Cisco NSS 326 Smart Storage review

Cisco has another stab at the SMB NAS market with a range of new desktop appliances. Read this exclusive review of its NSS 326 Smart Storage to see whether it’s got it right this time.

Those with sharp eyes will have noticed that the NSS 326 bears a striking resemblance to QNap's TS-659 Pro which, on the surface, has a very similar feature set. QNap's diskless version also costs over 150 less so we asked Cisco why the NSS 326 is a better bet.

First up is Cisco's five year warranty which includes its Small Business Pro Service with worldwide chat, phone and community support. The basic manufacturer's warranty on the TS-659 Pro is only one year.

QNap's Surveillance Station which provides direct recording and motion detection for up to four IP cameras is not supported on the NSS 326. However, Cisco advised us that the features provided by this application do not meet its small business customer requirements and it offers its AVMS software instead which is an additional purchase.

Cisco has also integrated a RADIUS server into the NSS 326 and has big plans for future applications. It told us it is working on a range of new apps which include a bulletin board, Wiki, e-learning, asset management, web analytics, a newsgroup reader and an email server. QNap's NAS devices already have a fairly wide range of available apps.

The NSS 326 is superior to Cisco's previous SMB NAS appliances as it has far more features and a much greater storage capacity. QNap's TS-659 Pro is the cheaper option and certainly doesn't disappoint for features but if you can afford it, the NSS 326 is a better bet if you want the peace of mind that Cisco's five year warranty offers.

Verdict

Overall performance isn’t great for a NAS appliance costing nearly a grand but the NSS 326 Smart Storage does have a heap of useful features and lots of disk bays. It’s not as good value as QNap’s TS-659 Pro which is almost identical but the higher price will get you Cisco’s five year warranty and the possibility of a greater range of web applications in the future.

Chassis: Desktop CPU: 1.66GHz Intel Atom D510 Memory: 1GB DDR2, 512MB DOM Storage: 6 x 3.5in or 2.5in SATA hard disk hot-swap bays RAID: Software managed Array support: RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 5 + hotspare, JBOD Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet Other ports: 5 x USB2, 2 x eSATA Management: Web browser Software: Cisco NSS Discovery Tool

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