• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Inline FileStorm 4550

May 15, 20033 mins
Data CenterSAN

* The Reviewmeister continues testing Windows-powered NAS boxes

We tested another Windows-powered network-attached storage box, the Inline FileStorm 4550. It has many good features that would make us recommend it.

However, installing the Inline device was a journey of discovery. There was no utility offered for initial installation, and the “Quick Install Guide” was insufficient for the task. We were eventually successful, only with heavy reliance on the main user manual.

An Inline FileStorm 4550 can contain up to 8G bytes of system memory and supports up to four processors.

The FileStorm 4550, however, is essentially a head-end device with no internal storage resources, except for what is required for storing the operating system. The device contains the intelligence to provide connectivity and file services to users, but storage resources are external only. This could be in the form of a SCSI-based expansion cabinet or a Fibre Channel storage-area network (SAN).

Serving as a NAS head for a SAN, the FileStorm 4550 can present the storage resources of a back-end SAN as if they were local on the NAS appliance. As tested, the Inline system is a two-chassis solution. Along with the FileStorm 4550 NAS head, storage was situated on an Inline TruFibre expansion cabinet, which was accessed via a Fibre Channel link.

Another hardware aspect of the Inline box is the operating system on the FileStorm 4550 that was stored on solid-state disks (SSD), which are available on the Inline product as an optional item. With SSDs, data is stored on erasable programmable read-only memory rather than on conventional, magnetic disks. With no moving parts, SSDs are significantly faster than conventional disks, but they’re also significantly more expensive.

Even without SSDs, an Inline 4550 is not inexpensive. Configured with two Xeon processors, 4G bytes of RAM, two Fibre Channel host bus adapters, and no internal drives, it costs $28,200.

Inline made a strong showing in the features category. TruMask is software that enables logical unit numbers (LUN) masking on an Inline storage cabinet. LUNs are essentially resource target addresses. LUN masking is a security feature that makes user-defined target resources invisible to specific Fibre Channel-connected computers.

TruMap is a virtual-LAN-like feature that maps storage resources to specific physical ports. Access to those resources, then, would be available only to requests entering through that port.

Finally, TruCache lets redundant disk controllers mirror one another, providing instantaneous failover in the event of disk controller failure. For the full report, go to