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Snap Server 520 Thinks BIG
 

Despite its small size, the Snap Server 520 has surprising expandability and redundancy.

Over the years, Adaptec's Snap Server line of NAS (network-attached storage) products has evolved to match the growing storage needs of SMBs (small and midsize businesses).

The processing power of the 1U (1.75-inch) Snap Server 520, which was released in February, comes from a single Advanced Micro Devices 2.2GHz 64-bit Opteron processor and 512MB of RAM, expandable to 4GB for sites that need additional performance. At $4,595, the server is a bargain, especially considering that it has both NAS and iSCSI target capabilities.

The Snap Server 520 runs Adaptec's GuardianOS, which is built on the Linux kernel and is a solid alternative to the Microsoft Windows Storage Server operating system commonly seen in SMB-class NAS systems. The new Adaptec server is a good choice for basic file-serving needs, and, with its support for iSCSI, it also can be used to provide storage for business applications such as Microsoft Exchange.

Like its predecessors, the Snap Server 520 was easy to set up in eWEEK Labs' tests. By default, the Snap Server 520 grabs an IP address using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). The LCD window in the front of the Snap Server 520 clearly displayed the name and IP address of the unit, a useful feature, especially in data center environments.

With its small, rack-mount form factor, dozens of Snap Servers can fit into a rack. The Snap Server 520 has an empty slot where an additional hot-swap power supply can be added for redundancy, and it comes with redundant, hot-swappable cooling fans to maximize uptime.

The basic setup and configuration of the Snap Server 520 is performed via a Web-based management interface. Using the interface, we were able to set up file shares and iSCSI targets in a matter of minutes.

Four 250GB SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives provide storage for the Snap Server 520, and it is configured in RAID 5 for redundancy. The Snap Server 520 we tested provided roughly 691GB of usable storage.

Adaptec maintains an image of GuardianOS on each of the hard drives, a protection feature that ensures the appliance will boot up if multiple drives die simultaneously.

For networking connectivity, the Snap Server 520 has twin Gigabit Ethernet ports in the back, and it supports a wide variety of file-sharing protocols, including CIFS (Common Internet File System), NFS (Network File System) and AFP (Apple File Protocol).

Support for SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is available as an option, allowing IT managers to hook the Snap Server 520 into Adaptec's new SANbloc S50 JBOD (just a bunch of disks expansion array—a 2U (3.5-inch), 12-drive expansion that supports SAS or SATA drives. Up to four SANbloc S50 storage units can be added to the Snap Server 520.

Snap Servers have the ability to expand data volumes on the fly, leveraging unused storage on the appliance, to add new expansion arrays. However, the Snap Server 520 needs to be rebooted to use a new array.

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