|IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Network Storage Device|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 28 November 2011|
Page 1 of 11
IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE NDAS Review
Manufacturer: IOCELL Networks Corp.
Full Disclosure: The product used in this review was supplied by IOCELL Networks
The first thing that IOCELL Networks wants you to know about the NetDISK 351UNE is that it is not a NAS; instead it is a network-direct-attached-storage (NDAS) device. It does not function as a server, and there are some distinct benefits that come with that. For one: size, cost and complexity go way down. Two: it does not use TCP/IP to connect to your network, which eliminates all common TCP/IP-based methods for hacking into your data. Three: it's faster, since there is so much less overhead to manage. Sometimes, less is more. Benchmark Reviews has looked at several full-range NAS products in the last few months, now let's investigate what a more tightly focused approach can provide.
The NetDISK 351UNE uses a proprietary Lean Packet Exchange (LPX) protocol to transfer data to and from your network, and this protocol is contained in a driver package that must be loaded on each computer that desires access to the data store. Before you balk at that, it's the same with printers, scanners, or any other peripheral device on your network, so don't despair. There are advantages, such as the fact that no one is likely to hack into your LPX device. I'll take that over troubles with DHCP settings, any day.
The IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE is the first logical step up from an ordinary direct-attached-storage device. Hooking an external drive up to your PC with USB 3.0 or eSATA makes that storage available on the PC it's connected to, and it can also be accessed by other computers on the network through drive sharing. The downside is that the target PC may not always be turned on, or if it's a laptop, it may not even be in the building. Also, folder sharing is still a little cumbersome, and introduces security risks. If you're worried about hidden malware on your own PC, just imagine the number and the types of threats that are contained on the typical teenager's laptop.
The 351UNE is one of the lowest cost storage units on the market to offer a full complement of interfaces - Ethernet, eSATA, and USB. The unit I tested came without a drive, and there are also units available with 1TB and 2TB drives installed at the factory. I like the ability to choose the brand and type of HDD that contains my data, so this unit is the one I would most likely purchase.
Three features dominate the discussion of network storage hardware: data capacity, data security, and data transfer speed. The current crop of NAS devices offer a dizzying array of applications to help manage and distribute the data, and provide several new ways of accessing that data. The 351UNE is content to live a simpler life, serving up files and folders with a stripped down interface that looks and acts just like a local drive. As such, it focuses intently on those three critical features: capacity, security and speed. Going back to basics also caps the cost as well, which always an advantage.
Benchmark Reviews wants to believe that smaller, faster and cheaper is better, but we remain skeptics at heart. Let's dig in and carry out a full review of this new class of network storage products, and see how it compares to more traditional solutions.