First introduced at the Consumer Electronics show this last January, IoSafe’s latest N2 NAS is the first network-attached storage device that provides data protection against natural disaster and hard-drive failure. Partnering with Synology, the maker of award-winning NAS servers on the market, the N2 is essentially a Synology DS213NAS server housed inside a 30-pound fire-proof and waterproof case. Those looking for a robust network storage product that can also keep critical data safe under any circumstance will find the N2 well-worth the $600 price tag.
Synology’s robust NAS operating system are known to be the best around, thanks to their DiskStation Manager (or DSM). Couple that with IoSafe’s reputation for offering best-in-class truly disaster-proof storage devices, and you’ve got the best of both worlds in the N2. As a NAS server, it performs just like the DS213air, and the N2 comes with enough protection to keep its two internal drives safe from heat of up to 1,550 degrees for up to a half-hour, and submersion in up to 10-feet of water for up to 3-days.
Under terrifically bad conditions, the N2’s outer parts, as well as ports, fans, internal circuits, and so on will likely be destroyed, however, the server’s internal drives and data will survive. IoSafe backs the N2 up with a one-year no-questions-asked warranty that includes a Data Recovery Service (DRS) that covers up to $2,500 of the cost of data recovery, should anything happen to the data the N2 hosts. The warranty can also be upgraded to cover up to five years, and up to $5,000 per terabyte for those who want to use the next level of DRS, called DRS Pro.
Internally, the N2 is a Synology DS213 NAS server, running Synology’s DSM NAS operating system, and it performs great. The N2 is classified as a budget dual-bay server, powered by a 2GHz processor and with 512MB of RAM. Running DSM 4.1, the server supports up to eight IP cameras for its Surveillance Station and up to 16 user accounts for its Cloud Station feature, just like the DS213air. And the Cloud Station and Surveillance Station are two of many features the N2 has to offer. Here are most all of them in a nutshell:
- Photo Station lets you easily organize photos into albums. Once activated, a share folder called Photo will be created. Photos stored in this shared folder will be automatically placed in well-organized, customizable albums, one for each subfolder. You can browse the album via a Web browser, and add captions and comments to each photo or album. The Photo Station also offers a complete blogging engine, and it comes with a mobile app called DS Photo for both iOS and Android platforms, which by-the-way, works great as well.
- Surveillance Station enables the NAS server to work as a video recorder and management station for a very comprehensive surveillance system. It supports tons of IP cameras on the market and supports recording images based on scheduling or motion detection. When several cameras are used, you can even synchronize the playback to see what happened in front of different cameras at a given time. The Surveillance Station supports all features of the camera, such as audio, zoom, tilt and night vision. There’s also a free DS Cam mobile app for iOS and Android devices that people can use to monitor and manage their Surveillance Station while away.
- Cloud Station works very well. You’ll be given an EzCloud ID, unique for each server. You then download and install Synology Cloud Station on your PC. Now you can sync data from the computer, no matter where it is as long as it’s connected to the Internet, with the N2. Files, however, can’t be larger than 5GB, but there are no other limitations on how much data you can sync between computers.
- Download Station lets the server download files from the Internet by itself from virtually any download protocols and services, including BitTorrent, HTTP and FTP. The server’s BitTorrent client is awesome, and allows you to search for what you need and download it with a click. Additionally, you can customize the Download Station to use a certain amount of bandwidth and to avoid certain types of content.
- Other Features include a Video Station for recording digital TV and streaming recordings to mobile devices; a DLNA/UPnP Media Server; an Audio Station and a VPN server. The server can also run applications developed by third parties that you can install via its Package Center, and comes with many other mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices. The server supports online backup services and native Time Machine.
Design and Performance
The N2 is a dual-bay storage device, capable of hosting two standard SATA drives of either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch design. With current 3.5-inch hard drives capping at 4TB capacity, the server is able to offer up to 8TB of storage space in RAID 0 or 4TB of protected storage space in RAID 1. It supports Synology Hybrid RAID, which automatically sets up the internal drives with a balance between data security, storage space and performance, based on how many drives are being used. You can also upgrade the internal drive to larger capacities without having to rebuild the RAID . The N2 is also the first catastrophe-proof server that allows users to replace the internal drives and its the first storage device from IoSafe that offers RAIDs.
The front-facing drive bays are covered by layers of protection. The N2 comes with a heavily reinforced fireproof drive door, and when taken off, this reveals another door on the inside. This second door protects the internal drive from water and can be removed. Finally, the two hard drives are secured to the server with a latch that can also be removed. Installing or replacing hard drives takes less than 5-minutes. Also on the front, the N2 has one a Quick Backup button, an SD slot and a USB 2.0 port. Using the Quick Backup button, you can quickly back up portable drives, SD cards or thumbdrives onto the server’s internal storage.
On the back the N2 has one Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports. These USB ports can be used to host more storage or printers, or to back up the server’s internal data to an external storage device. Also on the back, the N2 has a larger fan that is pretty silent, even under heavy use. The N2 is similar to other disaster-proof storage devices from IoSafe, measures 5.9×9.06×11.5 inches and weights around 30-pounds.
Perforance-wise, the N2 is very fast, faster than those of most NAS servers of the same configuration. Compared with some other higher-end NAS servers, the N2’s performance is above-average, and at these speeds, it’s more than fast enough for small offices environments. It’s also very quiet, and stays cool all the time.
The N2 offers a very performance-focused experience, much like the Synology DS213air. It’s an excellent for an entry-level dual-bay network server. Its added extreme protection and included Data Recovery Service are bonuses, and for anyone who needs to keep their critical data safe at all times, the IoSafe NAS server is well worth it.
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