TopBanana (15th November 2010)
The Snap Server 110 from Overland is their entry level NAS box and has been around in a variety of increasing sizes for a number of years now. Itís not what could be called small for a single drive device; in fact it resembles a grey plastic half-height shoe box with activity lights on the front. The device supplied to us for review is an older 160GB model and according to Overland you can now get these up to 2TB in size. The rear of the box contains 4xUSB 2.0 ports as well as Gb LAN and a serial port for diagnostics and configuration.
The device also goes beyond conventional NAS boxes in that even given its small size it has iSCSI built in, although this has to be licenced separately to activate, it will just as happily work as an IP attached storage device. The basics aside, this device also has a lot of smarts. It is administered via the Overland Guardian OS which is accessed via a browser based GUI, and although the interface does resemble something created in FrontPage 97 it is usable and easily navigated. It also provides support for USB connected tape drives and printers, which it will act as a print server for and non-networks USB printers you might attach. Coupled with built in disk quotas and the ability to take snapshots it goes way beyond more expensive devices.
Network options are many and support for Active Directory, Apple, NFS, DHCP, FTP, SSH and SNMP are all there, as well as the ability to talk to network attached UPS devices for automatic shutdown and start-up in the event of power failures.
In operation the devices is almost silent, although it does do a fan check on start-up and shutdown which is a little noisy, and file operations are sped along with the aid of the onboard 1Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM and given its low profile can sit quite happily unnoticed in an office or server room.
In IO operations itís no laggard either. Using Iometer as our benchmarking tool we see a return in iSCSI operations of:
ē 80.37 average IOps
ē 0.84 MBps
ē 12ms average response time
This is pretty impressive for such a small device operating over a LAN.
The only problem I see for such a device in a school environment is in just how to employ it. It would make an ideal remote backup device for D2D2T (Disk to Disk to Tape) operations using itís built in USB tape drive compatibility, or in smaller schools a great way of increasing shared storage for both classroom and office use. However, for larger schools looking for more capacity, resilience and features then they should begin to look at the Snap Server 210 (2 drive version) upwards.
Pricing is very keen too as the device can be purchased for about £220 (ex VAT) for the 250GB version up to £500 for the 1TB+ models. The iSCSI license will set you back an additional £36. Remember please that this is an industry level product, and whilst there are some cheaper iSCSI enclosures available from online retailers, I doubt they will have the longevity, features and reliability of the Snap Server 110.
Our thanks go to Net-Ctrl Ltd for the loan of the device for testing and if you want further information on the device, or any other Snap Servers in the range please contact them on:
Net-Ctrl Ltd: 01473 281 211
TopBanana (15th November 2010)
great review fella
Used SNAP servers in my last (commercial sector) job and they were simply stunning. Great performance and very reliable, though at the time very expensive, seems they are more affordable fro the education sector now so well worth a look.
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