Just recently I returned from a weeklong trip to San Jose where I spent my days with LSI learning about next generation RAID and Ethernet technology and how it relates to datacenters, The Cloud and large office environments. I won't bore you with everything I learned about SerDes or any of that stuff today, but I can see the next gen philosophy built in the N8900 already.
Going forward, NAS servers will offer more features, more value, lower power consumption, greater access through Web 2.0 and even access through mobile devices. After that you get into the software running on these servers since they are after all much more than just storage devices.
The Thecus N8900 is a next generation server today. Just calling the N8900 a NAS is a serious down play of its capabilities. You can run your entire office off this 2U box, web server, mail server, website, intranet, client backups and your admin can download torrent files at the same time. The fun doesn't stop there. With the Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM out of the box your admin can setup SQL databases and actually have the processing power to run them.
That leads us into the hardware. With only two of four memory slots full, you can easily add more memory to the N8900. There are eight bays for HDDs and an additional eSATA port on the back of the server. Thecus has already tested 3TB drives in each bay, so capacity ramps up quickly when needed.
Getting to your data is also supersized on the N8900 too. The NAS ships with three gigabit Ethernet ports that can be run independently or together in a trunked configuration. Two 8x PCIe slots and a single 4x PCIe slot are also open for expansion and you can easily add single or dual port 10GbE NICs in the two larger slots. 40GbE bandwidth would be nice, but a little out of our league for testing.
I went into this review knowing about the 2,746 Dollar price and was a bit shocked at first. It didn't take long for me to start seeing the quality and extensive features this NAS offers and the price began to fade away until it wasn't an issue any more. I'm sure this will come as a surprise to many of our readers who are used to me complaining about pricing, but for the first time in a long time I'm walking away satisfied. The hardware is powerful and the software is very refined. Once you throw in how compatible the NAS is with other hardware the picture becomes very clear. The N8900 is a great product that will lead Thecus into a new generation of feature rich products.