Five Simple Enhancements
To make NAS devices as simple to use as possible, the manufacturers have done five things. First, all of the devices are DHCP-aware; its no longer necessary to hook up a console or a terminal to configure them (though thats still an available option). Just plug them into your network, and theyll help themselves to an IP address.
Second, they all now support the common protocols you need and would expect, including CIFS (Common Internet File System), FTP, HTTP, NFS (Network File System), and even AppleTalk. This means that doing nothing more complicated than clicking on a check box, you can enable (or disable, since many of these products arrive with everything turned on as the default) the specific support your network needs. Integrating NAS devices into your network, be it NetWare, Unix, Windows, or any combination thereof, is as simple as making the correct choices while in the configuration screens.
Third, multiple network interfaces, including dual 10/100 Ethernet connections, are offered as standard. And Gigabit Ethernet is either standard or offered as an option on all the appliances.
Fourth, the products can pull user data directly from your Windows or NetWare servers, meaning that no special user configuration is required. This is an incredible time saver. (In the past, adding users was a manual task.) Because of this, you can make use of your normal management tool and either add users to an existing group or create special groups.
Finally, the products in our roundup offer easily accessible Web interfaces for management and configuration. This often means that no special setup software is required, and you can accomplish continuing management tasks from any computer with a Web browser.