At first glance, the Maxtor Central Axis NAS (network-attached storage) device seems like a godsend for small businesses.
Providing 1 terabyte of plug-and-play storage for $319, the Maxtor Central Axis from Seagate Technology goes a long way towards meeting the storage needs of most small businesses. However, inconsistencies in the provided backup and management software, along with heat concerns, keep the Maxtor Central Axis from being a real storage savior for small businesses.
But that’s not to say that the device isn’t an attractive option. To get the Maxtor Central Axis up and running on my network. I simply had to plug in an Ethernet cable and turn it on. To find the Central Axis NAS, I could install the Maxtor software, which had automatic discovery capabilities, or simply check my DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) records to find the device on my network and navigate to the browser-based administration interface.
The Maxtor Central Axis works as a normal network-attached device, with most of the features one expects (though I would have liked to have seen FTP support). One nice feature is the inclusion of Web-based access through a free Seagate service.
Using this service, I could access files on my Central Axis device over the Internet on any Web browser. To use it, I only had to enable the feature on my Central Axis device-I didn’t have to change on port for??Ãwarding features or make any other network tweaks. The connection used SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to protect the file transfers, and I could download individual files or whole folders, which the software auto??Ãmatically converted to zip files for download.
Another nice feature on the Max??Ãtor Central Axis was the support to attach any USB storage drive to add additional space to the drive. This worked pretty seamlessly, with the software automatically format??Ãting the new drive for use on the system.
However, by far the biggest weak??ínesses for the Maxtor Central Axis are in its software. The device relies on both the Web-based interface and the Maxtor software, and it wasn’t always clear where tasks had to be completed-some things could only be done in the Web interface, some only in the software and some could be done in both. I basically had to have both open at the same time to properly manage the device.
The software also includes the Maxtor backup systems, which seem to be geared primarily towards home and individual use and not business use, as they are mainly focused on backing up folders in a user’s Docu??íments & Settings. Typical business type backups, including Outlook backups, are essentially ignored in this system.
However, this isn’t a huge draw??íback-a person can still use any other backup system they like with this device.
Fanless devices such as the Maxtor Central Axis have a tendency to run hot, though this device seemed to run especially hot, being almost too hot to touch. Seagate does provide a five-year limited warranty for the device.
Despite some of these limitations, the Maxtor Central Axis NAS is still worth a look simply because of its ease of deployment and the simple fact that it provides a terabyte of network storage for $319.
For more information on the Maxtor Central Axis go to http://www.maxtor.com/en/hard-drive-backup/external-drives/maxtor-central-axis.html.
Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza can be reached at [email protected].