• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

American Megatrends

May 22, 20032 mins
Data Center

* The Reviewmeister continues to look at open source NAS products

AMI’s StorTrends 2104, which runs on Linux, is particularly geared toward price-conscious buyers. While AMI achieved this goal, it did so at the expense of some important attributes, such as effective management, redundancy features and performance.

Installing the StorTrends 2104 is difficult. There’s no installation utility, and the Quick Start documentation was not particularly useful. The set-up console was menu-driven, but there was no guidance offered, including Help. To make matters more difficult, some software bugs impaired our  ability to deploy the box incident-free.

The configuration of the 1U appliance gives buyers some value for the dollar. Despite its low price, the StorTrends 2104 supports the most powerful processor of the Unix systems tested (Pentium 4/2.4 GHz), and the most system memory (up to 3G bytes). However, it is missing some important redundancy features, such as hot-swappable drives and redundant Ethernet interfaces. While it likely was done to keep down the cost, storage devices as a rule should give a little more consideration to disaster-proofing.

StorTrends 2104 offers a single power supply, a single fan and no network connection fail-over functionality. Moreover, there is no redundant or hot-swappable drive capability, and administrators are forced to reset the box after expanding a volume or adding a disk drive.

AMI’s browser-based management interface, SRM Express Management, is a clean, well-organized application that promises to be an effective tool. But like many aspects of the StorTrends 2104, it’s not quite there yet. SRM Express includes a network topology map, real-time utilization graphs and some robust reporting functionality.

However, there were two serious flaws. AMI’s logs cannot be sorted or filtered, and they’re difficult to understand. Second, AMI’s Snapshot implementation doesn’t allow automatic scheduling. Snapshot software, an important value-add for NAS products, makes instantaneous, point-in-time copies of the system’s file directory at configured intervals that can be used to retrieve corrupted or wrongfully deleted files.