Buffalo TeraStation 4400D review
Buffalo’s TeraStations have always differed from the competition in one major respect: you can only buy them pre-populated, and replacement drives must be supplied by Buffalo. This has finally changed with the TeraStation 4400D, which leaves you free to choose your own.
Apart from that, the 4400D is virtually identical to the TeraStation 5400: it has the same CPU, memory and port combination. Unfortunately, though, as the software features have also remained the same, it still lags behind appliances from rivals such as Netgear, Synology and Qnap.
The list of certified drives is short, too, and features only six Seagate and three WD Red models. Fortunately, we have plenty of WD Red HDDs in the lab and fitted four 3TB models in the appliance’s sturdy metal carriers.
Installation differs radically from pre-populated TeraStations. You boot the appliance from a USB port using its recovery microSD card and carrier. This takes ten minutes and only prepares the first hard disk. Once that’s done, it’s necessary to access the web interface in order to format the other three drives.
Before creating a RAID array, you must decide if you want both NAS and IP SAN operations, since this requires Buffalo’s logical volume manager (LVM). Without this, only one logical volume is supported. This may be used for NAS shares or an IP SAN volume, but not both. LVM allows multiple NAS and IP SAN volumes to exist in the same array, although enabling it deletes any existing shares. Likewise, disabling LVM will also delete its shares and iSCSI targets.
Once an array is created you can use it immediately, although we had to wait more than two days for our 8.2TB array to sync prior to performance testing. Iometer reported a speedy 112MB/sec raw read rate for a NAS share. Drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip returned good read and write speeds of 105MB/sec and 86MB/sec. We recommend enabling LVM, since we couldn’t see any performance overheads.
General backup performance is middling. A 17.4GB payload of 10,500 small files copied to the appliance at 53MB/sec – the A-Listed Synology DS1513+ returned a much faster 72MB/sec.
IP SANs are easy to create. You provide a name and size for the iSCSI target. Target expansion is available, but thin provisioning still isn’t supported and Buffalo can’t match Netgear’s block-level target snapshot feature.
Antivirus scanning comes courtesy of Trend Micro’s NAS Security cloud service. However, whereas Netgear provides this free of charge, Buffalo charges £53 for a one-year licence and £111 for three years.
NovaBackup Business Essentials makes light work of scheduled workstation backups, and the price includes a 10-user licence. Cloud features aren’t a patch on those of Netgear’s appliances, however, and there’s nothing here to rival those appliances’ excellent Replicate, ReadyDrop and Remote services.
IP camera surveillance is on the cards, too, but you’ll need to use a Windows PC as a host for the Surveillance Server software. The appliance acts as a vault for camera recording, while schedules and camera configurations are managed at the host PC.
Costing a reasonable £342, the 4400D stacks up well for value against the Netgear ReadyNAS 314. It isn’t short on performance, either. If you want more storage features, the best cloud services and block-level snapshots, however, the Netgear easily knocks the Buffalo into second place.
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Dimensions||170 x 231 x 216mm (WDH)|
|Software supplied||Buffalo Surveillance Server (1 camera licence) and NovaBackup Business Essentials v13 (10 licences) software|