTTPS web administration
  • SSH root access
  • SNMP monitoring
  • NAS Configuration export / import
  • Easy, no CD setup (discover.seagate.com)
  • Email alerts (Seagate SMTP or custom)
  • Real-time resource monitoring (CPU, Memory, Network)
  • Disk diagnostics and S.M.A.R.T data access
  • Sdrive remote access with iOS, Mac OS, Windows and Android apps
  • Web File viewer (Web browser) with upload / download

Backup:

  • Backup to/from USB drive
  • Network backup to rsync, other Seagate NASes, FTP server and SMB, NFS and WebDAV shares
  • Internal share-to-share backup
  • Cloud backup to Amazon S3 and Box
  • Apple Time Machine target

Other features:

  • HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent downloaders
  • App Manager for installable applications
  • Gigabit Ethernet LAN port (dual ports with link aggregation and failover on NAS-4 only)
  • Up to 9K jumbo frame support
  • IPv6
  • Proxy server support for web access
  • Networked UPS support
  • Dynamic DNS (DynDNS.org, Seagate MyNAS)

Still not supported:

  • DFS
  • ISO mounts
  • iSCSI initiator

The changes include both minor and major improvements. Among the major are a revamp of remote access features (Sdrive replacing Wuala Hybrid Cloud), installable apps and SSH root access. As a Marvell-powered NAS, the NAS-2 and -4 don't have the horsepower to host virtual machines, so support for VMware, etc. is not among the specs. I'll poke around a few of the feature newbies in the next section. The video below nicely highlights key features of NAS OS 4.

Hands On

The look and feel of NAS OS 4 as seen in the NAS-2 and -4 is mostly unchanged from what we saw in the rackmount review. One big change is the addition of the Home screen that you hit upon login. This higher level view and functional grouping makes it easier to get to where you want to go and less likely to get lost.

Home screen

Home screen

NAS OS 4's visual style remains an homage to LaCie OS and is still too pale for my taste. You can still be fooled into thinking some options are "greyed out", (unavailable) due to the low-contrast color scheme. If this is your first time with the OS, be sure to mouse over things as you explore, as edit options often don't appear until you do. The GUI is resizable, but only down to a width of 1024 px.

The Device Manager Overview is just that, providing status of key functions. This page isn't customizable, but you can click on the numbers or words in the lower six modules and go directly to its main admin page. Clicking on the Health Status takes you to the Monitoring main page, complete with Linux process list.

My main complaint here is that the Overview doesn't reflect volume problems. I took the screenshot below after pulling out Drive #4 of a four-drive RAID 5 volume. The number of disks is properly reflected, but I would say that this condition should not result in Health OK.

SBS-R8 Welcome page

SBS-R8 Welcome page

That little bitty red 1" in the lower left next to Volume 1 is the only GUI clue that something is amiss. But you need to click on it to go to the Volume screen where the problem is clearly spelled out, with a graphic showing a missing drive and everything.

If you happened to be looking at the NAS-4 front panel, you would also notice the power switch backlight turned from white to blinking red. This is where an audible indicator would come in handy.

Many of the admin screens remain the same as those shown in the rackmount's gallery, so check it out if you'd like to explore more. The gallery below contains views with commentary of new screens found in the NAS-2 and -4.

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