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Wi-Fi Router Charts

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Mesh System Charts

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Unique Features-more

The other unique feature that the Ciscos have is a syslog server (Figure 6).

NSS Syslog server
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: NSS Syslog server

Implementation includes filtering, which is aided by a Filter Wizard (Figure 7). The wizard ands all rules added. So if you need to or rules or nest them, you'll have to use the Manual edit feature.

NSS syslog filter

Figure 7: NSS syslog filter


Updated 9/24/2010

One of the factors against choosing an NSS over a QNAP is the state of Cisco's support for plugins. QNAP calls these QPKG and provides a button on their QPKG Plugins page to bring up a list of available plugins (Figure 8).

QNAP QPKG plugin list

Figure 8: QNAP QPKG plugin list

Visting the NSS PKG page (Figure 9), however, reveals no button and no list. Visiting the NSS PKG page (Figure 9), however, reveals only two installed PKGs—WordPress and phpMyAdmin.

 Cisco NSS PKG Plugin screen

Figure 9: Cisco NSS PKG Plugin screen

Cisco told me that the NSSes will not run QNAP QPKG plugins and the only other package ready for download now is Joomla. Cisco said they have an alternate method for communicating available PKGs in the works for a future firmware release. But for now, you'll have to check the Smart Storage Application Software page for your model. Here's the link for the NSS326, which shows the Joomla 1.5.15 PKG installer.

But its installation will be complicated by the lack of support for the phpMyadmin plugin. There is a nice note on the MySQL Server page and in the admin guide telling you that you can install phpMyAdmin, but no plugin available to do so.

One of the NSS app notes explains how to install Wordpress. But again, you won't get very far without either the Wordpress PKG plugin or phpMyAdmin.

Closing Thoughts

Updated 9/24/2010

The main thing that Cisco brings to the NAS party over QNAP is, frankly, the Cisco name and reputation, better warranty and, hopefully, a stronger support infrastructure. I say hopefully because it will take some time for knowledge transfer from QNAP to Cisco and there are bound to be some hiccups.

Table 1 sums up the situation for Warranty, Price and Support for the two product lines. For the driveless systems shown, Cisco is asking a moderate price premium in exchange for a 5 year warranty with return-to-the-factory (not reseller) replacement.

  Cisco QNAP
Warranty 5 year
(includes drives in populated systems)
1 year
Lowest Price
(w/o shipping)
NSS322: $589
NSS324: $875
NSS326: $1152
TS-259 Pro: $564
TS-459 Pro: $844
TS-659 Pro: $1115
Support - Email
- Online Chat
- Telephone
- Forums
- Priority support ($)
- Email
- Telephone
- Forums
- Skype
Table 1: Cisco and QNAP comparison

A bit more detail about support plans obtained from Cisco follows below.

What's included:

* 5-year limited hardware warranty with return to factory replacement (vs. QNAP 1-year warranty); 5-year warranty covers hard drives as well if you buy the device populated with drives (covering drives longer than the standard 3-years)
* Cisco Small Business Support Center: 12 months telephone and online chat support
* Cisco Small Business Support Community

What's optional:

* Cisco Small Business Support Service: 3-year peace of mind coverage including software upgrades, extended access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center, and next-business-day hardware replacement; $149 for most SKUs, $499 for NSS326 w/ 6TB and NSS326 w/ 12TB
* Cisco Small Business Partner Rapid Response Service: Offers phone support 24 hours a day and four-hour advance hardware replacement; $999 for three years

If you opt for a NSS over a QNAP, you won't get support for network camera recording and monitoring. But more significantly, you'll have to wait for Cisco to crank out its version of plugins that you can get right now from QNAP. For business users, most of the not-yet-available-plugins will probably be no biggie, though. But for anyone planning to use the built-in MySQL database support, lack of phpMyAdmin will certainly put a crimp in their plans.

Bottom line is that if you're a Cisco shop or fanboy, you now no longer have to be embarrassed by purchasing a Cisco NAS. But if you want to be on the fast track for firmware updates and plug in support and support is a secondary concern, you'll probably be happier with a QNAP.

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