Data Sharing Is a Snap

Snap's server/disk combo ratchets storage up to 3 terabytes.

With the ability to scale to 3 terabytes of storage, Snap Appliance Inc.s Snap Server 4500/Snap Disk 10 NAS combo is a strong choice for data sharing and archiving needs in any workgroup environment, eWEEK Labs tests show.

The Snap Server 4500 is designed as a stand-alone, network-attached-storage device and can store 1 terabyte of data in workgroup or departmental environments. However, because most workgroup NAS systems cant scale with expansion RAID systems, IT managers will likely have to purchase additional Snap Servers to accommodate data growth or move their data to tape storage.

The Snap Server 4500, which shipped earlier this year, is reasonably priced at $4,495 for a 640GB model and $5,795 for a 1-terabyte-capacity device. (We tested the 1-terabyte design.) GuardianOS 2.6, an operating system upgrade that allows the server to support the Snap Disk 10, became available last month.

The $3,995 Snap Disk 10, released in October, lets the Snap Server 4500 scale to 3 terabytes using two Snap Disk 10 expansion arrays. The Snap Disk 10 has the same form factor as the Snap Server 4500, standing 1U (1.75 inches) high, and can hold four Serial ATA hard drives. The products are sold separately.

Snap Server 4500 and Snap Disk 10

Snap Appliances Snap Server 4500/Snap Disk 10 combo is a good choice for workgroup environments with large file storage or archiving needs. The Snap Disk 10 provides added storage scalability, while the included software bundle can help sites roll out storage with ready-to-go backup and anti-virus capabilities. The Snap Servers starting price is $4,495; two Snap Disk 10 units can be added for $3,995 each.
















  • PRO: Large storage capacity in small form factor; scalable with Snap Disk 10 and Serial ATA PCI controller; supports wide range of clients; comes with useful software bundle.
  • CON: Lacks redundant power supplies; Snap Disk 10 works only with Snap Server 4500.

• Dells PowerVault 725N
• Hewlett-Packard Co.s StorageWorks NAS 1000s
• Iomegas NAS 400/m

To reach its 3-terabyte capacity, the Snap Server 4500 must be outfitted with a Serial ATA PCI controller with dual external ports for two Snap Disk 10 units. To support this expansion array, IT managers must also upgrade older Snap Server 4500s with Version 2.6 of Snaps Linux-based GuardianOS, which is available as a free upgrade for registered customers.

The 1-terabyte Snap Server 4500 includes an Intel Corp. 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of DDR (double-data-rate) ECC (error-correcting code) synchronous dynamic RAM and dual onboard Gigabit NICs. It can hold up to four 250GB Serial ATA drives. The Snap Server 4500s two PCI expansion slots can hold SCSI Ultra160 cards for tape drive attachment or the Serial ATA controller used to support Snap Disk 10 expansion arrays.

The Snap Server/Snap Disk 10 combo supports RAID 0, 1 and 5 with hot-swappable hard drives and dual NICs for redundancy. Both devices lack redundant power supplies, and IT managers will have to purchase uninterruptible-power-supply devices to ensure better uptime.

Currently, the drives on the Snap Server 4500 and Snap Disk 10 cannot be combined into a single RAID volume, but future updates will enable that configuration, according to Snap officials.

The Linux-based Snap Server 4500 competes with Windows-powered workgroup NAS devices such as Iomega Corp.s NAS 400/m and Dell Inc.s PowerVault 725N, which use comparable hardware and provide similar client support and snapshot features.

The Snap Server supports Common Internet File System, Network File System and AppleShare clients. Active Directory and Windows Domain integration are also supported, and the Java-based Snap Manager makes it easy to manage the entire system. The application can be accessed via a Web browser.

The Snap Server/Snap Disk combo has the edge over Windows-based rivals in external scalability. We found the Snap Servers clean Web administration interface much easier to use than the Windows-powered NAS offerings.

The Snap Server 4500 comes with PowerQuest Corp.s DataKeeper and Computer Associates International Inc.s eTrust anti-virus software preinstalled, so IT managers can roll out the Snap Server with backup and anti-virus capabilities ready to go.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at