Its first foray into the small business Network Attached Storage (NAS) market, Western Digital's new WD Sentinel DX4000 stands out mainly by virtue of its use of Windows Server 2008 R2 Essentials rather than Linux, as on most other NAS boxes.
The hardware is pretty unremarkable, Western Digital opting for a dual-core Intel D525 Atom to drive its appliance supported by 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The usual black metal cube is used to house everything and there are four 3.5in storage bays behind the door at the front of the DX4000 which can be had in two configurations - ready fitted with either 4TB of storage (£599 ex VAT) or 8TB (£899 ex VAT).
Enterprise class WD disks are employed here, with two disks in the 4TB model and a full four in the larger version. These slide straight into the unit without the need for caddies, with RAID 1 support on the two-drive model and RAID 5 protection as standard on the four-disk appliance.
A nice feature is automatic RAID migration and capacity expansion when extra disks are added to the 4TB model, but it’s not quite as easy to manage as some others. Like the ultra-friendly Drobo, for example.
Cross-platform file sharing is the main function of the device with support for up to 25 users, set by the Windows Essentials server license rather than the hardware. There’s support, of course, for Active Directory and a DLNA media server, but no iSCSI capabilities which puts the DX4000 at something of a disadvantage compared to the likes of Netgear, Synology, QNAP and others who provide this as standard.
On the plus side, two Gigabit Ethernet ports give failover protection to the network interface and, unusually, it’s possible to plug in two external power supplies, although you only get one to start with. The DX4000 can also be configured to backup data from network clients with, in turn, a couple of USB 3.0 ports which can be used to take local backups of the internal NAS storage. There’s also an option to take backups and recover data via the cloud.
Somewhat late to the NAS party, the WD Sentinel DX4000 is a solid looking product with the added benefit of the Western Digital brand. However, it’s a mature and crowded market and, even with the WD moniker, the competition are unlikley to be that concerned.