Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 review
The feature set is limited, but that has an upside: there isn’t much to set up. As each PC gets its local software, it’s added to the Dashboard where you create scheduled backups jobs for it. Backup sources are added by browsing each PC’s local drives from the Dashboard, and you can decide whether wake-on-LAN-enabled PCs will be woken. The appliance maintains one backup schedule for all clients, in which you set a time window and decide how long to keep daily, weekly and monthly backups.
WSSE applies VSS snapshots and block-level deduplication across all PC backups to reduce storage demands, and after the first backup subsequent jobs will be quicker. When a backup job begins, it starts the Volume Shadow Copy service on the source PC – but annoyingly, the appliance can run only one backup job at a time.
General file-copy performance is reasonable, but won’t worry Qnap or Synology. Drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip over Gigabit returned read and write speeds of 78MB/sec, while copying a 17.4GB folder of 10,500 files to the appliance averaged a modest 41MB/sec.
We secured a 48GB system drive on a Windows 7 PC in 51 minutes, and saw the backup used only 22GB on the appliance – so deduplication was clearly working. Restoring files and folders is swift: select the PC in question, choose a backup job, what you want restored and where to put it.
For bare-metal recovery, put a USB stick into the appliance: it runs a wizard to turn it into a bootable WSSE Full System Restore disk. In our tests, this worked well. We used the stick to boot a backed up Windows 7 PC, followed the wizard to connect to the appliance, selected the desired backup and left it to restore.
There’s always a premium to pay for Windows Storage Server-powered NAS boxes, but the Sentinel DX4000 is reasonably priced. It’s easy to deploy and the remote web access, automated backup and bare-metal recovery features are very good, but we’d urge you to look at Qnap’s TS-459 Pro II for a superior feature set and performance.