The Thecus N2310 NAS is a worthy buy if you’re looking for a business-class network-attached storage solution with an affordable price tag and a feature set that many higher-priced models lack. First-time setup and RAID configuration are not easy for first-time users. This means that the Thecus N2310 is not a good idea for novice users. Unfortunately, you can’t just plug in your own hard drive and expect the N2310 to be ready for action. You’ll need to format your hard drive and rebuild the RAID first.
It has an 800MHz processor and 512MB of memory, which means they’re not quite as beefed up as Thecus’ N2560 ( Amazon ), which has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 2GB RAM. But that This two-bay NAS supports SATA drives in RAID configurations of 0, 1, and JBOD. Connectivity includes a Gigabit Ethernet port, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 ports which support additional storage, printers, and UPS devices.
The Thecus N2310 server’s chassis is made of black plastic, but it looks much sturdier than the Thecus N2560. Even the rails on the drive bays are plastic, but that’s to be expected in a server. The N2310 has a black plastic chassis, but it doesn’t have as cheap a look as the N2560. The rails for the drives are plastic because you don’t expect them to be anything else in cheaper NAS boxes. The N2310 fan can get a bit loud during disk activity.
The N2310 produces a fair amount of noise while running, but more noise is produced when you’re performing disk operations. I also noticed that the drives themselves were quite warm after several hours of uptime.
Setting up the ThecusNas is extremely easy: Just connect it to your network, power it on, visit the Thecus website and download the install software. Then, you’ll be able to choose which installation protocol you want to use. The NAS is easy. All you have to do is connect it to your network and power it on.
The N2310 ships diskless, so I installed the usual SATA drives I use for NAS reviews. These drives always have existing data on them, and I almost never have an issue with reusing the drives and I almost never have an issue with reusing the drives.
The Thecus NAS utility reported “data found on disks” and then, “initializing device, please wait about 5 minutes.” That status remained until the next day! I finally closed out of the utility and received this frustrating message, “An exception of call OutofBounds was not handled. The application must shut down”
I was finally able to get the Thecus to work with the drives it came with, using utilities. This is the second Thecus NAS I’ve seen with this problem, but not other NASes. but then we used a utility to reformat the drives and that worked.
In case you’re ever interested in using that utility again, you can find the download and instructions here.
Even though I had some trouble getting this machine set up, I was impressed by its feature set. The N2310 supports IPv4 and IPv6, offers RSync, FTP, Wake-on LAN, iTunes, BitTorrent, Amazon S3. Although the setup process was frustrating, the feature set is impressive. The N2310 supports IPv4 and IPv6, offers RSync, FTP, Wake-on LAN, iTunes, BitTorrent, Amazon S3 integration, and more.
Although there are a couple of business features missing, such as Active Directory and LDAP integration, I did not see an area in the interface for configuring iSCSI or integrating virtualization solutions such as VMware, Hyper-V, or Citrix the lack of those features is expected and typical for NASes in this class.
The N2310 has a simple, clean interface. This makes it easy to use, but also means that you need some technical knowledge to get the most out of it.
In order to test how well Thecus NAS can recover a RAID mirror from a drive failure, I pull one of the drives out, usually while files are being saved or a movie is streaming. The first thing I look for is an indication of the fast the RAID array can recover.
After pulling the drive, I noticed the NAS didn’t immediately reconfigure the RAID array. It took refreshing the interface page to notice that it was now labeled as “Damaged.” This would be a great feature to have in every device with a similar notification from the NAS after pulling one of the drives, but it did eventually emit a shrill beep as a warning.
In the RAID Management, I created a new RAID 1 volume as if nothing had happened. That is, or should be, the standard behavior for server administrators: when things go wrong, you need to have the RAID volume restored, I could access all of my data. However, I did experience some data loss when I recreated the array.
RAID recovery can be time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, the performance is far better than RAID reconstruction. In fact, the N2310 is one of the most nimble two-bay NASes I’ve tested. The storage device averaged 62MBps. That’s almost the opposite of the performance of the N2560. Because the N2560 is intended for small businesses, it’s designed to handle more data than the N2310. However, the N2310 should handle most small office workloads well.
NAS models are often designed for the needs of specific markets. Since the N2310 was engineered as a business NAS, it is not surprising that it is not as effective as the N2560 in handling high-capacity storage.
You Get What You Pay For
Thecus is relatively new to the networked storage space. It shows some of the issues I’ve had in testing its products. Working with disks and RAID are both so challenging that all but the most technical and persistent users are likely to be frustrated. It’s a strong performer. The result is a fair network-attached storage server, but for true RAID reliability, you’ll want to shell out more money for a two-bay NAS like the Editors’ Choice Western Digital My Cloud Mirror.