Buffalo TeraStation Pro 6 Bay review
Buffalo may be doing well in the consumer NAS appliance sector, but its business offerings have suffered from a lack of development. The latest TeraStation Pro appliances aim to rectify this, and they also break the four-drive barrier that’s hampered Buffalo for so long.
The range includes six- and eight-bay units, both of which look identical – with one small difference. The TeraStation Pro 6 Bay on review has pairs of USB 2 and USB 3 interfaces at the rear, where the eight-bay unit has only two USB 2 ports. The six-bay model also has a blanking plate over two drive carrier slots, but don’t bother removing it – the backplane has only six drive interfaces.
The chassis is well built with a lockable front panel, and the two cooling fans at the rear are almost silent. Buffalo offers 6TB, 12TB and 18TB capacities – but you can’t buy the appliance diskless, and replacement drives can only be bought from Buffalo.
Buffalo’s NASNavigator 2 software finds the appliance on the network and provides a quick drive-mapping service. The main web interface can be accessed from here as well, although this hasn’t been updated since it was introduced with Buffalo’s TeraStation III.
The drives comes preconfigured in a RAID6 array, but you can delete this and create RAID5, mirrored or striped arrays for more capacity. Unlike most of the competition, the appliance doesn’t support IP SANs; Buffalo wants you to use its elderly iSCSI unit for this.
FTP services can be activated on selected shares and Buffalo’s WebShare allows them to be accessed remotely over the internet via a web browser. The TeraStation can also function as a destination for the OS X Time Machine service, but it doesn’t support cloud backup services such as Amazon’s S3 or ElephantDrive.
Buffalo has standardised on Atom 1.66GHz D510 processors for its new appliances and memory receives a boost up to 2GB. This has improved performance, with the six-bay model much faster than the TeraStation III.
Using a Dell PowerEdge R515 server running Windows Server 2008 R2, we saw drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip return read and write speeds of 85MB/sec and 35MB/sec. FTP speeds were slightly faster, with the FileZilla client reporting 99MB/sec and 38MB/sec respectively with the same test file.
Our collection of small files wasn’t handled so well, with a 17.4GB folder of 10,500 files copied to the appliance at a pedestrian 20MB/sec. Backing up data will be slow, but Buffalo does include useful tools and features.
The price includes a ten-user copy of NovaBackup Business Essentials, which supports both Windows workstations and servers. Replication to a remote TeraStation is also supported, and it can manage up to eight backup schedules for copying data from a share to one that has the Disk Backup option enabled.
The new TeraStation Pro 6 Bay scores well for value, but compared with both Qnap and Synology, it’s well short on features. The new hardware has boosted performance; unfortunately, it still isn’t enough.