Caption by: Kelvyn Taylor
Many smaller NAS enclosures are aimed more at the consumer market than small businesses, although they should work just as well in either environment. The inclusion of features like media streaming, web servers and multimedia web galleries may have business applications, but most smaller companies simply need a straightforward central storage device. If that's the case, D-Link's no-frills 4-bay ShareCenter Pro 1100 might appeal.
It uses the latest revision of D-Link's NAS firmware, which is little changed from that found in the 5-bay Sharecenter Pro 1200. So, unsurprisingly, its capabilities are very similar.
The enclosure itself is mostly plastic, with a lockable front door providing access to the power switch and the four hot-swap 3.5in. drive bays (2.5in. drives are not supported). There's an OLED status panel above the door, and status lights below. Twin Gigabit Ethernet ports provide several options for redundancy and load balancing via port bonding, including 802.3ad link aggregation. There are also two USB ports for adding storage or printers, but oddly no e-SATA expansion ports.
The 4-bay ShareCenter Pro 1100 only supports 3.5in. drives and is noisier than many comparable small-business NAS servers
It's not exactly silent in use, with a large rear fan providing good airflow through the enclosure. But the fan speed can be reduced if needed, and there are comprehensive power management features including timed drive hibernation and scheduled power on/off.
An EZ-Search utility makes light work of network discovery and launching the initial System Wizard. For review purposes, we installed three 250GB Hitachi CinemaStar HCS725025VLA380 drives configured in a RAID-0 array, but RAID 1, 10, 5 and 6 are also supported. ISCI volumes can be created to run concurrently with shared folders, and courtesy of the integrated iSCSI initiator, remoteiSCSI targets can be added as virtual volumes.
Passmark Performance Test 7.0 Disk Tests for the ShareCenter Pro 1100 with three 250GB Hitachi CinemaStar drives configured in RAID 0
We did run some performance tests using Passmark's Performance Test 7, but as the ShareCenter Pro 1100 is sold unpopulated these are not definitive results. With a single Gigabit Ethernet link, it performed on a par with its 5-bay ShareCenter 1200 sibling, achieving around 22MB/sec using a four-thread File Server workload (80% random reads, 20% random writes). With the Web Server workload (100% random reads) it returned almost 70MB/sec. The standard Disk Test gave an overall score of 548.
D-Link's admin interface provides comprehensive power management options
The admin interface is easy enough to use, and there's a decent amount of context-sensitive help available. Compared to other similar products, add-ons are minimal, with just a Web File Manager and a Download Manager available in the Applications section. Other applications can be added via Extension Packs, but at the time of writing none were available for the multilingual firmware used in the ShareCenter Pro.
Backup is well catered for, with volume snapshots, local backup, remote backup to another ShareCenter or Rsync server, plus external backup to USB storage. A single-user copy of Farstone Total Backup Recovery 7 Server is also bundled.
The ShareCenter Pro 1100 lacks some handy features, such as automatic firmware upgrades, and has none of the more esoteric add-ons found in many NAS devices. However, it provides all the basics — including good user management, email alerting and network manageability — that are needed for a robust small-business network storage system.
Caption by: Kelvyn Taylor