HP StorageWorks X510 Data Vault review

£593
Price when reviewed

Despite being launched nearly two years ago, Microsoft’s Windows Home Server (WHS) hasn’t exactly set the storage world alight. HP is one of the few vendors that have flown the flag, and its latest X500 Data Vault appliances employ WHS to offer small businesses a simple and inexpensive data-sharing, backup and recovery facility.

The X510 uses the same chassis as HP’s Media Vault appliances. The price includes a pair of 1TB Barracuda SATA drives in hot-swap carriers and there’s space for two more. For external storage you have two pairs of USB2 ports, and there’s also an eSATA port at the back.

WHS isn’t managed with a web browser, so you start at your first network client and use the CD-based setup utility. This runs through naming the appliance, updating it and providing an administrative password that you won’t want to forget; otherwise, you’ll have to run the appliance recovery procedure.

HP StorageWorks X510 Data Vault

You only run the installation routine on the first client. Subsequent clients are asked for the server’s password and the process loads the server console and configures the backup facility to run daily between midnight and 6am, copying the contents of all available volumes.

From the server console you can view all attached computers and customise backup schedules for each one, set up user accounts and create shared folders. WHS doesn’t offer RAID support, instead employing Microsoft’s Drive Extender feature. This spans all drives to create a single volume and uses duplication to create mirrors of shared folders.

WHS has Windows Server 2003 R2 at its heart, and so offers a lot of strong security. User creation is a simple affair and access security for each one can be locked down tight. The X510 supports only up to ten Windows users, but there’s no limit on Mac users.

The X510 brings a lot of multimedia baggage from HP’s Media Vault models, including TwonkyVision MediaServer, an iTunes server, a photo album publisher and more. Extra services can be added easily, as along with commercial add-ins there’s a large community knocking out free ones.

The X510 moved at a fair clip through our performance tests. Using the automated backup facilities we secured two volumes totalling 55GB on a Vista client in only 28 minutes, for an average of 33.5MB/sec. Restoring files is easy: select a backup from the console, and drag the files within to a local folder.

Complete PCs and system drives can be recovered using the supplied bootable disk. We tested this on our Vista client, which had already been fully backed up. The disk loads a Windows environment and we simply followed the wizard and reinstated the entire system from the appliance in only 35 minutes.

Compared with NAS appliances such as Netgear’s ReadyNAS NVX, the X510 comes up short in the features department, and it also has a lot of extraneous multimedia toys. However, if you want totally automated workstation backup plus easy to use disaster recovery functions then this is worth considering.

Basic specifications

Capacity 2.00TB
RAID capability no
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Services

Other media servers iTunes

Connections

Ethernet ports 1
USB connection? yes
eSATA interface yes

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