NAS Appliances

Tandberg Data's main focus may have always been on the mid-range tape drive market but that hasn't stopped it dabbling in network storage for a couple of years now. It currently offers a modest portfolio with the StorageCab family comprising three models which all use the same chassis and key hardware and are differentiated by storage capacity and features. The 4000 Basic comes with a couple of SATA hard disks, the 4000 on review has the full compliment of four drives whilst the 4000S gets an extra SCSI controller for attaching a local tape drive for backup duties.

Along with Boston's 1000N Pro, the 4000 also uses a Supermicro motherboard although some of Tandberg's hardware is looking a little long in the tooth. The motherboard is comparatively old now, it's equipped with a Celeron processor and the memory contingent is quite meagre as well. More impressive is the fact that Windows Storage Server 2003 (WSS2003) is in the driving seat so you know you'll be getting a decent range of storage related features.

The system came supplied with four 250GB SATA hard disks and these are connected to the embedded quad-port Marvell SATA controller. This does offer Adaptec's HostRAID feature but it is merely used to provide the SATA interfaces. All RAID functions are handled by the OS with the drives preconfigured in a variety of arrays. The system drive is set up across two drives as a mirror, the same amount of space on the other two disks is also arranged as a mirror whilst the remaining 680GB is a four-drive RAID-5 array.

Software managed arrays will always have an impact on overall performance and this showed in our tests with the 4000 returning comparatively low read and write results.

With a standard motherboard in residence you can attach monitor, mouse and keyboard and manage the appliance locally if you wish. However, the WSS2003 remote web management interface is no different to the other similarly equipped appliances making it easy to install and configure the 4000.

Client support is better than some as Tandberg's implementation of WSS2003 includes the AFP file protocol as well as CIFS/SMB and NFS. The appliance can be used as an FTP and web server as well and each protocol can be enabled or disabled as required. You get basic data backup options as you can use the Volume Shadow Copy Service to take scheduled point-in-time snapshots of selected volumes. Storage usage can be controlled by applying quotas at the directory level for each user but note that unlike NEC's Storage NS440 you don't get the file screening option so you can't control what can be copied to the appliance.

The appliance has some basic remote monitoring tools as you can use the bundled Supermicro Client utility. This has to be accessed via a Remote Desktop connection but at least you can keep an eye on critical components and pick up alerts of failures via email or pager.

You do get a good feature set from the preinstalled WSS2003 but there's nothing here that makes the StorageCab stand out as it delivers a low storage capacity for the price, average performance and a dated hardware specification.


A reasonable level of NAS related features but there's little here to recommend as the StorageCab is best described as average in all departments

1U chassis Motherboard - Supermicro P4SCT+II CPU - Intel Celeron 2.4GHz Chipset - Intel E875P Memory - 512MB PC2100 expandable to 4GB Storage controller - Embedded 4-port Marvell SATA Disk drives - 4 x 250GB Seagate MaXLine Plus II SATA Spare expansion slots - None Network ports - 2 x Intel Gigabit Power - 1 x 300W Operating System - Windows Storage Server 2003 Management - Local and web browser Protocol support - CIFS/SMB, NFS, AFP iSCSI - No Warranty - 3yrs RTB

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.