Cavalry Storage CAND3001T0 1TB Network Drive Review
Reviewed by: Nemo
Reviewed on: February 4, 2009
Our lives are increasingly becoming centered around multimedia applications from digital photographs to music and video files. Along with the move to a more media-centric lifestyle comes the need for both more storage space as well as a way to keep your digital treasures safe. With the price of storage falling, it may be tempting to just throw a few more hard drives at the problem and call it a day.
While adding hard drives to your system may seem like the way to go, especially for someone who is used to working inside a computer, there is a more elegant solution. Adding storage to your home network is a way to increase the available storage, provide a way to back up your data, and make your files available across the network, as well as from the Internet. Network attached storage (NAS) devices are a way to do all the above, but not all NAS units come with hard drives, requiring you to add your own. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, for those who aren't comfortable with the idea or just want the convenience of a ready-made device, there are units that come with drives pre-installed.
The CAND3001T0 from Cavalry Storage is one such example. Cavalry Storage is headquartered in Southern California and has been in the business of making external storage devices since 1985. The CAND series of network attached storage units are offered in two- and four-bay configurations. Today we're looking at one of its two-bay units, the CAND3001T0, which comes equipped with two 500GB drives for a total of 1TB of storage. Cavalry offers 1.5TB and 2TB models as well. So let's take a look and see what this device has to offer.
As is typical of a lot of the products that show up for review, the CAND3001T0 arrived in a sturdy cardboard shipping box. The device itself comes in its own box designed to safely house the unit, as well as provide some additional information about the CAND3001T0. On the front of the box we're treated to a picture of the unit, along with a network diagram showing how a typical installation might work. Cleverly, the back side of the box shows the rear of the unit, along with additional highlights of the unit's capabilities. The sides of the box repeat the feature list and also include some detailed technical specifications, along with what's included in the box.
Taking a peek inside the box shows the CAND3001T0 is covered in foam wrapping and securely protected by a pair of foam inserts. Also included in the box are a power cord, the external power supply, a Cat-5e Ethernet cable, a printed user's manual, and a setup CD. Included on the CD are a setup utility, electronic versions of the user manual, and a copy of the backup software.
Let's pull the wraps off and see what the CAND3001T0 looks like. The unit itself is fairly compact at 4.25” wide, but at 8” deep, it is somewhat deeper than I expected. The front of the storage unit is uncluttered and only has three function LEDs for power (blue), network link (green) and hard drive activity (red). An oblique side shot shows the black matte finish of the all-plastic enclosure framed in silver accents with the Cavalry logo on the side. Moving around to the rear of the unit there is a 60mm cooling fan at the top (although the fan grill is more like 45mm). Continuing down the left side, there is a reset button, a RJ45 LAN connection, a USB 2.0 printer connection and the power connection. On the right side is a momentary-contact rocker switch controlling power to the unit. The unit also has four rubber feet on the bottom to reduce vibration noise and to keep the unit from sliding around. On the upper right side is a foil seal covering the access screw that reads “TAMPER SEAL Nonreturnable if seal is broken”. I guess that means there are no user-serviceable components inside.
Now it's time to power this unit up and get it ready for testing.
The CAND3001T0 comes with two 500GB drives already installed. That makes the installation process straightforward, as there's no need to open the enclosure. The first step is to connect one end of the included Ethernet cable to the unit with the other end going to your network device, such as a switch or router. The CAND3001T0 can connect to a network at 10/100/1000 Mbps. Connecting at gigabit (1000 Mbps) speeds requires a Category 5e or Category 6 cable, so it's nice to see the included cable is rated at Cat-5e. The next step is to connect the power cord to the external power supply and then plug the cord from the power supply to the back of the network drive. The power switch is a bit different as it is a momentary-contact rocker switch, meaning that after you press it to turn the power on, it returns to its original position. This is similar to how the power switch on a PC operates.
The next step is to run the setup utility off the included CD by inserting the CD in your PC's optical drive and choosing the "Run Setup Utility" option. This will bring up the NAS Setup Wizard screen. Once you click the Setup button the wizard will begin the discovery process that searches for any CAND network drives on your network. The default setting for the CAND3001T0 is to acquire an IP address using DHCP, so if your network has a DHCP server, such as a router, then it should come up with a default server name of GigaNAS, along with the network address information acquired from your DHCP server. If it can't pull an IP address from a DHCP server on the network, the software defaults the IP address to 192.168.1.1. Hitting the OK button takes you to Step 2 in the setup process, but first you'll have to enter the default password of "admin".
The next thing to define are the "IP Settings". On this page you can change the server name, which defaults to "giganas", to a name of your choosing. You can also accept the default IP address based on the DHCP settings or assign a static IP address by configuring it manually. For testing purposes, I will be using a direct connection to the test machine and choosing a static IP address of 192.168.1.32.
Clicking the Next button takes us to the third step in the setup process. On the "Date and Time" dialog you can set the time zone and the date and time for the unit. Once you have keyed in the correct settings it's time to move on to the final stage where all the new settings are saved to the unit.
Once you click the Next button, the setup wizard presents you with the "Settings Confirmation" page where you can review the old and new settings for accuracy before they are saved to the CAND3001T0. If you need to make any changes you can use the Back button to go to the previous pages to make corrections. Once you are comfortable with the changes, pressing the Save button brings up a final dialog where you confirm that you want to make the changes. Once you press the OK button, the settings are saved and you exit the setup process.
The CAND3001T0 comes with two 500GB drive pre-configured in a RAID-1 setup, so all you need to do to begin using the device is to point your computer to the location of the CAND3001T0 on the network. For example, in Windows, you can map a network drive using the server name you specified in the setup process (the default name is "Giganas") and use "\public" as the default share name.
Let's take a moment to examine the rest of the features offered by the unit via its web-based user interface.
The initial setup process for the CAND3001T0 was accomplished using the setup utility provided on the installation CD. Aside from changing the network address and time setting, the unit is still configured with the factory default settings. However, there are other features we can take advantage of, such as setting up users and groups, enabling FTP and iTunes servers, and changing the RAID level settings. The CAND3001T0 includes a web-based user interface that you access using a browser. In order to access the page, you can use the server name or the IP address you specified in the setup process. If you left the server name as "giganas", which is the default, then simply typing "http://giganas/login.cgi" in your browser address bar will take you to the login screen for the CAND3001T0. Here you will need to type in the administrator's username and password. Since everything is still using the original factory settings, you use the default of "admin" for both the username and password. We'll cover how to change this later.
The web UI management pages are organized into seven tabs:
DiskTools – this section enables you to change the RAID level settings on the unit, check the status of the hard drives, specify the time interval for powering down the disk drives, and monitor disk usage.
System – in this section you can perform various management functions, such as change the LAN and time settings specified during the initial setup process, update the firmware, set up e-mail alerts, and turn off the CAND3001T0.
Account – this section is used for user, share and group management. Here you can set up users, assign them to groups, define access rights, and establish disk usage quotas.
Server – this section allows you to define and enable server functionality for the FTP, file, DHCP, and print servers, as well as set the unit up as an iTunes music server.
Backup – the CAND3001T0 can be set up to automatically backup to another NAS unit on your network by specifying the settings in the this tab.
LogFiles – here you can examine several logs maintained by the unit for the various servers, such as FTP, DHCP, and Samba (file server), along with a system and administration log.
Logout – logs out of the web UI.
The factory default setup for the unit is a RAID-1 array using the ext3 file system. However, the CAND3001T0 supports four different hard drive configurations: JBOD, or "Just a Bunch of Disks", (the two drives are configured as a single large volume), RAID-0 (also known as "striping", where two identical drives are set up as one larger drive) and RAID-1 (also known as "mirroring", where one drive maintains a copy of the other drive). The pros and cons of each type of setup are outside the scope of our review, but a concise explanation can be found in The Official OCC RAID Guide, Version 2.0. While the first configuration, JBOD, is not technically a RAID type, it is listed on the RAID Settings page. That's only three, JBOD, RAID-0 and RAID-1, so where's the fourth one? You can define each drive as a separate volume, but just not on this page. We'll get to that when we look at the "Basic Mode" page.
Like many network storage devices, the CAND3001T0 uses a version of Linux as its operating system. As with Windows or any other operating system, Linux has its own set of structures for storing files. Two of those file systems, ext2 and ext3, are supported by the CAND3001T0. Just as with RAID arrays, a thorough discussion of the differences between the two are beyond the scope of the review. However, the major difference between the two is that the ext3 file system is a journaled file system that improves reliability and will make it easier to recover from an improper shutdown.
Looking at the "RAID Setting" page you'll see some basic information on the current RAID array including RAID level, file system used, the size of the array in GB, and the amount of space currently used. The 128MB you see here is space allocated when the array is first built. There is also a graphic showing the drives in the array with the status and information on the drives currently installed.
You will also notice a Language settings drop down box on the left side. This box is available on all the pages of the web UI and allows you to select the language used in the user interface. You can have it auto-detect the language using the browser settings (default) or you can pick one of seven different languages from the list.
If you want to change the RAID level or file system used you must first drop the current array by clicking the "Remove raid system" button. Of course, this will destroy any data you have on the drives, so the system asks you to confirm this before continuing. This would be an excellent time to back up any data you want to keep before hitting the OK button. During the removal process, the system displays a count-up timer page and once the process is complete will close the page altogether. At this point the CAND3001T0 is also automatically powered off. To continue, you will need to turn the unit back on and wait for it to boot up. Once the unit is ready, you may find it necessary to re-run the setup utility off the installation CD in order to have the system recognized on the network. Removing the RAID array also destroys any LAN and time settings you entered earlier. If you reset these now, you may have to reset them again after the new RAID array structure is created. This is rather annoying if you are doing this multiple times looking at all the RAID structures under both file systems as I did during testing.
Once you're done with the setup process, you'll need to log back into the web UI. With no array installed you'll notice your options are reduced to DiskTools and System. Under DiskTools you can create a new RAID array under RAID Setting. The Disk Status graphics shows there is no array present, so you can choose between the two RAID options, as well as JBOD, and also select the file system to use. Once you have selected the desired RAID level and file system, clicking the 'Create raid system' button brings up a warning that all data will be cleaned, but since there is no data on the drives because we took care of that when we removed the array earlier, it's safe to hit the OK button. The system then begins the process by creating the RAID system and displays a progress bar. This step is relatively quick and then begins the process of formatting the drives, which can take a few minutes.
Once this process is complete it would be a good idea to select the System tab and make sure your LAN and time setting are correct as they would have been reset during the RAID array creation process.
The Basic Mode section is aptly named, as it offers you access to basic information on the hard drives installed in the CAND3001T0. If you have created a RAID array about the only thing accessible through this page is the hard drive health information. When you click on the Detail button you are treated to a wealth of SMART information on the drive. Digging though this may be somewhat challenging, but if you persist there is one piece of useful information near the bottom of the section where it reports the hard drive temperature. Since there is no system monitoring capability, this is the only place where you can get an indication of the temperatures.
Returning to the main page in this section, you'll notice a Disk Utility tab where you can specify the amount of time the hard drives must be inactive before the system turns them off to conserve power.
Remember in the previous section where we dropped the RAID array? If you don't want to create a new array, you can set the CAND3001T0 up to use two separate hard drives. In addition to the ext2 and ext3 file systems used in the RAID array, you can choose to format the drives using a FAT32 format. There is also an option to encrypt the drive, which requires you to key in a 20-character password (it must be exactly 20-characters). After making your choices, the system will ask you for confirmation before formating the drive. During the format process the system will scroll a warning message across the top of the page and update the page with the progress every few seconds by blanking out the page and redrawing it. This is a completely different approach than what we saw during the formating of the RAID arrays, which simply displayed a progress bar on the screen. It can also be rather disconcerting to see the screen go blank for a couple of seconds if you're not expecting it. I would have much preferred to see this page behave just like the formatting process in the RAID setup section.
Once the formatting is complete, the system will reboot and you will need to log back in to the web UI.
It's obvious the CAND3001T0 is designed to be used in a RAID configuration and is not intended to be set up using two separate drives. In fact, non-RAID support is not even mentioned in the list of features on the Cavalry web site. When formatting the two drives as separate volumes, only the second drive has share management enabled. The user manual acknowledges this in the FAQ section, stating “The NAS GUI Software is design to managing RAID-1 or 0 functions, if user wants to use two separate HDD in the NAS, share management will recognize only the first formatting disk.” However, the second disk is still available as a shared volume. It's also important to note that the device listed as "/dev/hdc" is the first drive that will have share management even though it is the second drive listed on the Basic Mode page.
As far as I could tell during testing, the only effect choosing to encrypt the hard drive had was to dramatically increase the format time. After formatting the drive I was able to store and access files across the network without having to provide any password. There is no mention of this feature in the user manual either.
The final option is the Disk Usage page where you can check the amount of disk space being used. There is an option to display the results in summary fashion or by user.
Let's move on and check out some of the System features on the CAND3001T0.
The System section allows you to perform certain system maintenance functions, including changing the LAN and time settings specified during the initial setup process, saving and restoring configuration settings, and upgrading the firmware. Additional options allow you to install BitTorrent and media server client software, setup limited e-mail notifications, and reboot or shutdown the server.
This page displays basic information on the server, including the server name and IP address, along with the current firmware version and the IP address of the machine used to connect to the web UI (client IP).
The LAN Settings page displays all the IP address information we entered during the initial setup process. You can make changes to those settings here without having to rerun the setup utility. If you change the IP address, the web UI will close when you hit the save button and ask you to login again using the new address.
The page allows you to adjust the time on the server along with the time zone, just as we did during the initial setup process. In addition, this page allows you to specify a network time protocol (NTP) server to automatically synchronize the time on the unit to a server over the Internet to keep it as accurate as possible. The CAND3001T0 gives you the option of choosing one of two pre-defined servers or you can key in one of your own choosing. There is no option to set a daylight savings time option, so you may need to reset the time if the NTP server does not automatically handle this.
You can backup your configuration setting by saving them to a file on your computer or other location by clicking the save button and specifying a location.
You can revert back to a previous set of configuration settings from a saved file by specifying the file location. Once the restore is complete the web UI will close and you will need to log in again.
You can download a firmware upgrade from the Cavalry website and specify the location of the file here. Once you press the Upgrade button it may take several minutes and you should make sure nothing happens to interrupt this process or you may render the server unusable.
"In this section, you prefer to install the software which in the disc attaches" (sic). I had no idea what that meant either so I had to break down and read the manual. The CAND3001T0 does not come with BitTorrent or media server software pre-installed, but it does ship with software on the installation CD. By installing the software in this section, the unit can then act as a BitTorrent server and a media server. The installable software packages can be found in the NAS Software folder on the CD, which you can locate using the Browse button. There you'll find two folders, "Bit torrent flux" and "Sybas DLNA software", that contain the install packages. The BitTorrent client software is named "torrentflux-1.11.bz2", which is a compressed file that the install program can use directly. The media server software package is named "syabas-1.11.bz2".
Once the location of the install package has been set, you begin the process by hitting the Install button. After you assure the system that it's OK to install the software, it will begin loading the file from the CD, unpack it, and install it to the CAND3001T0. After the install process is completed, the unit will automatically reboot. After the reboot, you can log back into the web UI and go to the Server tab and confirm the new servers appear on the list. We'll check them out once we get to the Server page coming up in a bit.
Since the BitTorrent and Media servers application are not native applications, the CAND3001T0 offers you the option of uninstalling the software as well. On the Install Software page, clicking the Uninstall button brings up the Installed List page where you can choose which application to remove. Clicking the Uninstall button causes the software to be removed immediately with no warning.
Once you have finished the install process, you will notice three new subfolders have been created on the CAND3001T0 under the Public folder: /media and /music as part of the Syabas media server install and /tf for the Torrent Flux server.
The CAND3001T0 has very basic e-mail notification capabilities and is limited to sending out disk usage reports. You can also specify the time interval as either hourly or daily. It has no ability to notify you of any critical conditions such as drive failure or high-temperature conditions. Once you have everything set up you can click the Send Test Email button to test it out. The system will notify you that the test email was sent, but is doesn't provide any verification of whether the test was successful. Also, if you are using a SMTP service that requires you to provide login credentials, there is no provision to provide the user name or password. All in all I would say this feature is next to worthless unless you have a local SMTP server installed or can use an anonymous open relay SMTP server.
Turn Off Server
This section allows you to either reboot the server by clicking on the "Restart" button or shut the server down using the "Turn off" button.
The next step in the configuration process is to create user accounts and groups and assign permissions to the various folders on the CAND3001T0.
The Account section allows you to create users and assign them passwords, establish user groups and define their membership, and set the share permissions on the folders on the server. The CAND3001T0 comes already set up in a RAID-1 configuration with a default folder named /public. Without setting up users and defining share permissions, all users on the network have full read/write permission to the folder and, by inheritance, all subfolders within the /public folder. Making use of users and permissions will allow you to enforce security at a much more granular level.
The User Management page allows you to create new users and manage or delete existing users. Highlighting an existing user will allow you to change the current password, add or remove a shared private folder, and change the quota settings for the user. If you uncheck the "Create Shared private Folder" checkbox, the folder for the user will be removed and all data will be lost once you hit the save button – there is no warning dialog asking if you want to delete the folder! This would also be a good time to check on the "admin" user and change the default password.
Creating a new user is done by clicking the Add User button. This begins a three-step process that walks you through the screens needed to create the user and add them to groups and assign network shares. If this is the first time through, you may see that the group list is empty and the only share available is the "public" folder.
You can also remove a user by highlighting the user name in the Existing User pane and pressing the Delete User button. The system will prompt you for confirmation and once you press OK, the user is deleted from the system and any private shared folder created for that user is also removed. Be careful to back up any data in the user's shared folder before deleting the user.
The User Management section is also the only place where you can add or change the quotas assigned to users. This allows you to designate how much storage space a user is allowed to use. Quotas may only be assigned at the user level and not at the group level.
This section enables you to create shares and assign permissions to users and groups. When you first start the process, the only share is the default "public" share. You can highlight the share name in the Existing Shares pane and then assign users and groups read/write access to the share using the Setting button. Similarly, you can click the Add Share button and create a new share and assign users and groups access to the share. For example, when we created new users in the section above, we had the system automatically create a private shared folder. You will then need to create a share and assign the user to the share as shown below. You can also grant access by IP address so other servers can access the share.
Groups are collections of users that can be used to assign permission to several users at once instead of having to add the same permission for each user individually. When planning the structure of the folders on your server, it is probably best to determine the group structure and create the groups first, before any users are created. This will allow you to assign users to the appropriate group(s) as the user accounts are created. New groups are created using the Add Group button and following a three-step setup process. The first step is to create the group name. Then you highlight the desired user(s) in the Non-member pane and click the Add button to move them to the Member pane.
The third and final step is to add share permissions by clicking on a share name in the Access Denied pane and clicking on the appropriate permission level button to add the permission to the group. This way, any existing or new members will automatically have the permissions granted to the group.
You can add/remove users to existing groups by highlighting the group in the Existing Groups pane and clicking the Setting button.
Let's move on to see what the CAND3001T0 offers in the way of server functionality.
The CAND3001T0 offers several different server functions. Out of the box, the unit acts as a file server, a DHCP server, a print server, and a Bonjour/iTunes server. If you went through the install process outlined back in the Install Software section, then you should also see a Torrentflux and Media Server listed in the Server section of the page.
The CAND3001T0 can offer more server functions beyond that of serving up files across the local network. It can also operate as an FTP server for making files available over the Internet and act as an NFS server for Linux-based systems.
Windows Setting -The Windows file server is enabled by default. The unit comes preconfigured with a workgroup name of "WORKGROUP" that you can change to match you local workgroup if needed. You can also specify the IP address of the Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) server. You can leave this blank unless you are on a corporate network that provides a WINS server.
FTP Server Setting - The FTP server functionality is enabled by default and set up to run over the standard FTP port 21. You can configure this to run on any port, but you will need to configure your router to forward incoming FTP requests on the port specified to the CAND3001T0. You can also set it up to use a secure connection using FTP over TLS.
NFS Server Setting – This option is also enabled by default and allows the server to serve files using the Network File System used by the Linux operating system. The NFS path to the server can be determined using the path to the share preceded by the IP address, e.g. 192.168.0.32:/mnt/md1/public.
Guest Access Setting – The Guest access feature is disabled by default. Enabling this option allows users logging in with no user name to automatically be granted guest access. You can also assign a storage quota for guest access here.
You can set up the CAND3001T0 to act as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server if you don't already have one on your network. Generally this won't be the case so this option is turned off by default. In order to use this function, you will need to fill in all the address information and click the Save button and then restart the unit to start the DHCP server.
The NAS can act as a print server to allow users on the network to access a single printer and is enabled by default. The printer must be a USB printer and all you need to do is to connect the printer to the USB port on the rear of the CAND3001T0 and turn it on. Once you click on the Print Server tab, the unit should detect the printer. You will need to install the correct printer driver on each client computer needing to access the printer.
The CAND3001T0 supports the Apple Bonjour service discovery protocol and comes enabled by default. This allows the device to automatically show up on your Apple system in the Bonjour bookmarks section. Additionally the NAS device can act as an iTunes music server by checking the iTunes Enable checkbox. Any computer running iTunes on the network will be able find and play the music. By default, the iTunes folder is located in /public/music.
The NAS unit can function as a bit torrent server using the TorrentFlux open source GUI for the BitTornado client. TorrentFlux is a web-based system developed for Linux. It is written in PHP running on an Apache web server and a MySQL database. All this was installed and setup during the software installation process. The installed version is TorrentFlux 2.3. Once installed, this service is enabled by default and the downloads are stored in the /public/tf/downloads folder. You can access the GUI by clicking on the Link to TorrentFlux button, or from anywhere on your network by pointing your browser to http://xxx.xxx.x.xx:8080/bt/login.php, where "xxx.xxx.x.xx" is the IP address of the NAS server.
At this point, users without any experience with TorrentFlux will be totally lost as there is absolutely no documentation included in the user guide on how to use this product. Nowhere does it even tell you what login credentials to use. Having a little experience with MySQL I was able to figure out you can log in using mysql/123456 as the username/password. Using a torrent metadata file for a Fedora Core 10 install image, I was able to get the torrent to start the download process after a bit of experimenting, including figuring out which ports to forward on the router. The configuration settings for the software can be found by clicking on the Admin tab at the top right and then choosing Settings. You will need to play around with getting things set up as well as looking at setting up a new user for running your downloads.
The CAND3001T0 can also serve as a UPnP media server if you installed the software and is enabled by default. The software is a version of Syabas NAS Media Server. The install process creates a /media folder on the public share of the NAS. Within that folder are /Audio, /Photo and /Video subfolders. By default, music is expected to be placed in the /Audio folder. If you don't want to duplicate music folders between iTunes and Syabas you will need to change the default location in the settings. However, I could not get the software to point anywhere other than the default /media folder, nor could I get it to save any setting changes.
Just as with the TorrentFlux software, there is no documentation provided on how to use the service. Fortunately, the interface is fairly straightforward. You can access the GUI by clicking on the Link to Syabas button, or from anywhere on your network by pointing your browser to http://xxx.xxx.x.xx:8088, where "xxx.xxx.x.xx" is the IP address of the NAS server. This launches the Syabas web interface from which you can access your video, music and photo files. There is also an Internet option, but I could not determine its purpose. Here again, some documentation would have been helpful.
Clicking on the Music button brings up the songs in the library and it will also display the music by album, artist or genre based on the tag information. You can play individual songs or albums, but I didn't see any way to create a playlist. My small sample of music included songs in both MP3 and WMA formats and both played without problems. Photos are displayed as thumbnails and you can enlarge each photo or choose to display the photos as a slide show.
Now it's time to move on to the built-in back up features.
This section allows you to create backup schedules to backup folders from the CAND3001T0 to another identical NAS device. According to the documentation, the files are encrypted and compressed before the duplicate process in order to secure the data as well as reduce the time of data transfer. Interestingly, there is no provided means provided to restore files and folders from the backup, nor does there seem to be any indication of the encryption key or compression algorithm used. You can only choose one folder at a time to back up and are limited to five scheduled backup jobs. There is no capability of monitoring the backup jobs to ascertain whether or not they ran.
You can use the built-in backup capabilities to backup the CAND3001T0 to an identical NAS device according to the user manual. I attempted to back up to the D-Link DNS-323 over the network and expected to see some sort of error in the system logs, but there was nothing there so I am not certain the scheduled job ever started. Without having an identical device to test with, there was no sure way to test this functionality, or so I thought. After exchanging several e-mails with Cavalry's technical support folks I found out that an “identical NAS” could be the CAND3001T0 itself. So I set up another backup task setting the destination address as the IP of the review unit and chose a folder to back up. At the prescribed time the job kicked off and this time I did see an entry in the logs showing a mount request for the \backup directory. I left the job to run overnight as I managed to choose a directory with almost 1,000 files for a total of 33GB.
When I next checked the CAND3001T0 using My Computer in Windows, I was able to see a new directory called \backup off the root of the volume and could navigate to where all the backup files were located. So far so good, except that I could not access them through Windows as I got “Access is denied” errors. Even when I mapped a drive using the login credentials of the administrator account on the CAND3001T0 I could not open or copy any files. I decided to make one last attempt using my rudimentary Linux skills. I connected to the device through telnet, which gave me access to a Linux shell, and then I browsed to the backup file folder. I then tried to do a "restore" by copying the files out of the \backup directory to the \public folder hoping it would work in Linux, but no such luck as I still got “Permission denied” on all the files I tried to copy.
That just about wraps up the configuration options. All that's left is to take a look at the logging capabilities.
The CAND3001T0 offers several logs that record various aspects of the NAS device.
Various administrative-related events are logged here. Any changes to the the system setup, such as LAN settings, will be recorded along with a time stamp.
System level events are also recorded. Checking the log belies the Linux underpinnings of the CAND3001T0. Here you'll see start-up, restart and shut-down events logged here.
If you enable the NAS device to function as an FTP server, it is useful to be able to see what has been accessed in terms of files and the IP address of where the user(s) logged in from. One different thing about this log is that events are tagged with times based on GMT instead of local time as set up on the system.
Samba is the software that provides file services for Windows clients. Any events are logged here like when you change share permissions, create groups and general account maintenance. The log entries are fairly non-specific though.
If you chose to use the CAND3001T0 as a DHCP server you can see events for the server here.
One thing I did notice is that the unit clears all the logs whenever it is powered off or restarted. I found this by accident when trying to check the FTP logs and found them empty.
That's it for the configuration. Now we need to check out the features and specifications before moving on to the performance testing.
|External Interface||10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Port|
|Jumbo Frame Support||None|
|Additional Ports||USB print server port|
|HDD Size||2 x 3.5" SATA Drives (included)|
|Drive Capacity||1TB (2 x 500GB)|
|CPU||300MHz Storlink SL3516 ARM9 RISC|
|IDE Controller||SATA II compliant controller|
|NIC||802.3 compliant 10/100/1000BASE-TX|
|File System||EXT2, EXT3, FAT32|
|HDD Configuration||Standard, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1|
|Power Supply||External adapter|
(W x D x H): 4.25” x 8” x 5.25”
|Weight||5.7 lbs - with drives|
|Regulatory Certification||Not disclosed|
|Warranty||1 year limited|
- 1TB using (2) 500GB SATA drives
- RJ 45 Ethernet Interface
- Supports RAID levels 0 and 1 and JBOD
- RAID-1 preconfigured
- Print server capability with USB 2.0
- Ethernet transfer rate of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 1000 Mbps
- Access files from any networked PC or Mac for easy file sharing, or any system online
- Can be formatted in EXT2 (RAID or JBOD), EXT3 (RAID or JBOD) or FAT32 (JBOD)
- Active LED read-out indicates power and data access
- Durable case with large 2.5” fan
- Stackable design gives you a streamlined workplace
All information courtesy of Cavalry Storage@ http://www.cavalrystorage.com/CAND_2Bay.htm
To test the CAND3001T0 I will use SiSoft Sandra 2009 using the File System benchmarks. I will also use the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (ver. 1.7) to gauge performance under several realistic usage scenarios. The tests will be conducted on all supported hard drive configurations using both the ext2 and ext3 file systems. The CAND3001T0 will be connected directly to the Marvell PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet controller using a Category 6 Ethernet cable to eliminate any variations due to network components or traffic.
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83 GHz
- Motherboard: Asus P5Q Deluxe
- LAN Controller: Marvell Yukon 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
- Ethernet Cable: 6' Category 6
- Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB PC2-9600 DDR2-1200MHz
- Video Card: PowerColor HD3450
- Power Supply: Antec TruePower 550
- NAS Device: Cavalry Storage CAND3001T0
- Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB SATA 3GB/s (WD5000AACS) x 2 (included)
- Optical Drive: Lite-On LTR523275
- OS: Windows XP SP3
- SiSoft Sandra 2009
- Intel NAS Performance Toolkit 1.7
SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful.
Higher is Better
Lower is Better
In the file system tests we see that there is an overall performance penalty for using the EXT3 file system over EXT2. This can be attributed to the journaling duties performed on an EXT3 file system prior to the data being written to the disk, with the penalty ranging from 11-15% except in the case of the individual (standard) drive test. Performance was fairly consistent across all drive configurations when using the EXT2 file system, but the CAND3001T0 lagged the DNS-323 in all scenarios with the D-Link unit beating out Cavalry's offering by 32-44.5%. Overall, the D-Link DNS-323 is the clear winner in all four drive configurations. In terms of access times, the DNS-323's times were 2-3 times faster than those of the CAND3001T0. Because we were testing using the Western Digital Green drives that came with the Cavalry unit versus the Seagate ES.2 drives used in testing the D-Link, the comparisons may be a bit skewed for two reasons. First is the fact that the WD drives have 16MB cache as opposed to the 32MB cache found on the Seagate drives. The second issue is that the CAND3001T0 came equipped with WD Green drives which are designed to save power. WD is rather coy in that it doesn't disclose the exact rotational speeds of it Green series drives, only that they spin at something less than 7,200RPM, which could be a partial factor in the higher access times; but this can't account for all the larg diifferences we saw.
The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit is a set of tools used to test and analyze file systems and enable direct comparison of the performance levels of different network attached storage devices. It utilizes a set of tests based on real world applications such as HD video playback and recording, office productivity, photo album manipulation, and file and directory copying. The toolkit uses a set of traces based on these applications, mimics the file system traffic generated, and records the system response. In our evaluation, the toolkit was run in batch mode, which runs the series of tests five times in succession and the median throughput value is used to report the results. The hard drives were reconfigured and the CAND3001T0 was rebooted before each test was run.
HD Video Playback (higher is better)
The HD Video Playback series of tests involve streaming a 720p HD video file using Windows Media Player and 256kb reads. The tests play either 1, 2 or 4 files simultaneously using different percentages of sequential reads (99.5% for the single file, 18.1% for the 2x HD Video Playback and 9.6% for the 4x HD Video Playback).
2x HD Video Playback (higher is better)
4x HD Video Playback (higher is better)
During testing of the CAND3001T0 using the three HD video playback tests, we see the unit posting throughput numbers ranging from 10.3-13.7 MB/s with the EXT2 file system. Using the EXT3 file system results in a performance penalty that varies anywhere from 1- to 21 percent depending on the test and hard drive configuration used. The standard (single drive) setup is the the place where the EXT3 file system eked out a slight performance gain. You would expect to see a convincing argument for using RAID-0 in these playback tests, but that isn't the case. Except for the 2x HD Playback test, configuring your drives in JBOD will yield better results.
When we compare the results against those from the D-Link DNS-323, we can only use the results for the EXT2 file system, as that is common to both NAS appliances. This series of tests was the forte of the D-Link DNS-323 and also some of the best tests for the CAND3001T0. The DNS-323 shows clear dominance over the CAND3001T0 in this series with throughput that is anywhere from 31-46 percent higher.
HD Video Record (higher is better)
This test writes a single 720p HD video file to the NAS device employing 99.9% sequential 256kb writes.
During the HD Video Record we see a drop in throughput due to writing across the network, as expected. With the EXT2 file system we see rates of 11.8-13.7 MB/s. The EXT3 file system shows rates that are 36-44% slower. The throughput rates are not too bad, but once again are bested by the DNS-323 by 22-29% depending on the setup.
HD Playback and Record (higher is better)
The HD Video Playback and Record test combines the two previous tests and reads and writes a HD 720p video file simultaneously.
During the HD Playback and Record tests the CAND3001T0 cranks out its second-best set of test results. Again we see that using RAID-0 doesn't provide any real benefits as you would expect. While the JBOD configuration pulled almost even with the similar setup on the DNS-323, the other configurations lagged behind the DNS-323 by as much as 24%.
Content Creation (higher is better)
This test simulates content creation on the NAS device such as might occur when rendering a video. There are 99 files used and is composed of 95% write operations with up to 64kb block sizes and consists of 39.1% sequential operations.
The CAND3001T0 starts to come into its own against the D-Link DNS-323 with the Content Creation test. While both units were taxed by this test, the CAND3001T0 didn't suffer as badly as the DNS-323 and came out ahead across all setups by margins ranging from 11-31%.
Office Productivity (higher is better)
The Office Productivity test is roughly evenly distributed between read and write operations using 607 small files consisting of 1kb and 4kb reads and mostly 1kb writes.
This test continues to confound me as the CAND3001T0 turned in its best results of the entire suite with throughput values varying from 13.4-16.6 MB/s. When we ran this test on the DNS-323, the results took such a nosedive, I felt compelled to rerun the entire series of tests just to make sure they were right. I was faced with the same dilemma again with the CAND3001T0, but with values surging in the opposite direction. After rerunning the tests for the CAND3001T0, we see it performed at a level four to five times higher than the the DNS-323. This isn't just an indication of how poorly the DNS-323 fared on this test, as this was the best results I saw for the Cavalry unit during testing.
File Copy to NAS (higher is better)
The File Copy test copies a single large file to the NAS unit using 100% sequential 64kb write operations.
Copying a single large file to the NAS unit results in throughput number in the double digits, except for the RAID-1 setup that takes a pretty big hit for having to mirror the data. Again, the DNS-323 beats out the CAND3001T0 by a healthy margin with the DNS-323 beating the CAND3001T0's RAID-1 performance by over 50%.
File Copy from NAS
This test reads the single large (1.4GB) file from the File Copy test from the NAS using 64kb read operations.
Reading the same file from the NAS shows the CAND3001T0 can achieve a 9-13 MB/s throughput rate, but again is bested by the D-Link DNS3-3 by 46% in RAID-1 and 24-39 percent in the other drive configurations.
Dir Copy to NAS (higher is better)
This test copies a directory structure with 126 files to the NAS device using predominately 64kb writes, but also includes a wide distribution under 16kb.
The multiple consecutive writes performed brings down the CAND3001T0 to its lowest performance values in all the tests. The EXT3 file system setup turns in rates around 4 MB/s with the EXT2 file system running 13-19 percent better. The D-Link takes this test as well.
Dir Copy from NAS (higher is better)
This test copies the same directory structure of 126 files from the NAS device using 64kb reads.
Copying the directory back eliminates the write penalty and the CAND3001T0 moves back up into the 6-7 MB/s range, but it's still not enough to best the DNS-323, which takes the test by margins ranging from 18-37%.
Photo Album (higher is better)
The Photo Album test simulates the viewing of 169 photo files of various sizes stored on the NAS and consists of 100% read operations.
The last test plays against the relative strength of the CAND3001T0 versus the DNS-323, allowing it to put up one last fight and come out ahead across all drive configurations even though it only posted throughput rates in the 4.1-4.8MB/s range.
After looking at the test results there a couple of takeaways. First is that with the CAND3001T0, the EXT3 file system suffers a performance penalty compared to the EXT2 file system. This is most apparent in the HD Video Record test that uses 99.9% writes, highlighting this with EXT2 showing 36-44% better throughput. You would need to carefully assess whether the better recovery capability of a journaled file system (EXT3) is worth it when using the CAND3001T0.
The next item to consider is that, with the CAND3001T0, there is no overwhelming case for choosing a RAID-0 configuration over JBOD. With both setups you get the full storage available on both drives, but in most cases, running a JBOD setup on the CAND3001T0 trumps RAID-0.
After setting up the CAND3001T0 and running through the performance tests, it's time to turn our attention to the practical operation of the unit and look at how it holds up in day-to-day operations.
The CAND3001T0 has a single 60mm on the rear of the unit that spins fast enough to push just enough air to be felt, but not so fast as to generate an annoying whirring sound typical of small fans at high RPMs. While the fan is audible, it doesn't generate enough noise to be annoying. The CAND3001T0 has a series of ventilation slits that run along the bottom, left side and top of the case front. The two drives are mounted on top of each other in the drive cage with no allowance for air movement between them. The top drive will experience some air movement along its top surface due to the ventilation slits along the left side of the front cover.
During the testing process I didn't notice the case becoming unusually warm, but since the case is made entirely of plastic you wouldn't expect as much thermal transfer as you would get with a metal case. To test the cooling efficiency of the system, I used the NAS performance Toolkit to run a full series of tests in a RAID-1 configuration and monitored the S.M.A.R.T. drive temperature readings. To monitor the interior case temperatures I inserted a digital temperature probe into the case with the probe positioned directly to the rear of the drives in the center of the case. Temperature readings were taken prior to the run with the hard drives spinning and then throughout the test.
|Ambient Room||21 C||21 C|
|S.M.A.R.T. Drive 1||33 C||38 C|
|S.M.A.R.T. Drive 2||34 C||39 C|
|Case Interior||31 C||34 C|
The drives really didn't get too hot during the tests, which is a testament to the fan size as well as to the Western Digital Caviar Green drives, which are designed to use less power and generate less heat. Your mileage may vary, but you should not see temperatures as high as we saw during testing unless you are really pushing a lot of data back and forth.
NAS boxes with their lower power processors and lack of power hungry graphics cards are a much more eco-friendly way to share data compared to building even a stripped down PC-based file server. The CAND3001T0 uses Western Digital Caviar Green drives, which are designed to use less power and generate less heat. Western Digital claims its Green series drives average power savings to be 4-5 watts when compared to regular desktop drives.
|Power Mgt. Mode||7||8|
In looking at the comparative power usage there isn't a big difference with both units in power management mode with the disks not spinning, although that 1 watt difference works out to 12.5%. In idle mode with the disks spinning but no I/O activity, the Caviar Green drives consume 8 watts less, a 42% savings. Peak usages during the testing show a 3-4 watt saving in favor of the CAND3001T0. With either system you are going to recognize a significant advantage over a PC-based file server.
RAID-1 Functionality and Drive Failure Recovery
One of the benefits of using a NAS server for storage is the ability to create a RAID-1 array that helps protect your data in the event of a hard drive failure (NOTE: Using a RAID-1 array is not an acceptable alternative to regularly backing up your data!). Using a RAID-1 array mirrors your data on both drives. If one drive fails, you still have access to the data via the other drive. In order to test the ability of the CAND3001T0 to recover from a hard drive failure without losing data, I formatted the drives as a RAID-1 array and loaded the drive with a few megabytes of data. Next, I simulated a hard drive failure to see what would happen. In order to simulate a failure I needed to remove power from one drive and leave only one drive operational. The CAND3001T0 is a sealed unit with a metal foil sticker covering one of the access screws warning you that breaking the seal automatically voids the warranty, so don't try this at home.
Because the CAND3001T0 is a sealed unit, there is no support for hot swapping drives so I first had to power the unit down. After removing the sticker and opening up the case, I simply removed the power connector to the topmost drive and returned the unit to operation. The unit powered back up normally, but since there is just a single hard drive activity light on the front of the case, there is no failure mode indicator and no way to tell that one drive was no longer operational.
I then went into the Web UI under the DiskTools tab and saw the unit had correctly identified there was a drive missing from the array. Going into Windows Network Places, I selected the NAS device and scrolled through the data and accessed a few of the files to ensure all my data was there and everything was fine; the RAID-1 mirroring worked and all my data was safe. Next I powered the unit back down and reconnected the power cable on the "failed" drive. The system then booted back up normally and I went back into the Web UI to see how the system reacted to the replaced drive. The system correctly detected the presence of the drive, but still decided the drive was bad and needed to be replaced.
Hoping I could trick the system into thinking I had installed a new drive, I went through the power down process, but this time I physically removed the drive from the CAND3001T0 and used the test system to delete the partitions on the drive before reinstalling it. This still didn't cause the system to rebuild the RAID-1 array as the Web UI detected the presence of the drive, but still reported the drive needed to be replaced. My theory at this point is that the system must somehow know by the drive's serial number that I hadn't truly installed a new drive. Not having an identical drive to test out the rebuild function, I can't determine whether the system will automatically rebuild a failed RAID-1 array. At this point my only option was to click on the "Remove system data" button and go back into DiskTools and recreate the RAID-1 array manually. This, of course, destroys all the data on the good drive, so you will want to make sure your data is safely backed up before trying this yourself.
I discussed this problem with the technical staff at Cavalry and they followed the same procedures as I did and were able to get the unit to rebuild the array as shown in the screen shots below. As we were both using the latest version of the firmware I am not sure what the issue is.
(The screen shots above are courtesy of Calvary Storage)
The CAND3001T0 has the ability to act as a print server allowing you to attach a USB printer and share it across the network. There is a single USB port on the rear of the unit used for this purpose. Configuration is limited to making sure you have checked the Enable box on the Printer Server section in the Web GUI. This box is checked by default. The only thing you should have to do is connect the printer to the USB port on the CAND3001T0. You will need to install the correct printer drivers on each local machine and add the printer through Windows. To test this feature, I connected a Canon MP780 to the USB port on the CAND3001T0 and added the printer through Windows. Browsing for the printer on the network, it showed up under the default sever name as "lp", designated as a generic printer. Checking the Server window on the Web UI showed the Printer Server section now displayed the correct information with the printer listed as a Canon MP780. Once I added the printer and chose the driver, printing was just like using a direct-attached printer. I did get a pop-up notification from the Canon driver that it couldn't communicate with the printer, but the warning quickly disappeared and the document printed normally. This same problem occurred when testing the D-Link DNS-323 so it it safe to assume this is a printer issue and not a problem with the NAS server.
User, Share and Group Management
Unless you are using a network where permissions and accounts are controlled by a server, you will need some way to control access to the files and folders on the CAND3001T0. This is handled thought the Account tab on the Web UI. Setting up users and assigning them to groups was very straightforward. I was able to easily create a list of test users and add them to a test group. The default setup of the CAND3001T0 is for all users on the network to have full read/write permissions for all files and folders on the volume. Obviously, this is not an ideal setup when there are multiple users on the network, so you should take a few minutes to create users and give them only the necessary privileges. You can also limit how much space a particular user can consume by assigning disk space quotas. The CAND3001T0 assigns quotas at the user level and does not allow you to assign a quota to a group of users. Another limitation I found is that you can not assign shares at a very granular level. You can assign shares to folders at the root level, such as \public, but attempts to assign shares to subfolders results in an error message.
The CAND3001T0 default settings enable it to act as an FTP server. Unless you want to change the port used by the server there's nothing you need to do on the server side. You will need to know how to create users and assign specific access rights and also how to forward ports on your router. I had no issues with setting up the FTP server on both the standard port 21 and a non-standard port. I tested the functionality using the FireFTP add-in for Firefox and was able to access the folders for which the test user had permission. The CAND3001T0 doesn't enable you to actively monitor connected users, but it does provide a log of recent activity.
The unit enables the Apple Bonjour discovery protocol by default. If you want to allow it to act as an iTunes server you will need to check the iTunes Enable check box in the Server section. There is no ability to specify the location of the music so you must use the \public\music folder. It would have been really nice to see this as a configurable feature. Using a client PC with iTunes already installed the CAND3001T0 was detected and showed up under the Shared Music section as "giganas_Music_Box".
TorrentFlux BitTorrent Manager
As discussed in the configuration section, the CAND3001T0 can serve as a BitTorrent manager if you install the additional software required. Once you have successfully installed the software included on the installation CD things get a bit rocky. There is absolutely no documentation included on how to use the TorrentFlux software either in the manual included on the CD, nor anywhere on Cavalry's web site. The lack of documentation becomes painfully apparent as soon as you you try to launch TorrentFlux. The first thing you are presented with is a login screen and you are given no clue as to the username or password. Since TorrentFlux uses a MySQL database as the back end, you can log in using the default administrator credentials (Username: mysql / Password:123456). A user with little or no familiarity with using BitTorrent software packages will still be challenged to figure things out without a lot of work.
To test out the software, I first had to determine which ports to forward on my router for the torrents. Once you have logged in you can click on "admin" in the upper right corner of the screen and choose settings. Here it lists several items including the default port range and max download and upload speeds. Once I had all the settings squared away, I used a torrent of the Fedora Core 10 ISO image for testing. Once I had the metadata file name entered, I was able to start the download and seed the torrent as well. You want to take some time adjusting the settings to ge the download and upload bandwidth set to your liking and it would probably be best if you created a new user account that wasn't the default administrator account we used in this example.
As already mentioned in the configuration section, I was unable to set up an e-mail alert as the system does not provide you with the capability to provide login credentials for a SMTP server. Since I use an external SMTP service, that is a critical piece of information. You could probably set this up to use a SMTP server on your own network as long as it does not require you to log in to send e-mails.
The built-in backup features worked as described in the documentation as I was able to create backup job sets and have them kick off, both on a one-time and daily basis. However, what the documentation does not cover is how to restore the backup files. Although I was able to see the files, I was not able to copy them, either through Windows or by using telnet to access the Linux shell. You can see the results of these efforts in the configuration section.
The CAND3001T0 is an easy way to add shared storage to your network, as it comes with hard drives installed and preconfigured for use. For users wanting basic storage functionality with a minimum of fuss, the CAND3001T0 offers and additional 500GB of storage out of the box due to its RAID-1 factory configuration. I found the Web UI to be very basic and its use of fractured English to be mildly annoying at times and downright confusing at others. The interface seems more like a first attempt rather than a polished, completed product. The added features are where I had the most issues, from e-mail alerts that were too basic to be of any use, to the backup capability that left me wondering if maybe it should have been left out until an integrated working restore functionality could be included. Along with the Web UI, I felt the user manual to be minimal and unpolished. In all fairness, I should mention that there is a better English version of the manual on Cavalry's support site. Although it does not improve any on the completeness (or lack thereof) of the content, it is certainly more readable. Cavalry really needs to work on including documentation on how to configure and use the included BitTorrent and media server software, and work to better integrate them with the rest of the features. All around performance for the CAND3001T0 was decent, if not stellar, and would suit the needs of most home users. I was surprised the the best performance numbers turned in by the CAND3001T0 were on the one test where the comparison D-Link DNS-323 fell flat. Current online prices for the unit are in the $210 - $225 range, which places it at around a $100 premium over buying a pair of comparable bare hard drives. For those not wanting to have to install and configure the hard drives, that might make it a bit more attractive to some versus the D-Link DNS-323, which would run around $270 including purchasing a pair of hard drives. The CAND3001T0 is suitable for additional storage or for backing up your files, but in the end I was left with the feeling that the interface and features just need more work and polish.
- No hard drive installation required
- JBOD, RAID-0 and RAID-1 capability
- Relatively quiet/decent cooling
- S.M.A.R.T. Reporting capability
- No jumbo frame support
- Poor documentation; some features not documented
- Feature set functionality needs work
- Issues with rebuilding failed RAID-1 array