The expanding demands for reliable storage capacity have become a necessity rather than a luxury with the modern business practices. They need reliable services, along with the capacity to further augment their scale if need arises; moreover all this within a reasonable price tag.
To cater to the needs of small and medium businesses, Thecus and Microsoft have come up with a NAS device that meets these needs. The Network Attached Storage (NAS) world has just expanded its horizons. Until recently, we have been seeing and using Linux based NAS devices for all the network attached storage needs. From small home-based networks to large scale corporate clients, NAS has been an essential feature of each structure, and Linux-based systems have been keeping everyone satisfied with their services. Thecus recently announced the launching of their much-awaited W2810Pro, as the newest installment in their Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials NAS series. The new Thecus W2810Pro is introduced, as a storage and networking, server solution for small to mid-sized businesses. How good is this NAS? Well, let’s jump into the Thecus W2810Pro review and find out.
Thecus W2810 Pro Review – What’s in the Box?
The Thecus NAS arrives in a bright, hard to miss packaging. The box is of signature Widows Mustard-Orange color. The front of the box gives you basic specifics of your new device, including information about its number of users, processor, doot drive, cloud service integration, performance optimization and access features.
When you turn the box on its side you can see a more detailed chart of the device specifications, features, and its functionalities. While the opposite side shows a simple pictorial demonstration of how the Thecus W2810Pro is supposed to work for you.
When you open the box, you can see the device itself. Covered in plastic protective covering, the NAS is a black colored metallic looking box.
The contents of the box include
One Thecus W2810Pro NAS
One LAN cable
One PSU brick
Power cable securing tools
Two sets of keys for the drive bays
One warranty card
One set of installation guide booklets
Screws to secure 2.5’’ drives. The drive bays do not require any tools, but in case you want to install 2.5’’ drives, screws are also screws included in the box.
The Thecus W2810Pro – Everything You Should Need and More
Let’s have a look at the outside of our new Thecus W2810Pro. The front of the device has two portions, the shiny reflective black part holds the Power Button, the LEDs, a USB port and its button, which is a one-touch backup button, and is used to create fast backups to external drives.
The matte black section in the front of the NAS takes up two-thirds of the device front space and holds the two drive bays. These drive trays do not require any tools to install the drives. To insert a drive, open the ledge to take out the drive bay, insert the new drive then close the ledge again. But if you decide to use 2.5-inch drives, you will need the screws provided in the box.
Both the drive bays contain a lock that requires keys to open, so that the latch cannot be accidentally opened, preventing any data loss during operations. This also ensures no unauthorized personnel can access the drives. The bays themselves have a sturdy structure, with secure spring latches, and metal covering. The fronts of drive bays have perforated metal edge so each of the drives is well ventilated, making sure that the system operations remain cool and uninterrupted.
Now if we turn the device to the side, we find that the case covering the device is a strong, sturdy black plastic, it almost looks and feels like metal in feel and sturdiness.
The back of the device is a silver metallic plate. Circular ventilation ducts cover most of the back. On the top left corner, there are two Ethernet LAN ports, these can be teamed up together or used to connect to two subnets. Below the LAN ports, is the HDMI port, it will be the port most users are likely to use to connect to their visual media like a monitor.
Below the HDMI port, are the two USB 3.0 ports followed by the SPDIF port to facilitate audio. And under these ports, is the display port DP, for advanced support for monitors.
The last port just at the bottom of the device is for a power adapter. And that concludes our survey of the exterior of the Thecus W2810Pro.
Equipped with Intel® Celeron™ N3150 quad-core central processing unit and 4 GB DDR3 RAM. This 2 bay NAS comes with a multitude of storage capacity options.
Intended for professional use, this device can provide Network attached Storage for up to 50 devices or users. The new Thecus W2810Pro is centered around the Intel Celeron N3160 quad-core processor, one of the most well-received Microsoft processors. Additionally, this Thecus has a base clock speed of 1.6 GHz. With the help of its four cores, Thecus has a boot speed of up to 2.24 GHz. Moreover, with its 14 NM lithography, the Thermal Design Power rating or TDP rating, as we know it in Processor lingo, is as low as 6W.
As this is a Microsoft product, it is equipped with an Intel HD Graphics 400 iGPU, and it can support EDP, DP, HDMI and also the Wireless Display, a much loved Intel feature. The Thecus W2810Pro also includes a 2MB L2 cache and it can sustain up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 memory, via its two channels.
Unlike its Linux counterparts that boot from a USB DOM the Windows ThecusW2810Pro utilizes its 2.5-inch 60GB SSD as its boot medium. As Linux based devices are much more reliant on their access to memory, their DOM boot is a utility that can hinder the performance of Windows Sharepoint Services, hence here the SSD boot works to actually boost system performance.
Storage for 1-50 Employee Business
The Thecus W2810Pro is specifically intended and designed for small scale businesses. With it’s easy to set up and integrate technology, a faster, more reliable, and a more secure competitor is hard to find in the market.
Cloud Service Integration
As a Private Cloud NAS, the cloud backup utility is a distinguishing feature of the Thecus W2810PRO. With it’s built in Azure Backup, an easy and reliable data protection solution to integrate data to the cloud. And Office 365 to regulate the Cloud and management of user accounts, this NAS is a valuable commodity for your business.
Scalable, Secure User Management
The Thecus W2810Pro provides Scalable and Secure User Management via Active Directory Domain Services.
With its unique Data Deduplication mechanism, the Thecus W2810PRO features unparalleled performance optimization technology that has not been introduced in any of its predecessors, or competitors. Within the price range of a small business, Data Deduplication tech is a worthy ability to have.
The Thecus W2810PRO uses it’s embedded 60 GB SSD as an enhanced boot drive. As with any normal Windows or Mac device, SSD does its magic here too, providing a much faster booting time and much higher benchmark score.
Easy to Setup
Although it is intended for professional users, it does not require a highly proficient IT team to set it up. Once you are done configuring the device into your network, it runs pretty much on its own, requiring no additional support. You will be using Remote Desktop Protocols to access it using the Windows-based Dashboard. And as the Dashboard is also windows based, and most of us are quite familiar with windows platform, using it is no hardship.
Privacy you can trust
Thecus W2810PRO is the answer to your worries if you have any qualms about your sensitive data being handled by a third party. This is one of the biggest security risks in the corporate sector. If you have reservations about your data being accessed by the government spying agencies, or hackers or it being simply susceptible to a leak in security, with Thecus W2810PRO you can rest in peace. With this NAS, your data is put in storage on your own premises, letting you be assured that your data safekeeping within your own influences.
High Performance for Intensive tasks
Performance rates are affected without a doubt when utilizing public cloud servers to access data. These servers provide services to several clients at the same time as you; this causes delayed services, restricted by the cloud servers’ performance and their bandwidth speed.
For the data access and retrieval tasks, you can rest assured of its higher performance for all your intensive tasks.
The Thecus W2810PRO comes with its Windows License Included. By investing in your very own Network attached Storage with a Private Cloud, you are bringing to your business a far greater data processing speed, serenity in terms of data confidentiality problems, and better budgeting option as your data usage increases over time.
Expanded Functionality Thanks to Apps
As Thecus W2810Pro is a Windows-based NAS, you are able to increase its functionality with the vast amounts of apps available for Windows based platforms. You have a vast variety of apps from office suites to video and audio media players, to voice chat servers, to download and file management services at your service. You can find an extensive variety of apps available for this Windows-based NAS to meet your needs.
Backup and Sync Apps available for Thecus
USB & eSATA schedule backup
Raid Volume Replication
BUSINESS Apps Available For Thecus
Open ERP 7
CMS Apps Available For Thecus
DOWNLOADER Apps Available For Thecus
Transmission (BT Client)
FILE MANAGEMENT Apps Available For Thecus
MAIL SERVER Apps Available For Thecus
Xeams Mail Server
MEDIA/DLNA Apps Available For Thecus
PHOTO SERVER Apps Available For Thecus
SECURITY Apps Available For Thecus
VirusScan (McAfee Antivirus)
TOOLS Apps Available For Thecus
WEB Apps Available For Thecus
OTHER Apps Available For Thecus
CORE Apps Available For Thecus
Setting up your new Thecus W2810PRO is very easy. Supporting a multitude of platforms from Macs to Microsoft, this NAS can handle up to 50 devices or computers integrated into the network; sharing, storing and creating local and cloud backup of your data at the same time.
Step 1: Initialization
This Thecus W2810PRO NAS itself works as the processing unit when you start to set it up in your network, unlike any Linux based NAS.
Using the ports provided on the NAS, connect your mouse, keyboard, monitor and the network connection, and then turn the power on.
The device already has its basic OS installed on it; you will just be registering it, and performing the basic set up functions, as required by the OS to start your device. The OS itself will guide you through each step, just like in the setup of any Windows based OS installation. The initialization requires
The Windows product key; available on the label placed on the NAS.
Confirmation of licensing agreement
Then hit the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys to log into the system. You will need to enter your admin password, which was set previously during initialization setup.
Step 2: Configuring the Server
Now that we have initialized the system, time to configure some server features. The Thecus OS takes us through the whole process itself.
The process starts with inputting of time zones, and time settings, followed by personal or your companies information input, including Internal Domain name and the Server name.
Then you are required to register and create the network admin account and set its passwords. Next, the OS will prompt you to download and install current updates and ask for permission to access updates in future. Now the OS will do its thing, go through the server preparation on its own, and complete the configuration.
Step 3: Configure via Dashboard
The basic functionalities now will be accessed and configured via Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) Dashboard. This is where you will be performing all your non-third party based server activities from now on.
The initial three steps of this Dashboard page are already completed at this point. This can be seen via check off TOC type of checklist, cataloging all the functions to be performed to completely configure the server.
Step 4: Setup Server Backup
The server then asks you to create a backup; it requires additional drives to be connected to the system. The backup creation process takes just a few minutes. You will be asked to
Identify the destination drive
Give the drive a label
State times to perform backup routinely
Finally, select any parts that need to be backed-up
Step 4: Access Anywhere Setup
Now you will be prompted to set up your Access Anywhere feature, but it requires SSL certificate and is not a required feature, so you can skip this if you want. The Dashboard will take you through each step of the Access Anywhere feature.
Step 5: Set up your Health Report Feature
Now you will be prompted to setup and customize your Health Report feature. This is used to keep a lookout for your NAS performance and safety. Also, the Health Report feature informs you in case any anomaly is happening to your NAS. This step basically requires just two queries
The parts that need to be evaluated for inclusion in Health Report
And when these reports need to be performed
Additionally, you can also enter an email address that will also receive the health reports, along with the same health report being accessible via your server directly.
Step 6: Setup the Client Restore Service for server
This is an extremely useful service to have in case one of your client PCs or devices crash, and will not even start. This service enables the client to be booted from the last created backup for that client.
The process is automated and all you need to do is select and start the Client Restore service which will let you download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.
Step 7: Setup the Client Restore Service for client
The clients of a Windows based server are not limited to just windows based workstations, the Mac based systems can also be easily integrated into the network.
The connector software for Thecus W2810PRO can connect clients with Operating systems Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Mac OS 10.6-10.8. You need to download the appropriate connector software to the client and run the software configuration wizard. To complete the setup you will be needed to provide a system name and the backup rules. The software will complete the task and your client will be added to the network server.
Step 8: Setting up Users, User Groups, Storage options and Share
Setting up users, user groups, storage options and sharing privileges are all done by the Thecus Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.
When you open the Dashboard, you will be able to see options for each ‘Home’, ‘Users’, ‘Devices’, ‘Storage’ and ‘Applications’ on the top of the screen.
Under each menu, the configuration for each of the selections can be done. You can create users individually, or alternatively, for a larger number of clients, user-groups can also be created. All the users with the same access rights can be grouped together in a user-group.
On the ‘Devices’ menu, you can view all the connected devices, including the server that we linked in the initialization step.
From the storage option, you will be creating the new storage pool. This is a straightforward task and the OS guides you through all the steps. Once you have set up your storage pool, you can now start making the shared folders according to your needs. You will then be required to add the users or user-groups with access to the shared folders. Now, only the users with appropriate privileges will be able to access the shared data.
Step 12: Setting up Services and Add-ins
Now if we go back to ‘Home’, the added options after performing the whole setup includes accessing existing Microsoft ‘Services’. This includes Azure Active Directory, Azure Backup, Office 365, Office 365 and for integration purpose, the exchange server. Provided you have user-accounts for these services, you can enable them too.
Below the ‘Services’ option, you can view the add-ins available for your use, the only pre-installed add-in available to you is the Microsoft Azure backup, but you can add more features too.
Below the ‘Add-Ins’; you can view the ‘Quick Status’, this shows the server status and our setup currently operational for the network.
And finally below the ‘Quick Status’, you can see the ‘Help’ option, where you can seek online help for your NAS and all other related information to help the operation along.
File Transfer Speed
Transferring a 2GB file to the NAS transferred at speeds up to 32.7MBs while transferring the same from from the NAS the speed was 67.3MBs.
Thecus W2810PRO is unique in the world of NAS, because of it’s a Windows based Storage Essentials Server. The NAS provides good multitasking for up to 50 clients with either Windows or Mac OS. It is a good solution for your network attached storage problems, its Cloud backup feature further adds to its appeal. It is especially attractive for integrating into already established Windows infrastructures, and for those at ease with Windows OS.