WD ShareSpace

Pros: Easy to set up
Cons: Case has to be unscrewed to change drives; slower download times
Performance: B
Ease of Setup: A
Features: B+
Value: A
Price: $800

The WD ShareSpace from Western Digital is a compact, well-priced NAS device that comes in a table-top box configuration. It measures 7.75 inches wide by 8 inches deep by 6.5 inches high, making it the smallest of the appliances in the roundup, with the second-smallest footprint. The version we reviewed had four 1T drives for a total capacity of 4T.

In this GCN Lab comparison report:

NAS appliances cover the middle ground of extra storage
What Is A RAID?
A breakdown on common RAID configurations
Buffalo TeraStation III
LaCie 5big Network
Sans Digital EliteNAS
Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440
WD ShareSpace
Gaining Virtual V-locity

We were disappointed to find that the ShareSpace only had one Gigabit Ethernet port. Although port failure is uncommon, not having duplication in this area limits your options. It does have three USB ports — one in front, two in back — so it will likely meet most auxiliary device needs.

Setup for the ShareSpace was easy. After connecting it to the network and turning it on, we ran the WD Discovery software from a networked computer. Once the program found the ShareSpace, it redirected us to a Web-based administration interface. From there, no changes were necessary to start using it, although it was an easy task to reassign the IP address and set up specific file shares and user permissions. The ShareSpace also integrates with Active Directory fairly seamlessly.

One thing to note about the physical configuration is that extracting or replacing drives is not an easy task. You need to remove the case, as you would with a standard desktop computer case, by loosening two thumbscrews. Then you can access the drives on the left side of the appliance. Although this isn’t insurmountable and no tools are required, it still is less convenient than a front panel that swings open.

The ShareSpace came with all four 1T disks configured in RAID 5. We could also change them to be in RAID 0, RAID 1, or a JBOD (just a bunch of disks) span. This is the fewest number of RAID settings among the appliances we tested. However, it is sufficient to cover most uses.

The ShareSpace comes with backup software that lets users periodically save data in specific locations on the network. Although the NAS comes with only three licenses, that should be enough to cover the most vital servers on the network.

The ShareSpace came in at the back of the pack in our file download tests, with a rate of 47.18 megabits/sec. Its upload speeds were in the middle though, at 54.30 megabits/sec.

The retail price for Western Digital’s WD Sharespace WDA4NC40000N is $800. That is a good price for what you get, and for some environments, the NAS could be sufficient for your needs.

Western Digital, 877-934-6972, www.wdc.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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