Two terabytes of network-attached storage SATA-based RAID storage and an iSCSI desktop disaster recovery platform all within one small compact unit for under £900? Seems unlikely, yet LaCie, with a little help from its friends, appears to have pulled it off. Or has it..? The imaginatively titled Ethernet Disk RAID is the first …
Questions I'd like to see answered are:
Do I have root? Can I install other packages?
Things like this would allow the rededication of this to a media server, for example. For that, you'd want to be able to install Linux packages to, for example 1) allow network booting for a diskless HTPC 2) allow media server software to be installed (e.g. the MythTV product for server, or the linux server software for products like the NetDVD Cinema or even Mac Mini) 3) since it has to be on all the time, run a firewall on there (or virus scanner)
Without these capabilities, it can be used as network storage. Whoopie. I can buy a remaindered PC of similar spec and install Linux on it and get 2TB of storage for the same price or less. And get a better product out of it.
RAID 5 in software is notoriously horrible, which probably explains the crappy write rates you experienced. It would be interesting to know what the read rates were - I'd expect them to be much better.
An alternative would be to configure the device as RAID 1 (or 10, 0+1 whichever it supports). This should have far better performance, and ought to give you the same storage as 5 + hot spare (two disks worth in each case). Of course, you've lost the hot spare in that case, which might be an issue.
Comparison to Buffalo Terastation
I potentially question the review's closing comment "You'll be hard pushed to find a more-cost effective way of adding 2TB of storage to the network.". Yes, it's cheap, but I'm seeing the 2TB Buffalo Terrastation (well, actually I think they only do the "Home Server" version now, but it's essentially the same thing) for about 750 quid (inc VAT).
I don't think the Buffalo has the iSCSI stuff but, as a basic RAID5 NAS device, it looks to be every bit as competitive as the LaCie, if not more so.
I'd be really interested in knowing how the LaCie and Buffalo compare in terms of performance, noise and heat (probably in that order of descending importance). I'm seriously looking for a source from which to stream my CDs and DVDs. I'm not too fussed about write performance, it's a once-only operation so I suspect either of these solutions would be OK but on price the Buffalo seems better and the general concensus is that it's nice and quiet.
If you are looking for performance and up to 3TB then try the AMCC 3ware Sidecar - only for Macpro right now but PC version is ready and will start to ship in 30 days time.
Many thanks for your reply Tim,
Unfortunately root access has been disabled as a feature in the recent firmware updates, sorry.