Promise SmartStor NS4700 review

Promise's new SmartStor NAS appliance receives a much needed hardware boost. The NS4700 on review is a lot faster than previous models, but Dave Mitchell thinks there’s still work to be done. Read this review to find out why.

The new hardware in the NS4700 has made a big improvement to performance.

The NS4700 also supports snapshots for point-in-time volume backups and allows data on the appliance to be backed up to external USB disks. Cloud backup is supported too as the web interface has an option for connecting to Amazon's S3 hosted service and you can replicate the appliance to another one using Rsync.

The new hardware in the NS4700 has made a big improvement to performance as it's a lot faster that its SmartStor predecessors. It also has a fine range of storage features and good value with Span Computers selling a diskless model for just over 600 ex VAT.

However, despite being aimed at small businesses, the NS4700 isn't easy to install and we found the documentation very unhelpful. Many topics such as IP SANs get scant coverage and the relationship between disk arrays, logical drives and usage modes need explanation to avoid making time consuming mistakes during installation.

Competition in the SMB NAS market is white hot and we think Synology's slightly cheaper five-bay DS1511+ is a better bet. In an exclusive review in our sister title PC Pro we found it delivered stunning performance and has additional features including hybrid RAID and iSCSI thin provisioning plus monstrous expansion potential.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Our performance tests show the NS4700 has benefited hugely from the improved hardware as it’s around three times faster than the older NS4600. It has good range of features including some decent backup software, but it’s not the easiest to configure and Promise needs to make big improvements to its documentation. We recommend checking out Synology’s nifty five-bay DS1511+ before buying.

Chassis: Desktop CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 Memory: 1GB DDR2 Storage: 4 x hot-swap SATA disk bays RAID array support: RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet Other ports: 5 x USB2 Management: Web browser Software: Promise SmartNAVI and Acronis Backup and Recovery 10 NAS Edition

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