Thecus N3200XXX NAS Server ReviewNemo - October 6, 2011
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The N3200XXX is managed using a web-based user interface accessed via your browser. All the setup, maintenance and monitoring functions are conducted via he UI. Without being able to determine the default IP address using the Setup Wizard, we need to refer to the quick reference guide on the CD to find out the default is 192.168.1.100. Typing http://192.168.1.100 in the address window of the browser and hitting enter brings up the login page for the UI. The default login is 'admin', and we don't need the user name as it supplies the administrator user name for you. There are two different flavors of default UI pages – traditional and Flash-based — and the functionality is identical, it's just a matter of personal preference. I kind of like the eye-candy of the Flash version myself. Although it doesn't show in the screen shot, there is a small amount of animation with the Flash version. You can flip between the two using the tab-like icon on the lower left side of the screen.
Now that we're logged in, there are some initial warning/information dialogs that appear. The first is a warning dialog offering several caveats, which all amount to the simple fact that Thecus is not responsible for your data or the time it might take to replace it in the event of a data loss. You can check the 'I agree' checkbox to avoid having to see the warning every time you log on. The next screen is a dialog prompting you to install the picture viewing and Web Disk file management software from the install CD; we'll get around to that later on in the review. The final is a quick look at the error logs that calls your attention to any problems or issues that may have occurred.
Once you make it past the initial set of dialogs you can see the home page that allows you to access all the features and configuration settings. Along the left side of the page is a frame containing a set of options, and each section can be expand to expose a subsection of items.
System Information – in this section you can view general information about the product and up time, system and service status, system logs, and more.
System Management – this section allows access to general configuration settings, such as date and time, configuring error notifications, schedule on/off settings, firmware updates, and many other options.
System Network – you can configure the various network settings for each of the Ethernet connections here, including IP address, DHCP settings, and jumbo frame support.
Storage - the storage section provides all the administrative tools concerning disk information and power management, configuring RAID volumes, allocating space, designating iSCSI targets, and creating shares and ISO mounts.
User and Group Authentication – you can configure ADS support in this section, along with creating and maintaining local users and groups and assigning disk usage quotas.
Network Service – the different file-sharing protocols, such as CIFS, AFP and NFS, can be enabled in this section, along with various other network services, such as Web Disk, UPnP and Bonjour.
Application Server – additional services, such as the iTunes server, and additional modules can be enabled and installed in this section.
Backup – This section is for backing up the configuration settings, as well as creating and running Rsync backup jobs.
External Devices – you can manage external devices, such as printers and UPS units, via options in this section.
To the right of the options menu is a Home pane containing icons that will take you directly to some of the more commonly accessed sections. Above that pane is a menu bar giving you access to context-based help information, a set of user-defined favorites, a shortcut to the shutdown/reboot options, and a logout option. I must say the Shutdown option is most welcome, one that is often wished for when doing these reviews, as it makes it easier to reboot the system without having to remember the section it is in and clicking through until you find it.
There are five subsections under the System Information section that provide information about the system, allow you to register the product, and view the system logs and configure access to the log entries.
This section provides manufacturer name, product name, and the installed firmware version. This information is also always displayed in the lower right-hand corner of all the UI pages.
The Status page has two sections – System Status and Service Status. Under System Status, you can see the CPU load factor, system fan status (which only tells you whether the fan is OK, not the current fan speed, which I think would have been much more useful), and the current up time for the server. The Service Status section shows the status of the services on the box and whether each is Running or Stopped. This provides a single location to get this information without having to visit each service page. In this screen shot, all services are currently stopped, which is the factory default. We'll configure these services later on in the review.
The logs display three levels of messages – Info, Warnings, and Errors. You can display all messages or filter on each level. You can also sort the messages based on timestamp, change the number of lines per page, and more. You can also truncate (clear) the logs or save the log file as a download.
Enabling this option will register the product with Thecus. It will also send the e-mail address from the notifications section, which Thecus will use to notify you of firmware upgrades and new modules. If you wish to receive notifications, be sure to set that up in the System Management section prior to registering the product. NB: If, like us, you didn't get a chance to configure the RAID volume in the Setup Wizard, you may receive a warning message telling you “You don't have any RAID system.”
If you enable the syslog daemon, the system generates system log messages for the syslog server and stores them on your NAS in 'Nsync > log > messages'. You can choose whether to access them locally using Samba/CIFS or remotely, and you can also choose the log level — All, Warnings and Errors, or Errors only.
The next step is to begin configuring the items in the System Management section.