I got my hands on Seagate's BlackArmor 440 NAS server and it seems different from most NAS servers I've reviewed.
The BlackArmor 440 is one of two products in the BlackArmor NAS server family that Seagate introduced last Tuesday. The other is the BlackArmor 420. The only difference between the two is the 420 ships with only two hard drives preinstalled, leaving two bays empty, while the 440 comes fully populated with four drives. Both devices are aimed at business and home office environments.
These are the first NAS servers that are truly from Seagate. The company does sell and support a few others, such as the Central Axis, but under a different brand.
The BlackArmor NAS server has a rugged and compact look for a four-bay NAS server and comes with an easy-to-use, tool-free design. It can take up to four SATA hard drives of up to 2TB of storage.
Unlike other NAS servers I've seen, the BlackArmor has four USB ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The USB port can host other external USB hard drives that can be set to contain the backup of the NAS server's internal storage. According to Seagate, this allows for offsite backup rotation.
Other features of the BlackArmor NAS servers include:
- Onboard LCD screen that displays settings and status information--including event alerts--and intuitive management utility for easy configuration and data access
- Continuous and automatic backup of critical data for up to 50 networked computers with full-system backup and RAID redundancy options to help provide data protection
- Access control at file and folder level with password protection and encryption with the ability to offer bare metal restore and recovery CD to protect against hardware failure
- Ability to scale from a two- to four-drive configuration with 2, 4, 6, and 8 terabytes of storage.
- Built-in remote access via the Internet without any extra installs or software
- Hot swappable, user-serviceable drives and RAID options to enhance performance and scalability. The BlackArmor NAS servers also ship with an external power supply and user-serviceable fan.
At first impression, the BlackArmor NAS server seems impressive. Check back in a while for the full review of the product. If you can't wait, both the BlackArmor 440 and 420 are available for purchase now and cost from $800 for the 2TB version to $2,000 for the 8TB version.