MicroNet MaxNAS 2.5TB Server ReviewNemo - November 27, 2009
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The Network configuration allows you to configure the WAN/LAN ports on the server as well enable and configure the various network services on the unit.
As we saw in the Closer Look section, the MaxNAS has two Gigabit Ethernet ports referred to as either LAN1 or WAN and LAN2 or simply LAN. The WAN port is the bottom-most of the two ports on the rear panel and is used to connecting to the main network and to grant access to the Internet. During the initial setup we used the discovery wizard to assign a fixed IP address along with the unit along with the host name, which you can see in the screenshot below. Alternatively you could choose DHCP and let your router automatically assign the IP information. In addition, you can specify the domain name, which is necessary for joining a domain and participating in a Windows Server Active Directory Service (ADS). The MaxNAS also provides jumbo frames with support for MTU sizes of 4000, 8000, 12000 and 16000 bytes. Our test machine's NIC closest match is 4088 bytes and based on our experience with the Thecus N3200PRO, doesn't offer any real advantages. It would have been more useful to see a 9000 byte frame size in order to see any real performance gains.
Other options include IP Sharing Mode, which acts as a bridge between the WAN and LAN ports so that PCs connected to the LAN can access the WAN that we left disabled to ensure optimum performance and Link Aggregation. This later option shows the MaxNAS business class heritage as it is intended for use on networks with managed switches in order to take full advantage of its capabilities and to ensure high reliability. Load Balance mode allows network traffic to balance traffic across both Ethernet ports simultaneously. Failover mode allows one port to take over networking duties if the other one fails. Finally 802.3ad mode links both ports together for higher throughput but you must have a managed switch which supports link aggregation or NIC teaming.
The LAN2 port can be configured with a fixed IP address and set up to use jumbo frames if needed. The MaxNAS can also act as a DCHP server for any devices connected on the same subnet in lieu of using a router or other server for DHCP duties.
You can enable basic network services on the MaxNAS using the Service section, including WebDisk support used for managing files and folders via the Web. The Server Message Block (SMB) network is supported by major operating systems for sharing access to files and printers over the network and is mandatory for clients running Windows operating systems. These two services are enabled by default. You can also enable the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) service that allows the MaxNAS to be automatically detected by other devices on the network that support the UPnP protocol.
The Apple Filing Protocol service can be enabled for use by any client machines running an Apple operating system. You can specify character set and any AppleTalk zone if needed. By default the AFP service is not enabled.
The MaxNAS can support the Network File System (NFS). With this service enabled you can specify mount points for system shares (folders) for access by Linux/UNIX systems. This service is also disabled by default.
The MaxNAS can act as an FTP server, allowing users to access shares across the network and even from the Internet. Once you've enabled the service you can set the port used or accept the standard port number (21). You can also allow anonymous access for both directions, just for downloads or disable it altogether. Ticking the Auto Rename checkbox will cause the system to assign a unique name to any duplicate files uploaded. You can also set limits on the download and upload speeds independently at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32 MB/s or leave it set at Unlimited.
You can set the MaxNAS up to act as a target for nSync operations and use it to receive files backed up from another device using nSync. This service comes enabled by default.
I missed this option the first time through and only found out about it from reading the manual. I was fairly certain it wasn't there when I first started going through the option list and was curious to find out why. It turns out this option doesn't appear while the RAID array is being built and will disappear during a rebuild. It will also show up on the Status page in the Service Status pane once the array has been built.
The Media Server section allows you to enable media streaming service to home media adapters on the network that support UPnP or comply with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard. All you have to do is click on the radio button to enable the service and choose one or more shared folders containing your multimedia files. Although MicroNet claims the MaxNAS is iTunes compatible, I could not get iTunes to recognize the server as a shared resource.
Let's move on to the Accounts section and learn how to create users and assign them to groups.