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Thecus W5000 WSS NAS Review

Low-cost Windows Storage Servers (WSS) give small businesses access to enterprise-class features at a desktop price.

Our Verdict

I've worked with the N5550, and now the W5000. The only difference is that the Linux version (N5550) ships with a DOM boot device (slow embedded storage), and the Windows version (W5000) ships with a hard drive that is 10 times faster. Somehow, the Linux version is faster than the Windows version and costs less. Save some money — don't fear preloaded Linux, and enjoy the performance benefits.

For

  • Windows Server is a powerful tool that some may find easier to manage or less intimidating than Linux.

Against

  • Windows kills the NAS experience. From the initial setup to the application of a workload, Windows is the weak link in the W5000 NAS appliance.

Introduction

And Thecus was the first company with appliances based on a new class of Windows Storage Server software, which was designed for small businesses looking for affordable, cloud-connected network-attached storage.

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials fits between the limited WSS Workgroup and more fully featured WSS Standard software from Microsoft. Essentials uses Windows Storage Spaces like the other WSS versions (that's a fancy name for software-defined storage for SMB users). But in reality, Storage Spaces simply fills in a few more check boxes than the Windows software RAID we've had for years.

Of course, adding functionality is a good thing. Storage Spaces brings SSD caching to software RAID, though it only works in RAID 10. RAID 0, RAID 5 and RAID 6 were enhanced with DRAM buffers, but when you peel away the fancy name and write data out of cache, the performance is still reminiscent of Windows software RAID.

That isn't to say WSS doesn't have a place in the market. Despite how easy NAS companies try to make Linux configuration, Windows remains more accessible. No matter when you were born, there's a good chance that Microsoft's baby was the operating system you learned first. The name alone is a familiar greeting when you turn on a PC. People know it, use it and, regardless of how much of a pain it can be, love it. Just look at the backlash Microsoft received after trying to change it.