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WD ShareSpace NAS Brings IT Home

Features

On the back sits the power port, pin-sized reset button, the very-important Gigabit-capable Ethernet port, and two more standard USB ports. The fan is visible here, as is a small slot for a security lock.

That special USB slot on the front is actually a USB transfer port. Connect any USB storage device here, and push the button right above it (the USB Backup button), and ShareSpace will automatically suck all the data off the storage device and put it on the NAS in its own folder. Think of it as a slurping port.

The other two USB port, on the back side, work just fine as ways to tack on additional network storage or backup space. But why would you need to add storage onto an already healthy 4TB system ? If you really need more space, you might be in the market for server racks or a full-fledged data center, not a lunchbox-sized NAS.

Turning on the ShareSpace is simple enough. Just hold down the power button for several seconds, and let the drives whir into action. The whole process actually takes about three minutes, which is surprisingly long for such a small box.

Once the drives are up and running, the LEDs zip into action. They blink in a variety of ways to let you know what’s going on inside. The four drive LEDs can blink amber or green, or any combination of the two, to tell you about various errors and levels of readiness. The Ethernet port blinks green when data’s moving, and the “system identification” LED blinks blue or red. The USB Backup button LED also blinks green. If you’ve got an extra USB drive plugged into the USB port, it probably blinks too. You don’t want to put this drive in the same room as your bed.

RAID Modes

The 4TB version of ShareSpace comes preconfigured in a RAID 5 mode. RAID 5 means that each of the four drives is partially used, or “striped”, with evenly distributed and redundant data. This provides a failsafe recovery path if a failure occurs on any drive, while at the same time allowing the drives to run at optimum performance levels. If you’ve got more than three drives, RAID 5 mode is the safest and highest-quality option.

RAID 5 means that you only get about 3 terabytes of storage space. The rest is used for data redundancy. If that’s a problem for you, ShareSpace also supports RAID 1, which mirrors two of the drives onto the other two (you only get 2TB available to you this way). Or, Raid 0 (zero failure protection, but incorporates striping), which gives you all 4TB. Spanning mode also gives you all 4TB, but your computer will see this as one enormous drive with no added benefits, and if something goes wrong, everything might be affected—scary !

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  • Why give a NAS to somebody who clearly has no idea what RAID 0 is. Tom's is loosing its air of authority with every word she types.
    Reply
  • TeraMedia
    25c per GB (36c in RAID 0; I think author inverted the math?) is really pretty good for storage. If the included drives are the RAID-ready WD1000FYPS drives ($210 ea on newegg, OEM), then the cost of the empty system is only $159. So for $159 you get all of the rest of the system you need for a file server with pretty large storage capacity.

    I think this device is very well suited for a media-file-server role for a home network. You don't need high write speed for that, and the read speed looks to be more than adequate for 2 or 3 streams of HD Video. If you try to put this much storage under a TV in an HTPC case, you begin to face heat and noise issues.
    Reply
  • TeraMedia
    (sorry - meant 36c per GB in RAID 5)
    Reply
  • TeraMedia
    Question for Rachel: What model drives are in this thing? Are they the RE2 versions, or just the Caviar Green? The latter cost only $130 ea, which would make the value of this product much less appealing.
    Reply
  • TeraMedia
    Nevermind. These use EACS drives, not FYPS. No longer an interesting product; I don't need to pay $480 for the empty shell with RAID 5 capabilities.
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    gyrodec2Why give a NAS to somebody who clearly has no idea what RAID 0 is. Tom's is loosing its air of authority with every word she types.Thanks for your comment, Gyrodec2. Please offer a better definition for RAID 0 than the one I used, and I will consider changing the article.

    All the best,

    Rachel Rosmarin, Editor, Tom's Guide
    Reply
  • michaelahess
    gryodec2, +1!

    "I had to dig deep to re-share the ShareSpace’s public folder on a computer after the original mapping had been messed up."

    Pretty sure that's in lesson 2 of "Basic Networking for Idiots"

    "Or, Raid 0 (little failure protection, but incorporates striping)"

    Pretty sure that's NO PROTECTION not "oh just a little bit"

    "and if something goes wrong, everything might be affected—scary"

    Assuming it's JBOD, you only loose what's on the failed disk, less scary than RAID0.

    "Forget about it if you don’t have Windows Server experience"

    Or, ya know, maybe a little more accurately, if you don't have an actual AD environment. In which case you would be completely mental to use something like this.

    This is probably the single worst review I've ever seen on Toms.

    BTW, windows has a built in FTP client, it's called Internet Explorer. DOH!
    Reply
  • What's the point of testing a NAS device without testing its power consumption, particularly its idle power, but also its power under load? How is its response time if it's in a low power state? Does it even have a low power state?

    These things are plugged in and on all the time. The true price of ownership has to take into account the number of kilowatt hours per year you're going to use to run it.
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    michaelahessgryodec2, +1!"I had to dig deep to re-share the ShareSpace’s public folder on a computer after the original mapping had been messed up."Pretty sure that's in lesson 2 of "Basic Networking for Idiots""Or, Raid 0 (little failure protection, but incorporates striping)"Pretty sure that's NO PROTECTION not "oh just a little bit""and if something goes wrong, everything might be affected—scary"Assuming it's JBOD, you only loose what's on the failed disk, less scary than RAID0."Forget about it if you don’t have Windows Server experience"Or, ya know, maybe a little more accurately, if you don't have an actual AD environment. In which case you would be completely mental to use something like this.This is probably the single worst review I've ever seen on Toms.BTW, windows has a built in FTP client, it's called Internet Explorer. DOH!Michaelahess,

    Thanks for your comment. Most of your criticisms here seem to focus on your opinion that networking knowledge SHOULD be required to use a product like the one in this review. I disagree. Western Digital is marketing this product to people with No Experience of this kind. My review aimed to point out that a person without this experience and knowledge might struggle with certain tasks. For instance, drive mapping is not a skill most basic PC users have ever learned. This product aims to make the drive mapping function easy, but did not work on a second attempt, meaning someone had to know how to map manually. And, why would a HOME USER have an Active Directory environment? Perhaps you should reserve your criticisms for WD's marketing department?

    Rachel Rosmarin, Editor of Tom's Guide
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    Luke DWhat's the point of testing a NAS device without testing its power consumption, particularly its idle power, but also its power under load? How is its response time if it's in a low power state? Does it even have a low power state?These things are plugged in and on all the time. The true price of ownership has to take into account the number of kilowatt hours per year you're going to use to run it.
    Luke D,

    This is an excellent idea. I will look into power consumption tests to see if they are feasible for our Tom's Guide test lab.

    All the best,
    Rachel Rosmarin, Editor of Tom's Guide
    Reply