The two biggest enemies to any small or mid-sized IT shop are cost and complexity.
Network storage products can either be friend or foe in these regards, and making the right choice will often make its results known in short order.
That's why LG's N4B2 Network-Attached Storage solution strikes us as a winner. The NAS we looked at can support up to 4 TB of storage (in four separate HDD bays). It works with multiple client platforms, multiple storage media, and has a small and manageable footprint of 7 and a half inches wide by 11 and a half inches deep by 10 and a half inches tall. It is built with a sleek, metallic mesh-like facing and wrapped by a smooth, hard white casing.
Here are some of the many reasons why we liked this device:
• Ease of installation -- The N4B2 needed only to be attached to the network via Ethernet cable, plugged in to a power source, and booted up to be network-ready; the LED display on the front of the box let us know that it was up and running with no problems. On the client device (we used a Windows 7 PC), installation of the software-management application took about four minutes as a wizard walked us through set up. Literally, this NAS was up and running on the network less than 15 minutes out of the box;
• Performance -- We installed EMC's Retrospect Express backup software on the Windows 7 PC, and initiated backup of 100 GB of data to the N4B2, across the network, that was fully completed in less than a 20 minutes on a first backup. That's nice performance in our opinion;
• Cross-platform capability -- Not only were we able to easily map the network drive on the Windows 7 PC, but the N4B2 was instantly recognized by a MacBook Air that was wirelessly connected to the network. Signing into the drive, from a Mac, with the admin-assigned password allowed access to the assigned drive. The administrator has the option of turning on or off Time Machine backups from Macs on the network. Turning that option on provides for seamless backup using Apple's technology;
• Blu-ray backup -- The N4B2 provides easy, Blu-ray backup of files. This can serve as a solid, lower-cost alternative to tape backup for use, among other things, in off-site data storage. A 4 GB file too approximately 10 minutes to burn to disc on the NAS over the network.
• Management is a breeze -- The administrative console provides a full menu of management options, including user management, log management, backup scheduling and management of applications including torrent clients, power management and more;
• In addition to Blu-ray, the N4B2 is built with SD card and USB support, providing additional means of data transfer and backup.
The device uses administrative control and password authentication for security, so organizations with additional security protocols and requirements may not be great candidates for this NAS inside their organizations. Still, for entry-level control, management, storage and backup, LG’s offering provides a terrific option.
Street pricing on this product can range between $700 and $775, putting it in a nice, sweet spot for SMB.
The CRN Test Center can recommend the LG N4B2 for small and mid-sized businesses looking to bolster their network storage, backup and recovery capability.