Boston Igloo 2U-10T Stor-10GCX4 review

Price when reviewed

We’re now starting to see a steady flow of systems with Windows Storage Server 2008 (WSS2008) as their chosen OS. The Igloo 2U-10T-Stor-10GCX4 from Boston amalgamates WSS2008 with a hardware platform built for speed.

This all-Supermicro package offers good storage capacity for the price, with all 12 hot-swap bays populated. For the OS, Boston has a pair of high-performance Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 SAS drives configured as a mirror, while for general storage ten 1TB Barracuda 7.2K SAS drives sit in a RAID6 array.

The most important new feature in iWSS2008 is the move to the Windows Server 2008 architecture. Microsoft offers four SKUs with WSS2008 Basic aimed at desktop NAS applications. It’s only 32-bit, has heavy restrictions on storage capacity and RAID options, and doesn’t offer iSCSI target capabilities.

Boston Igloo 2U-10T Stor-10GCX4

The Igloo comes with WSS2008 Standard, which has all features switched on and effectively has the same support for memory, RAID and storage capacity as Server 2008 Standard. With the 2003 R2 version, Microsoft charged extra for the iSCSI target software – but now it’s free. It’s 64-bit only and initial support for 2TB LUNs has been increased massively to 16TB.

Remote management is via RDP, and storage functions are all accessible from the Server Manager interface. Setting up shares is a cinch, as a wizard takes you through the entire process including NTFS permissions, sharing over SMB and NFS, and access restrictions. For shares you also get all the file screening, quotas and storage report features as standard.

A valuable feature of WSS2008 is its Single Instance Storage (SIS), which delivers data deduplication. But be aware that Microsoft’s implementation operates only at file – not block – level.

The Groveler service scans NTFS volumes designated for SIS operations looking for duplicate files. It moves them to the hidden Common File Store and replaces them with links. New SIS features in this version are support for clusters, an increase from six SIS volumes per server to 20, and the ability to remove SIS from a volume.


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