Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 review

Price when reviewed

Until now, Western Digital has always focused its NAS products on consumers, but the latest Sentinel DX4000 shifts that gaze up to SMBs. This is Western Digital’s first Atom-powered appliance, and its first to use Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (WSSE).

As the entry point to Microsoft’s Storage Server 2008 R2 family, WSSE targets small businesses of up to 25 users. It provides simple file-sharing, PC backup and recovery services, secure web access for remote users, and smooth integration with existing AD domains.

Along with a dual-core 1.8GHz Atom D525 and 2GB of DDR3 RAM, the appliance offers pairs of USB 3 and Gigabit ports. The latter supports failover mode – but not link aggregation. Western Digital has opted for the same trayless drive-loading system as Drobo B800i: simply slip a drive into each bay and close the locking lever. It has two power inputs at the back, so redundancy can be added with a second power brick. You could use an UPS instead, but the power brick uses C5/C6 cloverleaf connectors rather than a standard kettle lead.

Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

After a quick browser-based setup process to secure admin access, you point clients at the appliance and run the web setup routine to load the connector and Launchpad software. We wouldn’t recommend using it for server backup, since Windows Server 2008 R2 isn’t fully supported for appliance connections.

For further management, you can RDP to the appliance, but there’s little to be gained since the Dashboard remote interface offers easier access to features. A wizard is provided to set up remote web access to the appliance, and will find a UPnP router and attempt to set up port forwarding on it.

Plenty of help is provided to set up port forwarding, and the wizard also assists with domain name creation. During user setup you can define read and write access to each shared folder on the appliance, and decide whether users get remote web access.


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