The emergence of the digital economy has brought to fore the importance of safeguarding electronic data. We have discussed the 3-2-1 data backup strategy before in the piece where we covered ioSafe's Indiegogo campaign. The strategy involves keeping three copies of all essential data, spread over at least two different devices with at least one of them being off-site or disaster-resistant in some way. It is almost impossible to keep a copy of large frequently updated data sets current in an off-site data backup strategy. This is where companies like ioSafe come in.

We had reviewed ioSafe's SoloPRO, a disaster-resistant external hard drive last year. External hard drives are good enough for daily backups, but entirely unsuitable for large and frequently updated data. The latter scenario calls for a network attached storage unit which provides high availability over the local network. The SoloPRO's chassis and hard drive integration strategy made it impossible for end users to replace the hard disk while also retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. Though I don't have any data to back me up, my guess is that the data in a device like the SoloPRO is more likely to be lost due to a hard drive failure rather than a disaster. ioSafe provides data recovery in either case, but it would be simpler for users to be able to replace the drive themselves while retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. A disaster-resistant RAID-1 NAS with hot-swap capability would be an ideal solution in this case. ioSafe's N2 is a solution designed with these issues in mind.

Synology is one of the well-respected brands in the NAS market. Their current 2-bay lineup consists of the DS213, DS213+ and the DS213air. For the N2, ioSafe took the hardware and software platform of the DS213 and designed their disaster resistant chassis around it. Readers interested in the full hardware and software specifications of the ioSafe N2 can take a look at our initial coverage of the unit.

In the rest of this review, we will take a closer look at how ioSafe is able to provide hot-swap capability with user-replaceable hard disks while also retaining the unit's disaster-resistance characteristics. We will also take a look at the other components which protect the hard disks from fire and water.

Testbed Setup

The review also presents single and multi-client benchmarks under both Windows and Linux. For this purpose, we use the SMB / SOHO NAS testbed described earlier.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid (1TB HDD + 100GB NAND)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evoluion 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

We will conclude the piece with a discussion of the power consumption and a few other miscellaneous aspects.


Unboxing and Hardware in Action
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  • Bobs_Your_Uncle - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    I done my durndest, but from nowhere within the article was I able to ferret out a reference price for this Beautiful Beast.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    Diskless is $599 ; Sorry for the oversight
  • wchpitt - Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - link

    Wow! So $400 of sheet metal wrapped around a $200 NAS. I believe, I would use the extra $400 to buy a second NAS and drives and then use a second physical location with HSI and sync the two (e.g. office to house with RSync)
  • ssj3gohan - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    I want to see its USPs addressed! Fireproofness, waterproofness, resistance to electrical problems and theft. And honestly, if any problems are worth addressing it's those last two.
  • robb.moore - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    Hi ssj3gohan -
    The N2 can be used with just about any commercially available UPS. Many of the more popular brands can be used with the USB port on the N2 to intelligently shut it down if power failure is imminent.

    Human error ranks as the highest reason for data loss so don't forget that on your list :)

    But all issues are worth addressing as they're all reasons for protecting data. Check out the post from me above to Penti regarding the floor mount kit or redundant N2's on the LAN.

    Robb Moore
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    But photos are not really constantly updated. Regular backups with an external harddrive, which you keep at your workplace or some other remote place are a much cheaper solution to your scenario.
  • otherwise - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    I'm very disappointing that a review of a component that claims to be fireproof didn't involve fire. I'd love to see someone test that claim.
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    That could be a good excuse for Anandtech's staff to play with fire. BrokenCrayons encourage this manner of testing.
  • tygrus - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    The ioSafe is still just a part of your backup and disaster recovery plans. It's a key element for some but not to be used as the sole storage device on the network. Designed for small business and paranoid home users. Not designed for everyday use nor as the primary location of files. Store them on another server and backup regularly to the ioSafe.
  • random2 - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - link

    I'd be interested in learning more about the WD drives in the Compatibility List that didn't meet temp requirements, the very same model 2,3 and 4TB drives Ganesh is using to test the device.

    "*Note: Drive will not operate in normal working environments above 30°C (86°F)."

    30 degrees Celsius? Holy Doodle Batman! These are supposed to be enterprise drives? What am I missing?

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