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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network
Written by Bruce Normann   
Monday, 28 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Network Storage Device
Closer Look: IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE
Insider Details: IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE
IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Features
IOCELL NDAS Software Features
IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Specifications
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
Non-Traditional NAS Test Results
NAS Server Final Thoughts
IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Conclusion

IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE NDAS Review

Manufacturer: IOCELL Networks Corp.
Product Name: IOCELL NetDISK SOLO NEWFAST
Model Number: 351UNE
Price As Tested: $59.99 (Amazon)

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.

IOCELL_Networks_NetDISK_351UNE_NDAS_Front_01.jpg

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.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Network Storage DeviceMack 2011-12-01 20:38
Pretty cool device. Its good to see some creativity out there.
Thanks for the review!
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# AgreedBruce 2011-12-02 07:33
Yeah, I was sorta caught off-guard by this product. I wasn't really expecting something this unique and this good. There's so many me-too products out there, and it can be tough to spot the stand-outs.
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# RE: IOCELL NetDISK 351UNE Network Storage DeviceAthlonite 2011-12-05 23:20
Me likes I've been looking at getting a small NAS to plonk on the GB switch but I seriously wasn't interested paying 2~300 bucks for the ability.... This product is just what the disk space shortage ordered
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# Look for the bargains.....Bruce 2011-12-07 04:59
"The models with 1TB and 2T drives preinstalled are better bargains now that the Thailand flooding has driven the price of bare HDDs up through the roof."
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# Where have you been all my life.Mergatroid 2011-12-06 17:54
Wow, I sure could have used this a few months ago. I have a NAS with a single drive, not very good but serviceable for file streaming and storage. I have a dual drive NAS in RAID 1 backing up the first NAS, and backing up my system backup drive. I didn't really need a RAID1 for backing up my NAS and system backup, but it added redundancy as you mentioned. One of these network drives (or two) would have been just what I was looking for. I hope they're still around when I need more storage. I really like the transfer rate and the universal nature of the added ports (USB and eSATA). I think this is an amazing value at the price mentioned. Nice review too. Good breakdown on what the drive does and what it doesn't do.
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# It's a great alternative...Bruce 2011-12-06 20:41
It's a great alternative to some of the other solutions out there. There's no doubt that it's the most cost-effective choice for several usage scenarios, where it performs as well as devices that are 5x the cost.
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