Lacie 2big Network network-attached storage - Review

Lacie 2big Network network-attached storage - Review

Lacie 2big Network network-attached storage - ReviewChoose big storage or Raid protection on this Nas appliance

Pros: Dual hot-swap Sata disks; choice of concatenated storage or Raid 1 mirroring; multiprotocol file sharing; USB storage expansion; 1-click sharing of USB flash drives

Cons: No support for Windows domains; lack of documentation

Bottomline: An affordable network storage appliance for small workgroups with useful Raid protection for those who want it

Price: £279 (£237.45 ex Vat) for 1TB model

Manufacturer: Lacie

The Lacie 2big Network is an impressive, professional-looking network-attached storage (Nas) appliance.

As the name implies, it’s big on storage space, with optional Raid protection also available if needed.

The die-cast metal casing is very solid, with lots of fins to aid disk cooling and an external AC adapter to further help in this respect.

The whole thing can be desk or rackmounted with two Sata hard disks inside, screwed into separate hot-swappable carriers that slide out at the back. These can be locked into place.

The review system included a pair of 500GB Samsung 7,200rpm Sata 3Gbytes/sec disks, giving a maximum usable capacity of just less than 1TB.

A 1.5TB version (£348 ex Vat) and 2TB model (£509 ex Vat) are also available and all three can be configured to work in one of two modes.

In Big mode the space on the disks is simply concatenated to create one large volume. In Safe 100 mode the two disks are mirrored for Raid 1 protection.

The second mode halves the available capacity but adds 100 per cent data redundancy so that, should one of the disks stop working, no data will be lost.

A switch at the back is used to set the required mode (using a screwdriver) with a pair of USB ports alongside that can be used in two ways.

One is to expand the available storage by plugging in external USB hard disks (these can’t be Raid protected). The other is to share data held on a USB Flash drive.

Simply plug the Flash drive into one of the ports, press the blue status LED and the drive contents are copied to a share on the 2big volume, accessible to anyone on the Lan.

Very little setup work is required to get the 2big Network appliance up and working. Simply plug it into the network and switch it on, and a default public share is immediately available.

By default this is accessible to both Windows and Apple clients (using SMB and AFP file sharing respectively) with FTP and HTTP access similarly available unless otherwise disabled.

Additional shares can be created via the web-based management interface and access controlled via an internally managed list of users and user groups. Windows workgroup support comes as standard but we were disappointed to find no domain or Active Directory integration.

No special software is required at the client end, although you get a special Ethernet agent to help locate the appliance and access the storage it offers. This, though, requires Apple’s Bonjour to work (also included) and takes a while to install. You also get a simple utility to back up files from desktop PCs to the 2big device.

Compared to other small-business Nas appliances the 2big Network benefits from being quiet in operation and, with a Gigabit Ethernet Lan connection and Sata disks, quick to use.

As such, it could be used instead of a general-purpose network server, as a server backup or to augment network storage capacity.

Our only concerns were the somewhat simplistic software that shipped with the product, the lack of support for Windows domains and a distinct absence of information in the accompanying manuals, with the 1-click USB data sharing option, for example, not documented at all.