Storage made simple

Storage made simple

Iomega's NAS P405u is aimed at midsize businesses looking for a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to add storage to their networks - and that's just what it provides. The NAS P405u is storage at its simplest. But it can also be more than that.

Although Iomega's P series NAS servers are essentially 1U boxes of disks, they are, in fact, carefully thought-out, versatile boxes of disks. What's even better is that Iomega's careful planning has resulted in a server that's easy on the company that chooses it. Your staff won't require additional training, and management of the server won't be a burden. Because the NAS P405u supports Windows, NetWare, Mac OS, and Unix clients, users won't be excluded on the basis of their operating system. At $A9,000, the NAS P405u is no more expensive than any other means you might have of putting this much storage online.

The only real drawback of the NAS P405u is that you'll need to buy a bigger one oradd another one if you require more storage than the unit provides.

The most time-consuming part of setting up the NAS P405u is getting it out of the box, and that's only because Iomega includes everything you're likely to need when you install the unit, including a variety of Ethernet cables. When our test unit was unpacked, all we had to do was attach the power and network cables then turn the unit on. After the blue LED on the front display stopped blinking a few seconds later, the box was ready to run.

There is a minor amount of setup required, and even that's optional. The included NAS Discover program seeks out the new server and presents you with the server's current settings. If you have DHCP on your network and are willing to use it to assign an address to the NAS, you have nothing else to do. We spent approximately two minutes assigning an IP address and a NetWare external network number, and then our NAS P405u was ready for use.

Using the server requires you only to assign authorised users to the storage device. If you want the NAS to be a shared disk in a common pool of storage, you can simply add each user. You can assign read and write privileges, divide the basic disk space into more manageable volumes, and create protected folders, assigning or excluding specific users to them.

After that, all you have to do is map each user's workstation to the NAS device. But if you plan to use the NAS device as a place to store information for use by a Windows or other server, you won't need to do the mapping. That way, you can store Web content, for example, to be published by the Windows server and in the process make the NAS unreachable to outsiders, greatly enhancing security.

The NAS P405u ships with 360GB of raw storage. The machine we reviewed was configured as a RAID Level 5 device, and as a result, about 220GB of storage was actually available. The unit ships with hot-swappable drives. You can order the NAS P405u with Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Our test unit was equipped with Fast Ethernet.

Once the NAS P405u is set up on your network, there's little else to do beyond administering users. The unit supports browser-based administration, providing embedded Web pages for adding, changing, or removing users and groups, assigning them to specific storage areas, and assigning them specific access privileges.

The NAS P405u is one of those products that addresses a specific task, performs that task well, and places few demands on users or administrators. If all your organisation needs is a fast, inexpensive means to add a couple hundred gigs of extra storage, it's hard to see how you could go wrong with the Iomega P405u or its siblings.

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