LapiStor RAIDMate NAS review

Price when reviewed

The RAIDMate NAS from LapiStor adds an interesting new angle to small business network storage. It’s the first appliance on the market to utilise iSCSI for remote file- and system-recovery procedures. Not only that, but as with the A-Listed ReadyNAS NV from Infrant Technologies, it also delivers no less than a 2TB capacity at a very tempting price.

LapiStor RAIDMate NAS review

Whereas Infrant designs its own appliances, LapiStor uses Intel’s Entry Storage System SS4000-E. However, Intel has merely taken the Lanner Electronics NS04-4100 as its own. Build quality is average, as the chassis is constructed almost entirely of aluminium, so if you want a heavyweight rather than a featherweight then the ReadyNAS NV and its indestructible steel chassis is the one to go for.

The bundled Storage System Console makes light work of installation, and the web interface starts with disk and array configuration. Workstation backup can be automated and during this phase you enter the number of client hard disks you plan to secure and their capacities. The routine will then automatically partition the hard disks for general file sharing and client backup. General storage-sharing features aren’t overly exciting, with security and read/write privileges handled by user and group membership. Active Directory support should be implemented by the time you read this. FTP services are available, but control is limited, as this only allows users to access the public folder and their own home folders.

The bundled data-recovery utility requires Microsoft’s freely available iSCSI initiator software to be installed on each client. Using a simple wizard, you select complete drives or partitions to be backed up, the target appliance and a daily schedule. There are some limitations, as dynamic disks aren’t supported and only four copies of a drive or partition are maintained. So running a daily backup won’t give rollback protection for a full week. Performance will depend on the network infrastructure, as we secured an 8GB system partition to the appliance over Gigabit Ethernet in only 12mins 30secs.

Data recovery is more comprehensive, with backups presented as iSCSI targets. You don’t need to know anything about the underlying technology, as the utility automatically logs the iSCSI initiator onto the appliance target. You select a backup from the list and this will be assigned a drive letter, allowing it to be accessed from Windows Explorer for simple drag-and-drop operations.

You can restore entire non-system partitions from the utility as well. System partition restoration requires the system to be booted with the supplied CD-ROM, which loads FalconStor’s recovery environment and iSCSI initiator. It runs a hardware inventory and attempts to load drivers for the disk subsystem and network adapters, but you might want to have these handy, as we found it has embedded drivers for only the more common products. Once the system has an IP address, you can provide the name of client and server, enter the recovery password and select a partition or drive to restore.

The RAIDMate NAS won’t win any prizes for its general level of storage-sharing capabilities, as it’s outshone by the ReadyNAS NV. However, it does offer comparatively good value, and its highly unusual recovery features makes it stand out from the crowd.

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