Viridian PC Systems OfficeStor Express review

Reviews 15 Jan, 2013

Viridian’s goal is to offer the ‘finest range of home and small business servers in the world’. We test its OfficeStor Express and find out if the competition should be worried.

4
Price: 
£1,050
ex VAT for 12TB
Verdict: 
We wouldn’t go as far as saying the OfficeStor Express is the finest NAS appliance in the world but it’s good value and performs better than the Atom based systems from Western Digital and LaCie. It’s worth considering if you want a Windows powered NAS appliance and Viridian’s IP SAN and backup features are a cut above the rest as well.

Lancashire based Viridian PC started life in 2011 with its range of build-to-order OfficeStor Pro NAS appliances offering a choice of CPUs, memory and hard disks. Its OfficeStor Express models are pre-configured and ready to go out-of-the-box.

These four-bay desktop boxes are supplied with Western Digital’s latest Red SATA hard disks and on review we have the 12TB model. Build quality feels solid enough with the drives mounted in sturdy, lockable hot-swap carriers.

The appliance has a large rear mounted fan which we found to be quiet during testing. Viridian uses an Intel Server Board S1200KP equipped with a 2.2GHz Intel Pentium G620T and you also get a good choice of ports with dual Gigabit, two USB3 and two USB2.

The Express comes with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (WSSE) preinstalled. Supporting up to 25 users, this provides simple file sharing, PC backup and recovery services plus secure web access for remote users.

The review system came with four 3TB hot-swap drives and Viridian PC has standardised on Western Digital’s Red SATA drives

Remote management and backup features

Installation starts with a local connection to the appliance where WSSE gets a few basics such as secure admin access and automatic updates sorted out. You then download the Connector and Launchpad software by pointing a web browser at the appliance from each client and following its instructions.

For general management you use the Dashboard which provides swift access to all WSSE features. After receiving the Connector, each PC appears in the Dashboard ready for backup configuration.

Backups can be run for entire machines or selected files and folders and you decide how long to keep daily, weekly and monthly backups. You can’t schedule backups for a specific time as WSSE uses a window during which it attempts to run as many as possible.

Larger sites may find this an issue as WSSE can only run one client backup at a time. However, it applies VSS snapshots and block level deduplication so after the first full backup has finished, subsequent jobs are much quicker.

The Windows RWA interface allows remote users to access other computers, shared folders on the appliance and media libraries.

Bare metal recovery

The Launchpad utility provides users with quick access to backup status, shared folders, remote web access (RWA) and the Dashboard. The RWA console allows users to access the appliance over the Internet, view their shares and media folders and fire up an RDP session with their PC.

For data restoration, the Dashboard must be run from the same PC with admin privileges. The user can then choose a backup job and volume, pick a file or folder and return it to its original place or another location.

Full bare metal recovery is a standard WSSE feature and is easy to use. Pop a USB stick in the appliance and it’ll format it as a bootable Full System Restore disk. Boot the sick PC from the stick and it loads a wizard, connects to the appliance and restores its hard disk from the selected full backup.

Viridian includes the LDisk-D plug-in which provides a good range of IP SAN features

Specifications: 

Chassis: Desktop

Motherboard: Intel Server Board S1200KP

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Pentium G620T

Memory: 4GB DDR3 expandable to 8GB

Storage: 4 x 3TB WD Red SATA III hot-swap hard disks

Array support: RAID1, 5

Network: 2 x Gigabit

Other ports: 2 x USB3; 2 x USB2

Power: Internal supply

Software: Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials preinstalled

Warranty: 3yrs RTB

Read more about: