Fastora Eases Workgroup Storage

The Fastora NAS-104 is a good fit for smaller Windows shops.

Axiomteks latest NAS appliance, the Fastora NAS-104, is a good way to handle data storage and backup chores at small and midsize companies.

The Fastora NAS-104 features Microsofts Windows Storage Server 2003 operating system and is thus more suited to Windows environments than previous Fastora versions, which used Axiomteks FreeBSD-based operating system. The latest edition offers native advanced file server capabilities such as support for Volume Shadow Copy Service, enhanced Server Message Block protocol and NFS performance, and iSCSI support.

The Fastora NAS-104 is available starting at $2,800 for as much as 320GB of storage, and the 1U (1.75-inch) form factor is a space saver. The $2,700 system I tested was equipped with four 20GB IDE hard drives. All Fastora NAS-104 systems come standard with dual Ethernet ports and an optional Gigabit Ethernet port to support failover.

In tests, I found the Fastora NAS easy to set up and manage. The system is easy to service, and the power supplies can be removed easily. However, the hard drives are hard to replace. I had to remove the front panel and unscrew the drives; it would be better if there were quick-release levers for the drives.

Reliability is important, even for a workgroup NAS device, and the Fastora offers RAID 0, 1 and 5 as well as hot-spare configurations with its four hot-swappable ATA-133 drives. Id like to see support for Serial ATA drives in a future release, for even better I/O performance.

Dual 250-watt redundant power supplies ensure better uptime. Management is simple, using a Web GUI provided by the operating system.

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