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Features - more

ASUSTOR is leaning heavily on its "app-based" architecture for differentiation. So what sort of apps can you get? The all app list displays 87 as the total count, but I tallied only 85. The first screen of the listing is shown below along with the Category sidebar that can be used to quickly find apps of interest. The other seven screens of the current list are shown in the gallery.

ASUSTOR apps

ASUSTOR apps

You'll find some of the apps such as Drupal and Joomla CMSes, WordPress and phpMyAdmin also on competing NASes. But I was unfamiliar with many of the apps that I found such as Sharetronix for social networking and Claroline for "eLearning".

A few apps are unique including Boxee, Dropbox and RALUS. But some popular apps are missing, too, such as Logitech's media server to support Squeezebox players and MLDonkey and Transmission for Torrent downloading.

I was surprised to find no easy way to remotely and securely access content on the NAS. There are no iOS or Android apps to support remote file access and media playback and nothing to make it easy to securely access the NAS web interface. ASUSTOR has lots of catch-up work here to equal what you can get on even a much less expensive WD My Book Live.

Despite ASUSTOR's alleged focus on stripping out non-essential functions to optional apps, I was surprised to find web, MySQL and WebDAV servers built into the core OS. Also in the default OS load are Download Center, iTunes Server, Surveillance Center and UPnP Media Server apps. But at least the apps can be removed if you prefer.

I got a little thrown during testing when I couldn't find a way to delete the current RAID volume. ASUSTOR told me, however, that this is by design and that a reset to factory defaults is required to accomplish this. I have seen this approach only on NETGEAR ReadyNASes and I suppose it's not a deal-killer. Few people other than reviewers will frequently need to change volume types.

When I was trying to find a volume delete button, I happened to also notice that there were no RAID migration options presented for RAID 0 and 5 volumes. ASUSTOR again explained that this was by design and sent back the following summary of supported RAID level migration paths.

Single -> RAID1 -> RAID5-> RAID6
RAID1 -> RAID10 -> RAID10 ( add 2xN HDDs)
RAID5 -> RAID6
No migration for JBOD and RAID 0 volumes.

I confess I haven't paid attention to this in other NASes, such as QNAP's, which have similar limitations. So this should not be a deal-killer, either.

The gallery below has shots of other key features with commentary and some additional hardware photos, too. There is also an online demo so you can get a better feel for ASUSTOR's OS.

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