Making the N2800 ready to work is quite easy. You install your HDDs, connect the NAS to your network, wait for it to boot up, and use Thecus Setup Wizard to identify the IP address and load its web interface. The disk bays are compatible with 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch HDDs, the smaller form-factor probably being preferable in terms of lower heat dissipation and noise. The Thecus N 2800 has a fixed IP address by default, so you may want to use Setup Wizard to change it. We tested our Thecus N2800 with its latest firmware version 2.03.06.atom.
The interface is hardly different from Thecus’s earlier products. It supports HTTPS, has an integrated help system, allows to change its port numbers, and is available in several languages. The overall design is classic with a menu tree on the left, a few extra icons at the top and bottom, and a main page with settings in the center. You can compile your own list of frequently accessed features to be displayed on the start page.
Besides accessing administration options, the web-interface is used to work with add-on modules such as Web Disk or Photo Server.
The N2800 connects to a LAN via its two Gigabit Ethernet adapters which support Jumbo Frames up to 9000 bytes, IPv4/IPv6 and WoL. Their IP addresses are assigned by an external DHCP server or set up manually. The two Ethernet controllers can be teamed up to increase bandwidth or reliability. They can also be used to connect the NAS to two different networks. The integrated DHCP/RADVD server may come in handy in the latter case.
To configure access from the internet, you can use the DDNS client and port translation via a compatible UPnP router. The NAS supports UPnP and Bonjour as identification protocols.
The HDD status section allows you to check out your HDDs, run S.M.A.R.T. tests and scan them for bad blocks. The HDDs can be turned off if not accessed for a certain period of time. You can also use S.M.A.R.T. for the external disk connected via the eSATA port.
Considering that the Thecus N2800 has two disk bays, the total amount of disk storage can be as high as 8 terabytes (with two 4TB HDDs). The HDDs can be used as JBOD, RAID0 or RAID1. You can specify the block size (from 32 KB to 4 MB, for RAID0 only) and file system (EXT3, EXT4, XFS). Encrypted disk volumes are supported but you cannot encrypt an existing volume.
The Thecus N2800 supports iSCSI with Thin Provision, LUN access control and different sector size (512 bytes or 4 KB).
It supports file system scanning in offline mode while rebooting. The Thecus N2800 stores the code and data of add-on software modules one of its disk volumes, so you’ll have to restore the utilities you need after you remove that volume.
Data on the NAS can be accessed via all modern networking protocols: Samba/CIFS, AFP, FTP, and NFS. Access control is implemented via an integrated user database, Windows AD or LDAP server. User management options include importing and exporting user accounts. Disk quotas are supported for users only with EXT4 and XFS file systems.
Each of the mentioned protocols can be turned on apart from the others. A network recycle bin can be enabled for Samba/CIFS, and you can limit the storage time and total size of the bin. AFP will be handy for Apple users, considering the NAS’s compatibility with the backup tool Time Machine. The NFS server supports versions 3 and 4 of the protocol. To control access rights, the administrator can specify system addresses and access mode (read only or read & write). The Thecus N2800 can save backup copies of access control lists to its disk arrays and restore them when necessary.
The FTP server offers a lot of settings. It can run in passive mode, with encryption, on different ports. It supports UTF-8 encoding, can prevent anonymous access and limit the speed of uploading and downloading.
When the first RAID is formatted, a few shared folders will be created on it automatically. You can create more, if necessary, and specify access rights and description in each folder’s properties.
Besides the standard network resources, the Thecus N2800 offers two more opportunities: mounting ISO images as subfolders in shared folders and mounting remote iSCSI volumes. In the latter case the disk must have a compatible file system (you can format it as EXT4 in the NAS’s web-interface). Its access rights can be edited.
Thus, the Thecus N2800 is good enough when it comes to basic NAS functionality. It supports Gigabit Ethernet, RAIDs, all popular protocols, access control and iSCSI.