Buffalo TeraStation WSH5610DNS2 review

A business NAS for Windows fans that’s very easy to use with good backup features but it’s expensive

Price
£2,802
  • Excellent data protection features; Great speeds
  • Expensive; No thin provisioning; No diskless option

SMBs that want a Windows-powered storage appliance that's a cinch to deploy will find Buffalo's TeraStation WSH5610 fits the bill nicely. With Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 (WSS2012) at the helm, this 6-bay desktop box presents the shallowest of learning curves for those comfortable with Microsoft's standard server OSes.

The appliance runs the Standard Edition of WSS2012, which supports unlimited users and SMB connections and has no capacity restrictions. Other benefits over the WorkGroup Edition are global data deduplication and support for Hyper-V for hosting 2 VMs.

You can't buy a diskless model and Buffalo offers 12TB or 24TB versions. We reviewed the former, supplied with six 2TB WD Red NAS hot-swap hard disks and they're all available for data duties, as the OS sits on a fast booting 128GB SanDisk M.2 SATA SSD.

Storage performance gets a boost, as the appliance provides integral hardware RAID and comes with the data drives in a RAID6 array. You can change this, as Buffalo's Windows RAID Builder app also supports RAID0, 10 and 5 - but don't touch the M.2 SSD as you'll invalidate the warranty.

The appliance is literally ready to go and after powering it up, we used RDP to remotely access it. If you wish, you can connect a monitor, mouse and keyboard to manage it locally.

The WD drives are initially set up as a single 7.5TB volume, so you can start sharing storage and creating IP SANs immediately. For share creation, the wizard's Quick option does most of the legwork while the Advanced option lets you set access permissions, sort out file classification and data management rules and apply share level quotas.

A drawback of this storage arrangement is Microsoft's Storage Spaces are off the menu, as the WD drives can't be presented individually. The downside is thin provisioning isn't available, but the upside is you don't have to tolerate the lousy write performance of Storage Space parity volumes.

Sure enough, the RAID6 array delivered good NAS speeds across the board with Iometer reporting sequential read and write rates over Gigabit both of 113MB/sec. In previous tests, we've found parity volumes can drop write speeds by as much as 50%.

Real world speeds are on the money too, as copies of a 25GB test file returned read and write averages of 110MB/sec and 109MB/sec. Our backup test was also handled well with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files secured to a share at 78MB/sec.

The Data Deduplication feature can be installed from the Server Manager and applied to the existing volume. It offers big storage savings with the Binary Testing deduplication test suite recording an impressive reduction ratio of 7:1 after a one month backup simulation.

Data protection features are plentiful as along with the basic Windows Backup app, you have Buffalo's preinstalled Replication tool which syncs selected folders to remote Buffalo TeraStations or LinkStations. The price also includes the NovaBackup v18 Buffalo Edition software which just needs registering to get free licenses for one Windows server and 10 workstations.

NovaBackup worked fine on our Windows 10 desktops where we chose folders to be backed up, added the NAS as a destination and scheduled jobs to run regularly. Data restoration is swift and we could also create disk image backups for bare metal recovery.

The TeraStation WSH5610 isn't good value, as Qnap's powerful 6-bay TVS-882 with 12TB of storage can be had for around half as much. However, if you want a NAS appliance that snaps easily into your Windows network and is ready to go out of the box, then Buffalo is a worthy contender.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 276

Verdict

The TeraStation WSH5610 isn't good value as Qnap's powerful 6-bay TVS-882 with 12TB of storage can be had for around half as much. However, if you want a NAS appliance that snaps easily into your Windows network and is ready to go out of the box then Buffalo is a worthy contender.

Desktop chassis 2GHz Intel Celeron J1900 4GB DDR3 128GB SanDisk M.2 SATA SSD (OS only) 6 x 2TB WD Red SATA hot-swap hard disks Hardware RAID controller Supports RAID0, 10, 5, 6 2 x Gigabit 2 x USB 2 USB 3 eSATA HDMI VGA NovaBackup Buffalo Edition software (1 server, 10 desktops) 170 x 234 x 264mm (WDH) 3yr standard warranty

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