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Media

From the default home page, you have access to the photos, movies and music in the predefined shares that are published by the Twonky DLNA media server. And, if you enable the iTunes server, shared content as well as playlists and ratings will also appear in iTunes under “Shared”.

The NSA325 iTunes server publishes to iTunes, if enabled

The NSA325 iTunes server publishes to iTunes, if enabled

If you click on the Music icon, you’ll discover that you can view the published music by Folder, Artist, All or by the current playlist. Missing, however, is the ability to view by Album or Genre.

Clicking on the Music icon reveals your sorting choices

Clicking on the Music icon reveals your sorting choices

Similarly, if you click on Photo, your choices are Folder, Date or all. Typically, you’ll use the folder view. The image below shows the thumbnail view of a subfolder. If you click on an image, you can view it or start a slide show. Your slide show can be within a window or full screen. If enabled, you can also use the “Ken Burns” zooming view for your slideshows.

Browser-based thumbnail view of DLNA published photos

Browser-based thumbnail view of DLNA published photos

For video, you can only browse by folder. If you use the file browser feature, you can download, upload, rename, delete files and folders and create folders from a web browser. Mobile features are also available for your Android or iOS device if you install the Polkast application on the NSA325 and install a Polkast client on your mobile device. (We reviewed Polkast for Windows last year.)

Drive Pull

We always like to do a drive pull test to see how a NAS handles a sudden “disk failure”. While normally I plan the event, in this case, it happened somewhat accidentally. I tipped the device forward onto the front panel to inspect for an FCC label. The drives aren’t mechanically locked into place and one of the drives disengaged and its corresponding red light illuminated. It looked like the weight of the drive was sufficient to pull it out of the SATA slot.

I reinserted the drive and its drive status light returned green. Curiously, there was no visual indication that there was a disk problem or that the RAID was running in a degraded condition. So I logged back in and found the Storage page showing"Unknown" for disk 1. I tried to shut down the device through the UI, but it didn’t shut down, so I pressed the power button and it finally gracefully shut itself down.

I can't fault the NSA325 for not recognizing the re-inserted drive - the specs don't say that drives are hot-swappable, but it would be nice if they were.

After reinserting the disk "hot", its status appeared as "Unknown"
After reinserting the disk "hot", its status appeared as "Unknown"

I powered up again, and both the status page and the storage page showed the RAID as degraded. You have to manually start the repair. There is no front panel light showing that the RAID is degraded or that the array is being rebuilt. Nor is there email notification or an audible alert. Both of these notifications would be easy to implement. The multi colored System LED could change to a different color to indicate a failure and could blink to show rebuild status. Even though I had enabled email logs and "storage" was one of the alerts, I didn't get an alert email. (A test confirmation email did work, however.).

In order to rebuild the array, you have to cycle power and click on the repair icon in the far box under "Action". Though it doesn't show the presence of disk1, the Repair Volume icon only appears if there's a disk in place to rebuild.. The rebuild process took about 4 1/2 hours for a RAID 1 array of two 2 TB drives. All my data was intact and I was able to continue to access the shares during rebuild.

You have to manually restart the RAID rebuild by clicking on the repair icon.
You have to manually restart the RAID rebuild by clicking on the repair icon.

Here's the status page showing the rebuild progress after 2:02 of rebuild time. While initially the CPU utilization hovered near 100%, as it did for intense file copies, after the process started running for awhile, the utilization droppe off. Without seeing process details on the CPU utilization, however, it's hard to know what other processes are running that might be consuming the CPU.

RAID rebuild progress after about 2 hours

RAID rebuild progress after about 2 hours

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