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2014 Best Buy Award

Buffalo TeraStation Array WS5400D Raid Review

by Reviewboard MagazineFebruary 24, 2014
2014 Best Buy Award

Buffalo TeraStation Array Model WS5400D 4TB Review

The Buffalo TeraStation array is a fairly versatile entry level device.  It only has 4TB of drive space (4 1TB Drives) which is fine for most Small Business or Home Offices unless you are doing a lot of video or high end audio work.

The reason companies purchase raid arrays are the same reasons people should do it;  Data protection.  We live in a digital world and all your family photos sitting on a memory stick that has a life expectancy of 5 years if it is stored in optimal temp and humidity is probably not the best idea.  Same goes with your enormous music collection, how would you like to loose that?

Enter the RAID Array.  RAID is an acronym that stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.  You can set one up on your PC by getting a special hardware controller (RAID Controller) or you can setup a software based RAID and let your operating system handle it.  I’m going to explain this in laymen’s terms.  There is a lot more to this, but this is a basic concept for the folks that are learning about RAID here in this article. There are many RAID levels (from 0 to 10+) with new innovations coming out all the time, but the bare minimum that you want is something capable of RAID level 5.  What that allows you to do is lose a drive without losing your data.  RAID 5 requires at least 3 hard drives.  It takes your first 2 drives and stores the data on it.  The 3rd drive keeps information about the first two on it.  If a drive should fail, the RAID is able to rebuild that information through a complex mathematical operation using the data that is on the existing two drives.

It can be complex, there are many rules, and options… hot swapping, striping, etc.. etc.. and so a lot of people like to purchase a dedicated (NAS [Network Attached Storage]) device that handles it all for them.  The Buffalo TeraStation Array is one such device.  Any NAS “box” in this price range is basically a small computer (about the size of a shoe box).  They have operating systems, controllers and drives, and sit on your network.  The operating system they run is usually a paired down version that the primary goal of providing storage that is accessible to any device on your network that you share the credentials or give permission to access it.

The Buffalo TeraStation Array uses Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012.  It is a robust file storage system that is fast, and easy to use.  Furthermore, those of you who are techno-geeks can “hack” the Buffalo TeraStation and install a full blown version of Ubuntu 64bit.  The Buffalo TeraStation WS5400D has a dual core 1.8 Ghz Atom Processor with 4 Gigs of RAM perfect for a nice little linux box with software raid.  We have to give Buffalo Tech a lot of points for keeping their system open for folks who want to tinker.  (Realize of course that as soon as you do something like that you are voiding your warranty (most likely) but that is fairly common when tinkering with your gear to begin with).

[accordion]
[acc title="Specifications"]

  • Internal Hard Drives Number of Drives 4 x 3.5″
  • HDD Hard Drive Capacity 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB Total Capacity 4 TB, 8 TB, 12 TB
  • Drive Interface SATA II/III 3 Gbps
  • Supported RAID Levels RAID 0/1/5/JBOD (Individual Disks)
  • LAN Interface Standard Compliance IEEE802.3/IEEE802.3u/IEEE802.3ab Data Transfer Rates 10/100/1000 Mbps (Auto Sensing) Connector Types RJ-45
  • Number of Ports 2 USB Interface Interface USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 Number of Ports 2 x USB 3.0 2 x USB 2.0
  • Data Transfer Rates 5 Gbps (USB 3.0) 480 Mbps (USB 2.0)
  • Protocol Support Networking TCP/IP File Sharing CIFs/SMB, NFS, iSCSI Directory Integration LDAP, Active Directory Management Remote Desktop or Terminal Services Client Time Synchronization NTP
  • Other Dimensions (L x W x H) 9.1 x 6.7 x 8.5 in Weight 17.6 lbs
  • Operating Environment 41-95°F (5-35°C), 20-80% (non-condensing)
  • Power Supply Internal AC 100-240V Universal, 50/60 Hz
  • Power Consumption 96 W (Maximum) Setup Utility
  • OS Support Windows® Operating Systems Client OS Support Windows® 8 (32-bit/64-bit) Windows® 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows® 7 Professional (64-bit), Windows Vista® (32-bit/64-bit), Windows® XP, Windows® 2000, Windows Server® 2012, Windows Server® 2008, Windows Server® 2008 R2, Windows Server® 2003, Windows® 2000 Server[/acc]

[/accordion]

Highlights for Buffalo TeraStation Array:

  • Windows Storage Server 2012 Workgroup Edition
  • Intel® Atom™ processor D2550 (1.86 GHz dual-core / 4 GB RAM)
  • Dual Intel gigabit NICs
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports and 2 x USB 3.0 ports with accessory support
  • Hot-swap SATA hard drives
  • RAID 0/1/5/JBOD (Individual Disks)
  • Seamless Active Directory integration
  • Native NTFS support
  • DFS Namespace support
  • iSCSI target and initiator
  • Remote file access via FTP/FTPS
  • 10 licenses of NovaBACKUP® Business Essentials v14 (SQL and Exchange backup agents)

Buffalo TeraStation Array Tech Support:

Buffalo Tech’s support folks are very good.  They have 24/7 support, when we called them (for a real issue) someone from the US who speaks English answered the phone and was very helpful on a weekend.  Monday we received another call from a different tech level and they solved our problem.  Our total wait time on the phone when we called on the weekend was about 3 minutes.  We were very impressed with the knowledge and professional handling of our issue.

Best Buy Award

 

Summary Buffalo TeraStation Array:

All in all the Buffalo TeraStation Array is a really solid little NAS Box.  The flexibility to upgrade, to change Operating Systems, and Buffalo Tech’s support makes the Buffalo TeraStation Array quite a find.  We give the Buffalo TeraStation Array Model #:WS5400D0404 a 5 out of 5 Star Ranking and award with our 2014 Reviewboard Magazine’s Best Buy Award.  You can find a good deal almost anywhere on Google.

 

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