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Basic Functionality

As is indicated by the number in its name, the StorCenter px6-300d supports up to six disks. The installed disks can be joined into RAID arrays of the following types: 0, 1, 10, 5, 6 and JBOD. The process of creating shared resources is somewhat unusual with this NAS. First you build a RAID array out of your disks, then specify a disk volume of certain capacity and only then you can create shared folders. Take note of the second step: by default a disk volume is about half the whole capacity of the RAID. XFS is used for the file system.

You can change the capacity and type of your RAIDs without losing your data. Particularly, you can turn a mirror array into a RAID5 or a RAID5 into a RAID6. The last two types allow adding new disks, for example to increase the overall capacity of the array. The current version of the firmware does not allow to increase the capacity by sequentially replacing disks with higher-capacity ones in fault-tolerant arrays, though. This may be due to the complex disk structure described above. But you can assign replacement disks for fault-tolerant arrays. You can also choose the write cache mode: enabled, disabled or enabled with UPS.

You can create iSCSI volumes on your RAIDs. The NAS can use an integrated or external iSNS server and supports Mutual CHAP for all iSCSI volumes. For each volume individually you can specify access rights (the minimum password length is 12 characters). This service can be disabled if you don’t plan to use iSCSI.

I didn’t find a special page where I could check out the health of each HDD. Hopefully, the NAS uses S.M.A.R.T. technology and monitors the status of its HDDs.

Data access is provided by the following protocols: CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFS, FTP and WebDAV. The first of them is always on and can’t be disabled. You can specify the NAS’s network name and description, workgroup and domain. The AFP and FTP protocols have no settings at all. While it’s okay with AFP, I wish I could change port numbers, limit connections and speeds with FTP. The FTP server supports Unicode for non-Latin filenames. The NFS protocol has only one setting: root_squash/all_squash. By using WebDAV over HTTP/HTTPS you can access your documents via your web-browser. Windows DFS technology can be used to combine multiple external network resources in a single shared folder of the StorCenter px6-300d.

Files can be uploaded to the NAS via TFTP, too. Besides the mentioned AFP, Mac OS users may be interested in the NAS’s support for the backup tool Time Machine. The NAS’s factory settings provide access for every user. You can ensure more security by making the user enter his name/password. On this page you can also enable HTTPS-based access to the web-interface.

If the NAS is not on a domain, you have to enter user groups and accounts directly on it. There are no unusual options here except for choosing UID/GID for new accounts. Disk quotas can be assigned to users. If necessary, ordinary users can be permitted to administer the NAS. Access rights can be assigned for specific files and folders.

As I wrote above, shared folders are created on disk volumes which are located on RAID arrays. They can be accessed by anybody without any restrictions by default, but you can specify read-only access as well. For the NFS protocol you enter hosts and networks that can connect to the particular resource (in read-only or full-access mode). You can specify in a shared folder’s properties whether its files must be indexed by the media server.

Besides these conventional setup options, there are a couple of unusual ones. The View Content option has been mentioned above. It provides browser-based access to files. The second is Active Folders and helps to automatically process documents that are written to such a resource over LAN: the folder’s files or links to them can be sent by email, photos can be published on Facebook/Flickr and videos on YouTube, images can be resized or watermarked, files can be downloaded by BitTorrent.

The StorCenter px6-300d connects to a LAN via its two Gigabit Ethernet ports which support Jumbo Frames and can be combined for higher reliability or performance using the 802.3ad protocol. VLAN support can be handy for large networks (up to four networks for each network adapter).

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