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Basic Functionality

This is the first NAS product from Buffalo Technology we’ve ever tested in our labs, so we are going to describe its firmware features in detail. It’s interesting to see if there are any original functions here.

The LinkStation seems to be a regular mainstream NAS which doesn’t offer too much functionality, but let's take a closer look at it.

As we’ve said above, the LinkStation series comes with preinstalled HDDs configured as RAID0. GPT partitioning is used, so there should be no problems upgrading to 3-terabyte HDDs. About 7 gigabytes of total storage are allotted for system files. The disk volume with user data uses the XFS file system.

The array type can be changed to RAID1 if necessary. You can also get rid of RAID altogether and use the two HDDs independently. The LinkStation Pro Duo doesn’t support hot swapping. You can only replace the HDDs when the NAS is turned off. Migration from any of the two HDDs to a RAID1 array can be performed without losing your data. The sync speed is about 200 GB/hour in that case. The NAS remains accessible via the network during migration but at a lower speed.

The NAS can be set up to shut down automatically if the RAID fails. Disk volumes can be tested for errors on a regular basis, but all of the NAS's services are turned off during the test.

If you want to replace the default HDDs with others, the LinkStation Pro Duo allows doing that by changing them one by one. Data is backed up and restored during that process. Theoretically, it should be possible to copy the OS and data to a new HDD via a PC, yet this NAS doesn’t allow installing its firmware on clean HDDs via network.

The network settings are standard for this class of devices: name, workgroup, IP address (with DHCP support), MTU (up to 9 KB). The NAS can be integrated into a domain or active directory for user and access rights management.

For home applications you can enter users and groups right on the NAS. There are no unusual settings here. You can only assign disk quotas to user accounts. A guest account is available.

The LinkStation Pro Duo allows creating any number of shared folders. The access rights can be read-only, read and write or selected individually for specific users and groups. A network recycle bin is supported for deleted files (CIFS protocol only). You can also create a recycle bin on your USB disk if the latter uses an EXT3 or XFS file system.

The LinkStation Pro Duo can be accessed via CIFS, FTP/SFTP or AFP. CIFS works always while the other two protocols can be disabled. Thanks to Unicode support there are no problems with non-Latin filenames.

User access rights are specified for all the protocols at once. The LinkStation Pro Duo supports UPnP and Bonjour for finding network resources and services automatically.

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