When I opened up the quick install guide, I noticed that the setup of this device was unique among all NAS devices that I've tested. Normally these devices simply connect to the network by acquiring an IP address via DHCP when powered on. A web browser may then be used for setup. But Anthology decided to take a somewhat different approach with the Yellow Machine.
The box comes pre-configured with a fixed IP address set for the 172.16.1.255 network (a private IP address), with its web server listening for connections on port 10000. With this addressing scheme in use, whatever computer is used to configure the Yellow Machine must belong to the same subnet (network 172.16.1.X). The guide provides instructions on how to reconfigure the network settings on a Windows system, and how to connect to the Yellow Machine using a web browser for configuration. Following these instructions, I reconfigured my laptop, attached it to one of the LAN ports and powered up the Yellow Machine.
Because the Yellow Machine has two fans, I was concerned I'd be working around another noisy unit, but was pleasantly surprised. Its noise level was minimal - even less than some of the tiny consumer-level NAS devices I've worked with. When the unit finished booting I used my web browser to connect to the URL specified in the Quick Install Guide where I was presented with a username/login dialog.
Figure 2 shows the initial login screen during Yellow Machine setup.
Figure 2: Yellow Machine initial login screen
After logging in with a standard admin/admin user name and password, I had the choice of either setting up with a "wizard" or jumping into an advanced menu. At first, I went with the "wizard" to explore the most basic options. The first screen allowed me to set the timezone and time, but I was surprised not to find an option to identify a Network Time Protocol server to keep time synchronized. Also, the documentation indicated that the clock must be adjusted manually when transitioning to or from daylight savings time.
The next screen was a bit more interesting: it allowed the unit to be set up as a "Storage Only" device or as a "Storage and WAN" device. The Storage and Wan option is designed for use when the device is Interet-accessible. This mode perforce offers many more options for setting up the firewall, establishing port forwarding, and so forth.
Maintaining my strategy to use basic features first, I selected Storage Only and was next presented with a series of basic network configuration screens. These screens allowed me to reconfigure the device so it could operate on my normal home network. Once this was accomplished, I got the status screen shown in Figure 3 which displays the network initialization data used during Yellow Machine setup.
Figure 3: Yellow Machine network initialization data screen
This directed met to reboot the machine. At this point, I put my laptop back into its normal network configuration, hooked a network cable from a Yellow Machine LAN port into a switch on my network and toggled the power button. This, in turn, caused a controlled shutdown.
When I powered the Yellow Machine back up, it appeared on my network, and I was able to mount it across the network using its single, 647 Gigabyte predefined share. At this point, the device worked like any other network shared drive. I could use it from my Windows laptop, my Macintosh OSX laptop, or my Linux laptop. This was all well and good, but the interesting features of the box appear elsewhere, in its advanced options.