back to article Review: Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

Western Digital makes Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and recently sent a Sentinel DX4000 to El Reg for review. When I was asked to write about it I was initially unsure exactly how I would approach this: where's the novelty in a small consumer or SME device? The Sentinel stands out for me not only because it's the first …

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FAIL

all you need to know

"Windows-based NAS "

move along, nothing to see here.

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Re: all you need to know

Put Linux on it instead?

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Re: all you need to know

Ah. Blinkered and narrow-minded doesn't even begin to describe your comment.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: all you need to know

@AC15

But you are paying for a preconfigured system with an MS License as well as the iSCSI software license (I can't remember the name). I wouldn't buy it if I was going to replace the OS with Linux.

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Alternatively you could...

Personally I bought a small tower chassis for a local SMB, with 4 removable 3Tb drives in an ICY box, 2 * 1Ge Nic card, Loaded Nas4free onto a 2Gb USB stick and booted from that. configured the 4 drives as a ZFS volume and get all the benefits of ZFS, including AFS, CIFS, NFS, iSCSI. £850 including the disks. Web interface for management and great performance. No linux knowledge etc needed for setup either.

Not for everyone as an approach but I slep easie with the ZFS file system protecting the data. Never lost data with ZFS yet.

BR M

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Silver badge

Did I understand that correctly:

An NAS that requires a Windows client to set it up?

Sorry guys...

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WTF?

£1580 ?!?!

HP Microserver: ~£160 after cashback for the 2.2GHz one (probably about £100 for the older 1.5GHz one).

4TB disks: £160 (£640 for 4)

FreeNAS: Free

Total: £800

£780 seems a bit steep for a Windows licence.

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Headmaster

Re: £1580 ?!?!

It's not Windows, it's the NAS Tax. Google "16TB NAS" and you'll find they're all similarly priced, regardless of Windows base.

A homemade NAS is fine, and I've used one. But I wouldn't trust anything business critical with it. The thing that killed FreeNAS for me (not least because you need some form of boot drive in addition to your data drives) was when it entered a degraded state - and didn't feel the need to email me an alert.

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Re: £1580 ?!?!

Agreed. I'm actually working on a NAS for home right now & I'm also going down the HP Microserver route - already have one running a db & it's just ideal, & quiet!

It's working out at about £800 like you say, eg £150 for good 4TB drives - no Green ones - they are evil.

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FAIL

Re: £1580 ?!?!

No dual gig ethernet, no Starwind iSCSI, no redundant power supply, no USB 3, no easy configuration.

And it's £1405 on Dabs

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Re: £1580 ?!?!

"No dual gig ethernet, no Starwind iSCSI, no redundant power supply, no USB 3, no easy configuration."

And no hardware RAID (though there's a pseudo RAID0/1 card)

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Re: @Annihilator

"A homemade NAS is fine, and I've used one. But I wouldn't trust anything business critical with it."

I have used "enterprise level" NAS at work and to be honest would not trust it any more.

Repeat after me "RAID is not backup"...

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Meh

Re: @Annihilator

I know RAID's not backup, but I also know that anything worth its salt will tell you if an array member becomes dodgy, which FreeNAS failed to do (and doesn't offer the option). RAID gives you some level of contingency, FreeNAS's implementation of it gives you that but with no warning if it disappears.

Disclaimer, this was nearly 2 years ago - it may have been modified since, but the experience has scarred me into never going back.

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Re: £1580 ?!?!

+1

..oh and you forgot couple of quid for small USB drive that you can plug into the internal USB socket on the mobo for the OS so that all your drives remain for storage.

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Alert

Re: £1580 ?!?!

I just popped for the MicroServer myself and while I was happy tinkering about with FreeNAS, Open Media Vault and Ubuntu server looking to choose the best option I can totally see why my father-in-law opted for a pre-configured system where somebody else has done most of the hard work. The skills that we IT experts have are valuable ones and it seems only fair that the non-techies have to pay to get something easy to use.

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M7S
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Coat

"ganging up a bunch of swallows to carry the thing off".

African or European?

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Re: "ganging up a bunch of swallows to carry the thing off".

Thank you for getting it. I was getting worried.

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Pint

Re: "ganging up a bunch of swallows to carry the thing off".

redmondian.......

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Gimp

clarke@cilia.org

"I'm torn on rating this device. Western Digital spent the past decade making "My Book" external RAID-0 hard drives. I consider the very creation and sale of these products to be an example of highly unprofessional negligence."

That's probably user error. We use MyBook units for video backup on seven servers here and the VERY FIRST THING that I do is to switch them from Raid-0 to Raid-1. Yes, the 4TB MyBook that I just bought has turned into a 2TB USB disk but so what? With the 6TB units that we are switching to I also convert the drive to GPT And we also turn off that accursed Windows Search on every one of these backup units.

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Re: clarke@cilia.org

Most customers have no idea what RAID-x means, so no point in telling them. The key aspect here is they should have never been shipped with an unsafe option!

Of course, the other thing is no one should have only one cope on any device, no matter what RAID system is in use. RAID != Backup.

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FAIL

The system will absolutely refuse to do anything until the rebuild process is complete and a rebuild of four 4TB 7200 RPM drives takes over four days

Yeah, no. The kind of person that buys this thinks they are spending £1.5k on something that will ensure their business continues to run in case of failure. This is a RAID array that takes almost the entire working week to rebuild the array, it's worse than useless.

Plus, it's only got 4 bays. What to do when you've filled it, buy the next one? Fuck that.

You can get a 24 bay Norco hot-swap chassis for fuck all these days, put 4 disks in that, put on Nexenta (built in ZFS, NFS, CIFS, iSCSI and a web gui to manage them all), and you can keep adding extra sets of disks as you need them. ZFS at least works when degraded, and a full rebuild is significantly shorter.

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@Tom 38

That sounds interesting... How about knocking up an article for El Reg on the nuts and bolts of how to do it?

Lots of levels of competence on these forums....

/

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