• United States

Review: New Kanguru NAS stands out

Jan 19, 20044 mins
Enterprise Applications

iNAS series features a router and remote access, but lacks expansion.

iNAS series features a router and remote access, but lacks expansion

Following our look at Linksys’ new network-attached storage device this week we test the iNAS-100 from Kanguru Solutions, a vendor known for its line of external and portable storage solutions, including USB Flash, and CD and DVD read/write drives.

The iNAS-100 ($650 retail) has a 100G-byte hard disk. There are also 120G-byte, 200G-byte ($799) or 250G-byte ($999) versions, but none are expandable.

On the plus side, the box includes a Cable/DSL router with firewall and other helpful features reminiscent of the Tritton ASAP NAS/Router we tested in November.

Kanguru adds some nice features that put it ahead of the Tritton ASAP, but it costs more, so the better buy is a bit of a toss up. 

The iNAS has a small (two 16 character lines of text) LCD screen on the front providing system information (IP address, disk size, OS version) and some management options (turn off, reboot, set DHCP on/off).

Since the display shows the unit’s IP address received from the Cable/DSL modem, you can address the Kanguru remotely. Typically, the IP address from your Cable/DSL modem is dynamically allocated, thus changing every time the system reboots (or your provider drops and returns). To find the assigned IP address usually takes digging through some administration menus in the router configuration utility. But because Kanguru puts that IP address on the LCD screen, you can give out the address to colleagues you’ve set up as users, and they can log in over the Web.  

Kanguru i-Nas


Company: Kanguru Solutions Cost: $600 for 120GB up to $850 for 250GB version Pros: Small and quiet. Handy LCD system information screen. Remote file access easy to use. Supports Windows, Unix Network File Services,  Linux, and Macintosh clients. Cons: No expansion. Price seems high for 120G-bytes storage. Lacks backup software.
Manageability 25%  4
Features 25%  4
Reporting tools 15%  4
Documentation 20%  3
Ease of setup 15%  4


Scoring Key: 5: Exceptional; 4: Very good; 3: Average; 2: Below average; 1: Consistently subpar

The Kanguru is the first NAS unit we’ve seen that makes remote access easy from anywhere on the Internet. The Mirra Personal Server backup system makes this connection through the Web site via e-mail invitation. Though this method is simpler than Kanguru, the Mirra only shares back-up files rather than specific directories.

When a remote user types the Kanguru IP address into a browser, he is sent to the same welcome screen as local users. Click one of the four buttons (Web File Manager, Administration, Language, Change Password), provide username and password, and you have full access. The only trouble is we couldn’t find a way to turn off remote file access, so if you put the box on the Web, better use good passwords and keep the firewall engaged (which is the default). You can restrict access to certain folders and mark files as read-only so users can’t change or delete files on the system.

One improvement from other NAS units for user management is the ability to set user disk space quotas. You only need to support one digital pack rat to see the value of this.

Firewall and router features include network address translation to keep internal addresses hidden from the Internet; ways to open ports for special applications such as instant messaging or video conferencing; and filtering to block Web sites or domains from all internal users. The browser screens for management are well laid out, and good help screens are one click away.

Getting a NAS and router in one saves space and maybe money (although routers are getting pretty cheap). Having room to expand with the Linksys EFG120 may be more valuable to you, and a network print server often comes in handy. We lean toward Kanguru for its nice management screens and remote access. Kanguru, Linksys and Tritton all offer have 120G-byte units, with Kanguru priced on the high end.