Enhance Technology UltraStor RS16 IP-4 review

Enhance Technology's latest IP SAN appliance has value, expansion potential and performance high on its agenda. In this exclusive review Dave Mitchell finds out whether these make up for its basic hardware redundancy.

Price
£5,280

Enhance Technology has been in the network storage market for many years and its UltraStor appliances are aimed at SMBs looking for a low cost IP SAN solution. In this exclusive review we look at its RS16 IP-4 which combines a tempting price tag with a high capacity and impressive performance claims.

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For this review we were supplied with a diskless appliance, but Enhance offers a system with a full house of 16 1TB Enterprise SATA 2 disks for 5,280. An 8TB version costs around 4,478 or you can choose one with 16 2TB SATA disks for 7,274. Enhance also supports 3TB Near-Line SAS disks.

The 3U chassis is well built with sixteen solid metal hot-swap carriers mounted vertically across the front and each incorporating disk status and activity LEDs. Power redundancy is handled by two 460W hot plug supplies at the rear and above these are hot-plug cooling fan modules as well.

The rear of the Enhance UltraStor RS16 IP-4

The appliance's single RAID controller has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual power supplies and fans plus a mini-SAS expansion port.

The RAID controller is mounted in a metal sled which can be released and removed from the back once the appliance is shut down. It's equipped with a 1.2GHz Intel IOP 81342 dual core processor and 2GB of DDR2 cache memory, but it only supports 3Gbit/s SAS/SATA disks.

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It's here that fault tolerant features end as the appliance doesn't support dual RAID controllers. There's no battery backup pack to protect the cache contents either, so we recommend a UPS which can be monitored using one of the serial ports at the back.

Expansion is good as the controller has an SFF8470 mini-SAS port which is used to daisy-chain up to four of Enhance's RS16 JS 3U disk shelves. This allows the array to be expanded to a total of 80 hard disks, although with only one port available you can't create redundant physical paths across the disk shelves.

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