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HP Media Vault: Big in size and performance

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November 21, 2006 11:54:57 AM

HP's entry into the consumer NAS market might take the prize for size. But Jim Buzbee found it has award-worthy performance and features, too.
November 22, 2006 2:41:56 PM

I've been looking for a NAS for a long time now and so far, everything I've seen pushes me further and futher to the "build-your-own" camp. However, this box sounds almost perfect. I specially like the low power consumption numbers. Although the 1.2Tb limit is a little disconcerting, I don't think I'll be needing more storage than that for a while!

One question I have is encryption. I know that the EXT3 file-system does not support transparent encryption (unlike say NTFS on a Windows box) but I'm wondering if there some software that can be installed on this box to perform transparent and on-the-fly encryption for an entire partition without having to install client software.

I guess this is a general question about all Linux based NAS boxes and not the HP Media vault in particular...

Thanks!
November 23, 2006 8:45:15 AM

Quote:
if the internal drive dies, the MV becomes a doorstop. It can be a bit tricky because portions of the Linux operating system are oftentimes resident on the drive


If the operating system is on the first drive, raid 1 or not, if the first drive burn you loose your data...
I hope Hp puts it on a flash memory.

This nas seems to be better than the buggy dlink dns-323.
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November 25, 2006 10:57:56 AM

Quote:
I've been looking for a NAS for a long time now and so far, everything I've seen pushes me further and further to the "build-your-own" camp.


If you have the know-how I really don't see any compelling reason to not build your own. So far, the performance offered by any off the shelf solution is completely atrocious. I have a NAS that I built myself. OK, actually it's my Linux box but I don't really use it for anything else than a big 1.6 TB NAS. It's got an athlon XP 2500, 768 MB of memory, 6 harddrives in no RAID whatsoever, and most importantly an Intel Pro MT gigabit network card. It does about 40 MB/s file transfers on average in real life, and bounces around using the testing protocol Tom uses from a minimum of 16 MB/s on really large files (Ext3 seems to suck at big files) to 60 MB/s on files 512 MB and smaller. I know the parts cost me money sometime in my life, but aside from the nic and drives I've added to increase the capacity, I had all the parts just lying around anyways.

Is it louder and bigger and takes more electricity to run than an off the shelf solution? YES! But for me the performance is completely worth it. Every time I see a NAS device reviewed the poor performance completely appals me.
November 27, 2006 2:22:48 AM

Good evening,

I like the review that Tomshardware and Cnet did on this, So I have the MV2020 on order will take about 2 weeks for it to come in, as its new to the market. But I am looking forward to using it.

Should meet my needs.

Thanks,

WayNorth, Canadian.
November 27, 2006 2:30:23 PM

Tim,

A timely article as I am looking for a network storage solution for my small elementary school.

Question: Is there a "flavor" of NAS (or other acronym) that would basically take the place of a file server?
Of necessity I have built the school's network piecemeal on the cheap over the past 15 years.
The current configuration is still peer-to-peer with everyone running Windows XP Pro from the desktop.
With a limited budget (read unable to afford a move to Microsoft Small Server) and a population that requires up to 40 users with simultaneous access, I'm currently meeting the students' file storage and access needs by mapping a desktop drive letter to a "server" running Windows 98SE - which allows unlimited users compared to XP and XPPro's 5 and 10.
This works fairly well but I'm wondering if a form of attached storage is a feasible alternative.
The Media Vault has a maximum of 5 simultaneous users.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Mike Nowell
The School in Rose Valley
November 28, 2006 5:17:06 AM

In this situation a Linux server is probably the best way to go. As far as performance goes, you can throw as much hardware as you want at it, and it makes very efficient use of it compared to modern Windows systems. The software can be completely free, or if you want direct support you can pay for one of the commercial distros. There is absolutely no limit to the number of simultaneous users, only what your hardware and network limit you to. Also, Samba version 4 (which is still in beta) completely emulates an Active Directory 2003 server and the current version 3 has most of this functionality as well. In case you're confused right now, Samba is just a filesharing service that runs on Linux and emulates Windows native file-sharing, print-sharing, and domain authentication. I got my Bachelor's degree from a college of about 2600 students and even though a large majority of the lab machines were running Windows XP, all of the back-end servers for domain logins and profile/network storage for the students were running Linux and Samba.

If you're wondering about performance issues, I used the box I described above to host many "desirable" files at a LAN party consisting of about 50 computer gamers. The hardware was actually less than what I currently have, CPU was only a 1 Ghz early Athlon and memory was only 512 MB back then. The server was completely hammered to the point that the HDD activity light was on solid for hours at a time, yet there was never any hiccup or slowdown accessing the server.

It will take some research and some learning, but I think Linux and Samba will provide a perfect solution for you.
November 28, 2006 10:31:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback. The Linux/Samba combo is one of the solutions I have been looking at, but the front end time investment had me relegating it to a secondary choice.

I appreciate your thorough description and real-life example.
November 28, 2006 11:52:50 AM

Quote:
I like the article - and the price tag is not that bad actually...

One thing though I still did not get - when you say quite, how do you define it? below 30db - more - less ?


I am the HP employee quoted whose site is linked in the article. I host a FAQ and user group for the HP Media Vault. The acoustic noise of the HP Media Vault was measured at 28.6 dbA per ISO 7779 while the drives were performing random seeks.

-Lee Devlin
http://www.k0lee.com/hpmediavault
November 28, 2006 12:00:00 PM

Quote:
if the internal drive dies, the MV becomes a doorstop. It can be a bit tricky because portions of the Linux operating system are oftentimes resident on the drive


If the operating system is on the first drive, raid 1 or not, if the first drive burn you loose your data...
I hope Hp puts it on a flash memory.

This nas seems to be better than the buggy dlink dns-323.

There is boot up code in flash memory, and a small portion of the Linux OS. The rest of the OS is on the System drive. In the case that the System drive crashes, it's possible to recover the HP Media Vault over the network using some downloadable utilities and firmware image .

-Lee Devlin
http://www.k0lee.com/hpmediavault
November 28, 2006 12:18:13 PM

Quote:


The Media Vault has a maximum of 5 simultaneous users.



Hi Mike,

The HP Media Vault does not have any limit enforced on the maximum number of simultaneous users. It has been tested with up to 25 simultaneous users and so I'm not sure where the number 5 came from. Please let me know where you found it so that I can correct it.

Thanks,

Lee Devlin
http://www.k0lee.com/hpmediavault
November 28, 2006 12:58:17 PM

Lee,

I got that directly from HP Customer Service via a live chat.

Mike
March 6, 2007 5:18:43 PM

Can anyone tell me how to configure the media vault so I can access it remotely. It is at my office, I like to be able to get to my files from home. I was under the impression after reading the review on Tomshardware that you could do this with a few small tweaks. A breakdown of instructions would make my day.
!