Snap Server 4000 is a quick storage fix at $2,999

Snap Server 4000 is a quick storage fix at $2,999

Despite slight lag time at initial access, this impressive storage device works on diverse networks

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff

The Snap Server Model 4000 quickly adds 120G of storage to a network. Few devices offer so much growth potential in so little space.

In the simplest terms, the Snap acts as a giant hard drive for networks. Earlier models had the same function but not nearly as much capacity. The Snap Server 1000, for example, costs about $500 for 10G worth of storage. At that size, it's mostly useful to get out of a space crunch. But the 120G model is big enough to plan future network expansions around.

The Snap Server fits easily into a rack and configures itself automatically
on most networks.

The Snap Server's claim to fame is that you can hook it up to a network without having to work too hard'if everything goes correctly. The device looks for a free IP address and configures itself so as not to conflict with anything.

My initial out-of-the-box experience with the 4000 was good. I plugged it into a free port and AC power, and turned it on. After about five minutes, it finished configuring itself and started working.

When up and running, the Snap looks just like another hard drive on the network. But of course, this is not a perfect world.

The Snap worked fine when I accessed it from computers running Microsoft Windows 98 or NT 4.0. But Windows 2000 systems could not see the new device even after 20 minutes.

Box Score

Snap Server 4000

Intelligent network storage device

Quantum Corp.; San Jose, Calif.

tel. 888-343-7627;

Price: $2,999

+ Easy network installation and high capacity

+ Works on diverse networks

- Slight lag time at initial access

I did some experimenting and found that the NetBEUI protocol was interfering. Once I removed NetBEUI from the Win 2000 computers, the Snap popped right up on their radar. So perhaps the device should be called the two-Snaps server?

One fault the GCN Lab found with earlier Snap servers was slow data transfer [GCN, Oct. 19, 1998, Page 22]. Data often returned from the server quite slowly, though it got there fast. And the 10G model the lab tested did not seem optimized for large files. Perhaps the huge capacity of the new drive has sparked Quantum Corp. to optimize the transfer rate, because chances are good that it'll be used to store large files.

Quick to copy

I dumped an 80M folder onto the Snap Server, which it copied in 30 seconds. Taking it back off took 20 seconds, and deleting it took about five seconds. So the transfer rate really has improved, especially for retrieving large files.

I did encounter a few seconds of lag time at initial access. After clicking on the Snap folder, I waited upwards of three seconds before the drive contents appeared. A slight pause also occurs initially in pulling files from the drive.

Running streaming video is a true torture test for any storage device. Although the Snap showed clear video, the first couple of frames looked jumpy while the device began the transfer and experienced the pause mentioned above. This is a relatively minor consideration, but if you need fast, smooth access all the time, it's something to consider.

Management was fairly straightforward via the easy-to-understand PC software. I began setting up secure areas within the Snap Server right away and studied the instruction book only to find the default password for the management software so that I could assign a personal password.

The 4000 works on either 10Base-T or 100Base-TX networks. Just plug the Category 5 cable into a free port, and the server figures out which connection to use. The form factor is adaptable'stack it or mount it on a rack, another bonus in tight quarters.

Except for the slight lag time and the Win 2000 difficulty, both minor issues, the Snap Server impressed me. If all storage devices were as smart, network administration would be a lot easier.

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