The emergence of the digital economy has brought to fore the importance of safeguarding electronic data. We have discussed the 3-2-1 data backup strategy before in the piece where we covered ioSafe's Indiegogo campaign. The strategy involves keeping three copies of all essential data, spread over at least two different devices with at least one of them being off-site or disaster-resistant in some way. It is almost impossible to keep a copy of large frequently updated data sets current in an off-site data backup strategy. This is where companies like ioSafe come in.

We had reviewed ioSafe's SoloPRO, a disaster-resistant external hard drive last year. External hard drives are good enough for daily backups, but entirely unsuitable for large and frequently updated data. The latter scenario calls for a network attached storage unit which provides high availability over the local network. The SoloPRO's chassis and hard drive integration strategy made it impossible for end users to replace the hard disk while also retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. Though I don't have any data to back me up, my guess is that the data in a device like the SoloPRO is more likely to be lost due to a hard drive failure rather than a disaster. ioSafe provides data recovery in either case, but it would be simpler for users to be able to replace the drive themselves while retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. A disaster-resistant RAID-1 NAS with hot-swap capability would be an ideal solution in this case. ioSafe's N2 is a solution designed with these issues in mind.

Synology is one of the well-respected brands in the NAS market. Their current 2-bay lineup consists of the DS213, DS213+ and the DS213air. For the N2, ioSafe took the hardware and software platform of the DS213 and designed their disaster resistant chassis around it. Readers interested in the full hardware and software specifications of the ioSafe N2 can take a look at our initial coverage of the unit.

In the rest of this review, we will take a closer look at how ioSafe is able to provide hot-swap capability with user-replaceable hard disks while also retaining the unit's disaster-resistance characteristics. We will also take a look at the other components which protect the hard disks from fire and water.

Testbed Setup

The review also presents single and multi-client benchmarks under both Windows and Linux. For this purpose, we use the SMB / SOHO NAS testbed described earlier.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid (1TB HDD + 100GB NAND)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evoluion 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

We will conclude the piece with a discussion of the power consumption and a few other miscellaneous aspects.


Unboxing and Hardware in Action
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  • zepi - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    "Even the physical theft protection aspect can be easily handled with the Kensington lock feature."

    Considering that 12mm (half an inch) steel-cables / U-locks are unable to prevent bicycle theft, I really doubt that anything a Kensington lock could be attached to would prevent anyone from stealing the thing.
  • Cstefan - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    I've enjoyed demonstrating the worthlessness of these to company bigwigs that about 1 minute with medium duty snips is all it takes.
  • ganeshts - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    Point noted, but it does act as a first-level deterrent. The unit is really heavy too, and combining these two factors, I think a casual break-in will probably result in the N2 being left alone.
  • Penti - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    It's actually more a insurance thing from what I gather. As they wouldn't cover something left unattended. It has nothing to do with actual physical security, especially not for server side equipment. Companies tend to lock the computers in computer security cabinets itself in a locked room at the end of the day if they care or has any policy regarding security/theft.
  • robb.moore - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    You're right. Most companies that care about physical theft security have their equipment in a closet or locked room. That being said, we're releasing a floor mount locking kit for the N2 which allows the N2 to be bolted to the floor or wall. It'll also allow the block all access to all ports and screws (front and back) with a steel panel that can be padlocked into place.

    In regards to physical security, it's an issue as with anything - you get what you pay for. Class 3 Bank Vaults cost more than an Ace Hardware padlocks. With ioSafe, we are constantly thinking about what makes the most sense from a cost, weight and user's perspective.

    We consider the N2 a building block to help with businesses dealing with vulnerable data. Multiple N2's hidden and synchronizing on the LAN might be a good solution for some businesses. Using a combination of N2's, traditional cloud and offsite vaulting also might work for some businesses. No one solution works for everyone.

    Great discussion.

    Robb Moore
  • sphigel - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    The odds of a bike thief having a bolt cutter are pretty good. The odds of a home burglar having a bolt cutter are significantly less I would think. Without a bolt cutter these Kensington locks would be a pretty strong deterrent.
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    I've had to remove Kensington-style locks at my office from laptops when combinations are forgotten or keys are lost. All that's required is a folding multitool (Gerber, Leatherman, etc.) and couple of minutes to gnaw at the cable after using the knife or saw blade to slice away a bit of the plastic jacket (which isn't necessary depending on cable thickness. Of course, taking out the hard drive and protecting the laptop from metal fragments when cutting down the actual lock to take it apart is a little bit more of a pain, but that can happen at someone's leisure after a theft has happened.
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    That, and I'm pretty sure they're just going to yank it really hard if they don't want to wait.
  • bbomb - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    No physical testing of the waterproofness or fireproofness?
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    There are some pretty ridiculous videos on YouTube, one involving it being driven over by a bulldozer.

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