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MicroNet MaxNAS 2.5TB Server Review

Nemo    -   November 27, 2009
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Conclusion:

The MicroNet MaxNAS NAS server is a good way for businesses and enterprise workgroups to take advantage of a centralized data repository. The unit features a full range of RAID modes that includes RAID 0/1/5/6/10/5 + hot spare and advanced features like RAID level expansion and migration. MicroNet has further positioned this unit into the enterprise with its emphasis on iSCSI target volume support that allows you to use the device as part of a Storage Area Network. The RAID failover featured in several modes all successfully recovered from drive failures. As the MaxNAS is targeted as business users, it is missing some bells and whistles found on competitors' models like multimedia file sharing and web server applications. While these may be of dubious value to the business user, it is worth noting. Unlike other models we've reviewed here previously, the MaxNAS comes with disks drives that are already installed in the trays and formatted for a RAID 5 volume. With the disk roaming feature there is no need to worry about the order in which the drives are installed. Setup is quick and painless and with users not needing to tweak the configuration, could be up and running in a matter of minutes.

While the MaxNAS does offer jumbo frames support, this feature is of questionable value as choices for MTU size are limited to 4000, 8000, 12000 and 16000 bytes. As our test motherboard topped out at a more traditional 9014 bytes, I question the choice of frame sizes MicroNet chose to include. We didn't even bother testing this feature as the closest size we could match was 4000 bytes and the benefit to transfer speeds is negligible. While the MaxNAS is a solid performer, it was not in the same league as the QNAP-TS509 in terms of speed. Its interface was on par with that of the TS-509 but not as polished as the AJAX-based UI found on the Synology DS-509, although the MaxNAS did offer decent documentation found on the included installation CD.

With a street price of around $1,200, the MaxNAS may at first seem pricey compared to other units until you remember the unit comes with five drives included, whereas other units are barebones and drives must be purchased separately. Still, that positions the MaxNAS squarely in the enterprise/small business segment. Its full range of RAID modes with RAID level migration and volume expansion capabilities, iSCSI target volume support and more make this unit a good choice with solid, if not stellar, performance.

 

Pros:

  • Included drives already mounted and pre-configured
  • RAID 0/1/5/6/10/5 + hot spare capability
  • RAID level expansion and migration capabilities
  • iSCSI taget volume
  • Drive hot swapping using easy-removable drive trays
  • Good documentation
  • S.M.A.R.T. reporting
  • eSATA Support

 

Cons:

  • Performance
  • Price
  • Lack of 9000 byte MTU jumbo frame support
  • No web camera support
  • No DDNS support



 

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