Tandberg Data RDX QuikStation 4 review

Makes affordable data archiving and off-site storage a reality for small businesses

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£1,107
  • Good read/write speeds; Excellent price;

Tandberg Data's RDX removable drive technology is more affordable and manageable than tape, works with almost any operating system and is now more versatile thanks to the latest 3TB cartridges. No wonder it's a popular solution for small-business backup.

The QuikStation 4 takes RDX to the next level by housing four internal drives in a 1U rack chassis. It's a pure IP SAN appliance, presenting the drives to the network as individual removable disks, each with their own target iSCSI Qualified Name (IQN).

Tandberg has skipped two generations here, by delivering a number of significant updates tothe original RDX QuikStation eight-bay appliance, which it launched in 2011, resulting in uprated hardware that boosts performance and more versatile cartridges.

The LTO tape library emulation feature has been replaced with a virtual volume, which puts all resident cartridges, no matter what size, into one large volume that's well-suited to high-capacity backups. Tandberg offers SSD cartridges, while support for WORM creates regulatory-compliant archives.

Installing the appliance took ten minutes, with the QuikStation 4's simple web interface allowingus to set the time and update the firmware. The pair of Gigabit data ports default to failover, but you can change them to a load-balanced team if you prefer.

From the physical device view, we could eject, erase or clone our media, and set a drive so it appears to a host as a fixed disk. From the logical view, we could set up access security with CHAP authentication and lists of permitted host initiators.

We logged on to the QuikStation's portal using a Broadberry E5-2600 v3 Xeon rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2. It presented targets for each drive and, once connected,a new removable drive which could be formatted or ejected as normal appeared in Windows Explorer.

It performed well in our tests, with Iometer reporting raw readand write speeds of 86MB/sec and 68MB/sec. With two Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 servers assigned separate cartridges, the cumulative Iometer speeds ramped up to 120MB/secand 98MB/sec. Real-world backup speeds are reasonable, too, with drag-and-drop copies of a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files averaging 65MB/sec.

The QuikStation 4 worked fine with the Windows Server 2012 R2 Backup utility, where its selective backups required cartridges to be presented as fixed drives. We also used one of its removable drives as a destination with Arcserve Backup 16.5. In both instances, we achieved speeds of between 55 and 58MB/sec when securing our 22.4GB test folder.

To test the QuikStation's virtual volume feature, we loaded two 2TB and two 1TB cartridges and changed the mode from the web console. After rebooting, we created a single volume with all four cartridges, at which point the QuikStation presented our server with a fixed 6TB drive.

Prior to ejecting a virtual volume, the web console displays a list of all its drives, along with their UUIDs, which is a handy feature, as the list can be printed from the console and kept withthe cartridge collection so you don't mix them up.

RDX WORM media are standard cartridges supplied with a unique licence key to unlock, as such, the bundled rdxLOCK software for Windows. After applying the licence to the cartridge and importing a time-sync key from Tandberg's support site, we designated the cartridge as WORM media and could set infinite or specific retention periods.

The data is then only accessible from the host running rdxLOCK through which we could view and copy files from the cartridge, but not modify or delete them. New data copied to the cartridge is encrypted and set as read-only, and retention periods can't be decreased.

The QuikStation 4 is affordable and easy to manage great for small-business backup and off-site storage. Moreover, the new features in this latest hardware revision make it even more versatile.

Verdict

The QuikStation 4 is affordable and easy to manage – great for small-business backup and off-site storage. Moreover, the new features in this latest hardware revision make it even more versatile.

1U rack chassis

1.86GHz Intel Atom D2550

4GB DDR3 RAM

4x SATA RDX drives

2x Gigabit Ethernet

3 x USB 3

Rackmount rails

1yr on-site NBD warranty

RDX cartridges : 1TB, £89; 2TB, £153; 1TB WORM, £266 (all exc VAT)

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