Save Large Amounts of Data with the Seagate 2-Bay NAS Server

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If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon lately and looked into NAS, you may be missing out on one of the most exciting technological advancements for the home since the advent of wireless routers. Network attached storage (NAS) is becoming increasingly popular among home entertainment enthusiasts, archivists, and small, work-at-home entrepreneurs.

The reason? Network attached storage allows you the freedom to store large volumes of digital data and access that data from within your network. You can put every baby picture, every video, every freelanced article you’ve ever written in one place, and access that data from a client meeting, in a class, or at your mom’s house. And the ability to share those files with others cuts back on miscommunication, flash drive storage mishaps (I just had a flash memory card freak out on me—something to do with the NFTS partition—and I lost valuable data on the way to a meeting), or other miscues. What’s on the NAS stays on the NAS, just like Las Vegas.

There are a number of NAS manufacturers out there, and each offers something in their enclosures that sets them apart. A fully loaded enclosure should have the basics—the ability to centralize tasks through a stable and efficient operating system, speedy transfer rates, the ability to interface with a large variety of protocols (like FTP, SMTP mail servers and printer protocols), and RAID management. Throw in remote mobile access, enhanced browser support, and a couple of security measures and you have my vote.

The Seagate NAS 2-Bay enclosure has that and more. Available as a stand-alone unit, or in various capacities from 2TB to 20TB with drives included (like the 4TB or 8TB version that B&H sells), this server has all of the amenities mentioned, and a few extra. Starting from the top, the Seagate 2 Bay NAS is enveloped in the feature-rich Seagate NAS OS 4 environment, which will aid and assist any user, from the home networker to the small business IT manager, in areas like remote access, app management, RAID arrays, DLNA and other entertainment-based protocols, and download management. You can monitor everything from storage capacity to system performance through the icon-based GUI, and you can manage all of your backup options as well, including backing up to an external drive, another NAS, or cloud services.

The apps always make a difference with NAS servers, and the fully loaded Seagate NAS turns on the power and performance with a series of apps that may make the difference between a purchase and a pass. Included are two apps you’ll find both useful and productive. The Seagate Antivirus app delivers daily updates, email notifications and background scanning—all necessary if you share your files, or in a workgroup situation. They also include the Seagate Surveillance Manager, which can turn your NAS into a full-fledged NVR (network video recorder) with support for thousands of camera types, simple setup and auto detection for IP cameras, and the ability to limit the recording to event-based only (the camera only records if something is happening on screen, which saves on storage space).

Another useful app is the Sdrive. With the Sdrive app, you’re allowed unlimited and easy access to your NAS server—wherever you have an Internet connection. The file-based app turns your NAS into a regular file folder for familiarity, so you can access, move and manage files like you would in any folder on your PC or Mac.

The Specs Say it All

Now, down to the nitty-gritty. The hardware is powered by a 1.2GHz ARM processor, enhanced by 512MB of DDR 3 RAM. That’s enough power to handle the server side of the equation—you shouldn’t have any problem with downloading torrents or sharing files with that muscle.

The diskless 2-bay unit includes dual SATA II channels and hot-swappable trays to support the inclusion of 2.5" and 3.5" hard disk drives. Although you can always purchase your own drives for the diskless model, the Seagate hard drives included in the loaded pre-configured enclosures are all 24/7 NAS drives, built especially for server environments. They come in different varieties, including NAS-specific models, from 1TB to 4TB in 2.5" and 3.5" form factors, and enterprise-capacity drives for big data solutions in capacities of 1TB to 6TB, all available in SATA interfaces. You can hot-swap disks, and even mix disks of different capacities through a software controller.

Although the diskless unit can’t be pre-loaded with RAID configurations (you can use the Seagate SimplyRAID application to configure new hard drives), the units that contain hard drives can be configured for RAID 0, RAID 1, or JBOD. There’s even a built in Rescue Mode for data recovery and Auto RAID Migration for transferring data between disks.

The network file protocols that the 2-bay supports include all of the necessary ones you need to do business, including HTTP(S), SMTP, FTP, and UPnP, among others. This allows you to build a mail server, FTP server, or any other type of shared file service for a small home or office network.

If entertainment and digital file streaming is what you need, this unit supports all of the standard protocols, and can do double duty as a DLNA-compatible media streamer. It can also double as a UPnP (universal plug-and-play) or iTunes (DAAP) media streamer.

To get your files from anywhere in the world, you can gain remote access via another PC or Mac, or through iOS and Android mobile devices. You can also access the Sdrive mentioned earlier without port forwarding, which will save you time and hassles, since port-forwarding can be a real pain sometimes, especially when configuring game servers.

Full backup solutions are also a benefit to any server, and this one includes Time Machine support, NAS-to-NAS backup, backup to externals, or even backup to popular web-based cloud storage services like Amazon S3 or Box.com. You can even back up or restore via CIFS/NFS/HTTP or FTP.

The connectivity includes dual 10/100/1000 Base-TX Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 ports, and LED indicators for power and activity. The system-based management tool also lets you monitor hardware status, like the chassis, board, and fan.

With so many options to manage your data, the only question left is how much data you want to store. With capacities up to 20TB, you have a lot of room to hold all of your digital collection. Home streaming your movie or audio collections? No problem. Storing or backing up your business-sensitive records? No problem. Finding a secure place for your professional photos or videos? No problem. Seagate takes pains to make sure your entire digital life is safe and secure—without a problem.

Seagate - 2-Bay NAS Enclosure
Operating System
Seagate NAS OS 4 (embedded Linux)
Capacity
Enclosure Only, 4TB (2 x 2TB), 8TB (2 x 4TB)
Networking
Single Gigabit Network interface
Jumbo frame
DHCP and static IP
IPv4 / IPv6
Dynamic DNS
Network File Protocols and Services
CIFS/SMB
NFS v3
AFP
HTTP(S)
FTP / sFTP
SSH
SNMP
SMTP
NTP
UPnP
Bonjour
WebDAV
DFS-N
Printers
File System
Internal: EXT4
External: EXT2, EXT3, EXT4, NTFS, FAT32, HFS+
iSCSI Block Storage
10 LUN/10 targets
iSCSI target
CHAP authentication
Hardware
ARM 1.2GHz processor
512MB DDRIII
Small desktop form factor Chassis
Power on/off button
System reset button (pinhole)
One-touch backup
Kensington Security Slot
LED for power and disk activity
External Ports
2 x USB 3.0 Ports
2 x 10/100/1000 Base-TX
HDD Support
2 x SATA II channels
Hot swappable HDD trays
Support of 2.5- and 3.5-inch HDD
Diskless: Support HDD on "hard drive compatibility list"
Preconfigured model built with Seagate 3.5" NAS HDD
RAID and Data Management
SimplyRAID (default)
Auto RAID migration, volume expansion, and HDD mix and match
Volume encryption
Rescue mode for volume recovery
Network recycle bin
Standard RAID
JBOD
RAID 0,1
Security
HTTPS access to management UI
Windows Active Directory support
Password authentication and access control
User, user group
Secure Shell (SSH)
AES 256-bit volume encryption
CHAP authentication for iSCSI target
Mutual CHAP
System Management
Web-based GUI through HTTP/HTTPS
System resource monitoring (CPU, memory, network)
Hardware monitoring (chassis, board, fan status)
S.M.A.R.T. info
Event log and management
Product discovery with Seagate Network Assistant
NAS OS installer for diskless setup
Rescue mode and restore to factory settings
Automatic and manual firmware update
System configuration backup / restore
Alert management and email notification
Power
External PSU
12V/48W, 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60 Hz
Power consumption
 • Operation mode:
 • Power-saving mode:
 • WOL mode:
Scheduled power on / off
Power-saving mode w/disk spin-down
Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
Auto power-on after power outage
UPS support for graceful shutdown (USB and network via SNMP)
Physical
Dimensions (mm/in):
170/6.69 H x 120/4.72 W x 218/8.58 D
Weight, without HDD (kg/lb)
1.750/3.86
Temperature
 • Operating (°C): 0 to 40
 • Nonoperating (°C): –40 to 65
Relative Humidity, Operating/Nonoperating (non-condensing, %): 0 to 80/0 to 95
Software
Supported Clients
Windows XP®, Vista, 7, 8
Windows Server 2003/2008R2/2012
Mac OS 10.6 and later
Linux /Unix
Supported Browsers (Latest Versions)
Internet Explorer
Firefox
Safari
Google Chrome
Software Languages
English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Czech
Media Streaming
UPnP A/V media server
DLNA Compatible
iTunes (DAAP) server
MTP and PTP support
Photo browser and audio streaming through web interface
Backup Solution
Support of third-party backup software
Time Machine backup
Manual or scheduled backup job to back up NAS to/from external USB drive
NAS-to-NAS backup, compression options (incremental or full)
NAS to/from Rysnc server, local or remote
Back up and restore via CIFS/NFS/HTTP/FTP
Back up to Amazon S3
Back up to Box.com
Back up and restore system configuration
Remote Access
Remote access with PC, Mac, smartphone and tablet (iOS, Android)
Sdrive cloud-based secure remote access (no port forwarding needed)
MyNAS web-based remote access
HTTP/FTP remote access with customer configuration
App Manager and Apps
Open API for third-party applications
App Manager
– Available app packages for customized installation
– Pre–installed apps
– Web–based GUI for install/delete/run/suspend apps
Surveillance Manager (NVR)
Support up to 1000+ network cameras
Local and remote LiveView
Search and timeline-based playback
Camera and event management
Support up to four camera licenses
License management (includes 1 free camera license)
Mobile app and surveillance client

Items discussed in article

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Before committing to a low-cost NAS for working storage, be very certain that you know and understand the limitations on access speed. Do not assume that you can access a NAS directory as quickly as you can a local disk drive directory. In some instances, even with major name-brand devices and no matter what the "specs" claim, access over Gigabit Ethernet can be less than 10 MB/sec, and that is with large files transferred, not random access of single blocks of data.