More and more NAS servers and appliances for home users and SMB are appearing on the market, and it is getting increasingly difficult to find the best one. Typically, manufacturers are proud of the hardware they use, as faster XOR processing power will result in better RAID 5 performance. 3Gen claims to be the fastest one with its IntelliNAS DT40, which is based on a Celeron D430 at 1.8 GHz and 512 MB RAM (upgradeable to 4 GB). However, we are sure that Thecus and QNAP would object and suggest one of their own products.
The IntelliNAS holds up to four hard drives and is exceptionally well finished (at least the models shown on the booth). But it also comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which can be teamed to increase throughput. The hot swap bays are of excellent quality – we would say better than the plastic frames we’re used to. IntelliNAS supports RAID levels 0, 1 and 5, allows users to create local backups to other storage devices via USB 2.0 and it comes with a very intuitive, but comprehensive user interface. While we cannot comment on the performance, we believe that the user interface is the best of its kind.
The second device we saw was the 3Gen Restore. This one is a backup box based on Gigabit Ethernet – if you want it is a NAS server, but specialized on system image backup. 3Gen provides a backup tool, which works very much like Symantec Ghost or Acronis TrueImage: It creates an entire image of your system partition or other drives. This tool can be configured to create additional snapshots on a regular basis, which will all be stored to the 3Gen Restore box. This way, it’s possible to secure changes every two minutes to be able to restore almost your real-time data in case of a system-wide disaster. In a worst-case scenario, you can use the software CD and boot on another system, where you can restore the entire system image, or simply get the files you need.