Windows Storage Servers are typically not for the modest home user, but in this day and age, I could definitely see where they could become useful, especially if you're one that knows a bit about networking and storage and wants to have a go at setting up a full blown server instead of a NAS.
The big difference between a NAS like a Qnap, Thecus, or Synology and a true storage server is usually found in the underlying hardware; storage servers usually have ECC RAM and high-end enterprise class processors. Buffalo has sort of broken that mold with the TeraStation 5600. Here we have an Intel Atom quad-core CPU and 4GB of DDR3 RAM making this server a low-power, high-availability storage server.
Of course, having Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 on the TeraStation is a big help in what the server can do, but Buffalo has attempted to make things slightly easier with their dashboard application and RAID builder. For those that know or have used Windows Server before, then all the high-end options are lying in wait for you to use as needed.
Build quality of the TeraStation 5600 WSS was quite good; the entire chassis, apart from the front panel, is made of a decent thickness steel, giving this unit with drives installed quite a bit of weight. It was like a storage tank of sorts. Additionally, the front mounted LCD screen scrolls information about the server like what drives are in use and the IP addresses of both NICs. If a drive happens to fail, you will know that as well because the front of the server will light up red with a loud blaring alarm that you can silence by hitting a button to the right of the screen. The drive trays are not tool less, but I do like the inclusion of a numbering system to keep your drives in order.
Performance of the TeraStation was quite good. In our sequential testing, we were able to touch 112 MB/s read, while write speeds were around 70 MB/s, typical of RAID 5. Our enterprise workloads put the TeraStation through its paces. We even managed to get the internal fan to spin up a bit during testing. Throughout testing, one thing really stuck in my mind, and that is how solid this unit really is. Typically, when I start testing NAS appliances, I have a few tests that lock up the device, whether it's from too much load on the machine or the underlying being unable to process the requests fast enough.
With the Buffalo TeraStation 5600 WSS, I had none of that; apart from the 27 hours of RAID 5 synchronization, testing went flawless.
PRICING: You can find the Buffalo TeraStation 5600 WSS for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Buffalo TeraStation 5600 WSS retails for $2,402.99 at Amazon.
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