Thecus N4100PRO NAS Server ReviewNemo - July 19, 2010
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There are several housekeeping type functions covered under System Management such as setting the server time, configuring the email notification functionality, scheduling on/off times, log off and reboot the server, upgrade the firmware and several other system administration functions.
Under this section you can manually set the date and time on the N4100PRO and choose the appropriate time zone from the drop down list. There are also radio buttons to enable the NAS to act as a network time protocol (NTP) server for other devices on your network and to enable synchronization with an external NTP server. You can choose one of the servers from the drop down list or manually enter one of your own choosing. If you make any changes here or in other other section be sure to hit the Apply button to enable the changes. The system with prompt you to confirm the setting changes and notify you when the changes are completed.
You can set up two types of notifications with the N4100PRO so that you can be alerted to events that occur on the device. The first type of notification is an audible beep that will alert you of any problems. Once the alarm goes off, there's no option to cancel the alarm from the unit itself, you can only cancel the alert from the Notification screen in the UI. You can also set up the unit to alert you of any issues via e-mail. For this you will need the address of a SMTP server and the proper authentication protocol. The N4100PRO comes pre-configured with different authentication types including 'login' which should work for most normal accounts requiring authentication and 'gmail' for those wanting to use Gmail as their SMTP server. Once you put in the server name and authentication type, you'll need to supply the account id and password information. You can specify up to four e-mail addresses to receive e-mail alerts. You can use the E-Mail Test button to send out test e-mails to make sure everything is set up properly. Hitting the Apply button will save the changes.
We've already been through the firmware upgrade process when we upgraded to the new 3.00.05 version. The process is essentially the same where you browse to the file containing the upgrade and press the Apply button. As before, the system will stop all running services while the upgrade is in process. Once the system has finished the upgrade the system will reboot in order for the changes to become effective.
You can set up a schedule to power the N4100PRO on and off with two different times allowed per day. Once you click the Enable Schedule On/Off you can choose and action of On or Off and select the time based on a 24-hour clock with times limited to 5-minute increments. Again, you must click the Apply button for changes to take effect. Whenever the system shuts down due to a scheduled event, a notification is sent out if you have notifications enabled.
Wake Up on LAN
The N4100PRO supports wake-on LAN (WOL) service which you can enabled through the Enable radio button. Once enabled, you can activate the server by sending a special formatted broadcast frame known as a 'magic packet'. Once received, the NAS turns itself on and goes through the normal boot process. Testing the feature on the N4100PRO went without a hitch and I was able to turn the server on remotely using this feature.
The N4100PRO supports UPS monitoring via USB cable. If the unit's power cord is plugged into a supported uninterruptible power supply, you can monitor the status using one of the rear USB ports. Using the UPS page you can select the manufacturer and model of your UPS and set the unit up to monitor the power and notify you via e-mail if power is lost; of course you must have e-mail notifications set up as detailed earlier in this section. You can also set the unit to power down cleanly when the battery power falls below a preset level. That's certainly a nice feature to have to prevent data loss and possible RAID array corruption. It would have been nice to have the unit automatically detect the UPS make/model like it does on the QNAP TS-509.
The remainder of the options in the System Management section are grouped together under the Utility node which can be expanded to to reveal the other options.
Here you can change the password on the Administrator account on the server. Just as we saw during the initial setup process, you can type in a new password then type it in again to make sure you have it correctly entered and press the Apply button to save the changes.
The Config Mgmt section allows you to save the current system configuration settings to a file on the host system as well as restore the NAS to a previous state by uploading a saved configuration file. You can save the configuration settings by hitting the Download button where you will be prompted to confirm the download and then be asked to supply a file name and location. By default it uses 'conf.bin' as the file name and will use your browser's default download folder.
Restoring a saved settings file is as easy as clicking on the Browse button to the right of the file name box and navigating to the location of the saved .bin file and selecting it. Once you hit the Upload button, the system loads the saved settings and asks you to reboot the server for the settings to take place.
If you ever need to revert back to the factory default settings this option allows you to do that at a push of a button. While the owner's manual says your data will not be lost, it is always prudent to make sure you back up your data prior to resetting the system.
Reboot & Shutdown
These two options are fairly self-explanatory. You click the Shutdown button to safely end all services and data operations and power down the server. The Reboot button performs a shutdown/restart process. Pressing either button will cause the system to present you with a confirmation dialog asking you to confirm the action. The system will also send out a notification to the email addresses secified alerting you to the reboot/shutdown event.
File System Check
The File System Check allows you to perform a check on the integrity of your disks’ file system. Once you hit the Apply button to begin the process, you will be prompted to allow the system to reboot. Click the Yes button to reboot and once the reboot is complete the system returns you to the file File System Check page with a listing of all the RAID volumes on the system. Place a check next to the volume you want to examine and click the Next button. In the fourth screen shot below, you will notice the volume status is shown as 'Degraded'. That is because I ran the file system check after having simulated a hard drive failure by remove Disk 5 from the array. Normally the status would show as 'Healthy'. You can also choose to not perform the file system check by hitting the Reboot button.
On the next page click the Start button to begin the scan. You will see the last 20 lines of information in the upper pane and the final results displayed in the Results pane at the bottom. Once complete, you need to hit the Reboot button to reboot the server.
We've examined all the System Management functions so let's move on to the System Network features and services.