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Feature Summary

The NSS3000's feature set is essentially the same the NSS4000's, except for features related to the 4000's dual Ethernet interface. The NSS4000 slideshow will give you a good feel for what the 3000 can do and some of the key features are explored a bit in the NSS4000 review.

Figure 6 shows the initial System Status screen displayed after logging in. This screen provides an overview of the state of the system showing RAID status, disk capacity, server status, etc. One important thing not shown here, however, is the resyncing status of the RAID array. For that, you need to drill down into the Storage Status page.

System Status

Figure 6: System Status

Here is a feature summary for quick reference:

  • Single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Multiple volume support with volume expansion and optional AES 256 encryption
  • Network file sharing via SMB/CIFS, NFS
  • FTP and secure FTP
  • Joins NT Domain / Active Directories
  • Immediate or scheduled backup to internal volume or networked CIFS share. Optional compression, but no encryption
  • Export virtualized storage via DFS (Distributed File System). Requires NSS6000 as master.
  • Network Access control including VLAN support
  • User quotas
  • Email alerts
  • Logging
  • UPS shutdown synchronization
  • IP camera recording and playback via FTP or CIFS

The 3000 is all business, so you won't find any media serving or BitTorrent downloading features. But it also is missing the features below that you might expect in a business-class NAS:

  • RAID hot spare
  • RAID level migration
  • RAID expansion
  • Attached Backup
  • Bundled backup client
  • iSCSI target support
  • USB print server
  • Root access via SSH and Telnet

Drive Pull Test

I performed our pull-a-drive test to see how the 3000 handled a simulated drive failure. The 3000 was configured in a RAID 10 array and I enabled and tested email alerts before I started a long file copy and then pulled drive #2.

The 3000 handled the drive pull just fine and continued the file copy. About a minute after the drive pull, I received an emailed alert telling me that the system had suffered a drive failure and was running in a degraded condition. When I logged back into the admin screens, I had to navigate to the Storage Status page to confirm the email (Figure 7).

Storage Status with Drive 2 pulled

Figure 7: Storage Status with Drive 2 pulled

I then waited a bit and put the drive back in, but the rebuild did not automatically begin. Instead I had to go to the Storage RAID page and click the Edit button (Figure 8).

RAID Status with Drive 2 re-inserted

Figure 8: RAID Status with Drive 2 re-inserted

This brought me to the page shown in Figure 9, where I could add Drive 2 back into the array. Once I clicked the Add button next to drive 2, the rebuild began.

Editing the corrupted array

Figure 9: Editing the corrupted array

In all, the NSS3000 handled the drive fail simulation well and never took the shares offline during the test. The main weakness is the RAID rebuild / resync time, which took around 8.5 hours for a 4 TB RAID 5 array. Note that you should set the RAID rebuild priority from its medium default to high in order to get this rate.

When I had my initial RAID failure and I rebuilt the array with medium priority, it took well over a day to rebuild a 4 TB RAID 5 array. Cisco confirmed this and said that the default rebuild rate is 2.1GB/min. At that rate a 4 TB resync would take 1904 minutes, which is almost 31 hours!

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