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Storage

Introduction

Updated 4/27/2010 - Hot swap is supported
CTERA C200
At a Glance
Product CTERA Network Attached Storage with Online Backup (C200)
Summary Dual-drive NAS with decent performance and good local and cloud backup features.
Pros • Good Performance
• Very nice user interface
• Low power
Cons • No eSATA ports
• Noisy after it warms up
• Relatively expensive

Since we reviewed CTERA's Cloudplug last fall, the company has made two significant changes. The first is that they have decided to focus on their core business as a "cloud" storage provider and stop directly selling their two hardware products.

The second is that they have a new Version 2.0 firmware release, which adds secure remote access, local snapshots, mobile device backup and more. This review will focus on the new V 2.0 firmware features running on the dual-drive C200, which I have not previously reviewed.

Figure 1 shows the rear of the C200, which contains a single 10/100/1000 Ethernet port that supports up to 9K jumbo frames and two USB 2.0 ports. Unlike the Cloudplug, however, the C200 does not include an eSATA port. This is a shame, given all the backup tricks that the C200 can do.

C200 rear panel

Figure 1: C200 rear panel

CTERA shipped the C200 with two Hitachi 0F10379 DeskStar 7K1000.C 250 GB drives already installed. But if I had had to do it myself, access is easy as shown in Figure 2 below.

Drive installation

Figure 2: Drive installation

Once the drives are in, you just plug in the power adapter and don't even have to press the power button to start the boot. The drive announced itself via UPnP (it also will do so via Bonjour), so I was able to find its login page with no problem. The C200 defaults to HTTP access. But if you change the URL to HTTPS, it will switch right over to secure access.

Internal Details

I couldn't get the C200 stripped down all the way, so wasn't able to get a clear shot of the main board. Figure 3 shows some of the covers removed, which brings the thin sheet metal chassis, part of the main board, the drive backplane and cabling and blower into view.

Partial inside view

Figure 3: Partial inside view

Figure 4 shows what little of the main board I could see. The main processor is under a heatsink, but I was able to clearly see 512 MB of RAM and also spy a Marvell marking on the Ethernet chip. So I'm taking not so great a leap to guess that the design hews closely to that of the Cloudplug, with a Marvell 88F6281 Kirkwood SoC processor under the heatsink, most likely of the 1.2 GHz flavor.

Partial board view

Figure 4: Partial board view

If the design is true to the Cloudplug's, the Ethernet interface is a Marvell 88E1116R.

The C200 drew about 19W with the drives spun up and the blower was very noticeable after the product had been on for awhile. There is no dampening in the cabinet, so drive noise transferred directly to the thin metal frame, which amplified it and added some gentle buzzing of its own. So I have to rate its noise medium low; you'll definitely notice it in a quiet room.

I wanted to measure power consumption with the programmable drive sleep kicked in, but it didn't seem to work.

Setting Up

Setting up is the same as for the Cloudplug. A first time wizard prompts you to assign a device password, configure the drives for the desired storage type and optionally set up an account with the CTERA "Cloud" portal. If you'd like more details, just hit the Cloudplug review.

It appears that CTERA has opted for yearly subscriptions for its Cloud service and bundled them into the price of the hardware. The quote I got from CTERA's Condre Storage partner pegs a base C200 at $371 with a year of 10 GB of online storage. You can upgrade to 25 or 50 GB for $99 and $199, respectively.

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