Thecus N8800 SAS review
Thecus is the first to deliver an SMB NAS and IP SAN appliance with support for SAS hard disks. Could the N8800 SAS be the fastest we’ve seen yet?
It goes one step further as its new N8800 SAS - kindly supplied by Origin Storage (0844 288 6868) - is the first SMB NAS appliance to deliver support for both SATA and SAS hard disks.
Deployed as a 2U rack chassis, the N8800 SAS is an eight-bay appliance that has a solid look to its construction. The drives fit in lockable hot-swap carriers and the whole lot can be protected with a flip-up grill. A backlit LCD panel plumb in the centre provides plenty of useful information about the status of arrays, drives, the network ports and IP addresses and the control pad alongside can be used for manual configuration.
Fault tolerance is good as along with plenty of RAID array choices you have two hot-plug power supplies and the pair of Gigabit ports can be linked into load balanced or failover teams. You also get the benefit of Thecus' dual-DOM, which we first saw in our review of the N5500. This aims to provide OS fault tolerance by using a pair of 128MB IDE micro disk modules.
These are stacked on top of each other with the lower one plugged directly into the motherboard IDE interface. If one fails the other takes over but it is designed purely to get the appliance back up and ensure the storage remains accessible in an emergency. You can't interact with it as the secondary DOM is read-only so won't have any of your custom settings on it.
The N8800 SAS offers a top specification as it sports a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processor partnered by 4GB of DDR2 memory. You have pairs of USB ports fore and aft and an eSATA port as well. You can ignore the two PCI-Express expansion slots on the motherboard as Thecus still hasn't decided what to do with them yet.
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