Stepping Up to Storage, Part IV

Data StorageStorageWorkspace

Speed and simplicity is of the essence, if you are an SMB with few dedicated IT resources

The PowerVault NX200 is an ideal solution for solving storage headaches by consolidating the documents and files generated by a small or medium-sized business (SMB) into a centralised store. This makes the data accessible to anyone in the company at any time – depending, of course, on the access rights allocated to each user.

The PowerVault NX200 arrives with everything to share company information, saving valuable time. The system is pre-configured to use four hard drives, giving total capacities of one terabyte (TB), 2TB, 4TB or 8TB to suit the needs and the budgets of the business.

Quick and easy to install

Access to the disks is controlled through a simplified version of Microsoft’s secure Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic. This is the same as the server software used to drive data centres in large enterprises but has been specially developed to make it much easier for SMBs to install without specialist training.

Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic is as easy to install as Windows for the desktop and uses the same kind of user-friendly, Wizard-based guidance. This avoids the arduous process of wading through pages of documentation and gets the NX200 file server up and running without any fuss or need for specialised knowledge.

Dell has integrated its own wizards, such as the Initial Configuration Task tool, into those supplied with Windows Server to get the network-attached storage (NAS) up and running quickly in just a few steps. It seamlessly integrates into any existing Windows management and protection tools that have already been deployed and the NX200 does not require additional Client Access Licences (CALs).

Setting up the NX200 is simply a case of connecting it to the network and responding to the Wizard’s questions. These actions take the user step by step through the process of configuring the pre-installed Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic software to connect each user to the new centralised storage. Although similar to loading the desktop version of Windows, the software is already loaded and tuned to run on the PowerVault hardware, rather than having to build the server from scratch. This makes it much faster to move from the delivery to the in-service phases.

Most of the time taken to configure the server is used to load the data already stored on the company’s laptops and desktop systems. The server needs a little time to copy the information across but this is a largely automated process and the NX200 can be left unattended to pull in the data.

In use, the RAID controller manages the secure storage of the data which ensures that files will remain intact even if a disk fails. The SATA hard disk drives have been chosen to offer a higher MTBF (Meantime Between Failure) rating, giving them a longer operational life than consumer-grade disks.

The system can be monitored and managed through Dell’s iDRAC Express (integrated Dell Remote Access Controller) interface which collects system information and allows simple configuration tasks to be performed. The interface gives remote management capabilities that make the NX200 ideal as a departmental or remote office system. iDRAC Express also offers a range of essential features and functions such as; auto-discover, crash screen and boot capture, bare metal deployment and configuration, directory services integration, single-sign on, power monitoring and budgeting, IPv6 as well as email alerting.

The PowerVault NX200 is easy to install and makes maintenance easier, but its main benefit is the service it offers to small business owners, who can concentrate on building and growing their core business rather than worrying about file storage, data integrity and information security.