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Review: Buffalo Technology TeraStation

Backup, FTP, Print Serving & more

The focus of the TS' backup features is on backup of the TeraStation's drives, not on backing up clients to the TeraStation (Figure 12). All you need to do is define backup folders, password-protect them if desired, define the source and destination folders for each backup and schedule daily or weekly backups.

Figure 12: Backup job settings
(click image to enlarge)

Options are also available to start a defined backup immediately, or temporarily suspend its execution. You can also compress or encrypt transfers, set incremental backups and automatically overwrite previous backups.

If you want to backup clients to the Terastation, it looks like the "info" folder contains a copy of Buffalo's HDbackup program (Windows only), or you can download a copy of a 30-day trial of Tanagra's Memeo backup program (Win 2000, XP only) if you don't find it included on your TeraStation CD.

One of the options you may have noticed in the Shared Folder setting screen is the ability to enable FTP access. Buffalo's documentation says only anonymous FTP is supported, but my experience was different. I found anonymous FTP didn't work, but when I reported this to Buffalo I was told that it was available on Port 8021, which I verified is correct (but which also isn't documented). However, while I was trying to get anonymous FTP to work on Port 21 (where FTP is normally found), I found that I could login using any established user account except the built-in guest account.

Once logged in, I could see folders for each drive, plus a folder for an "info" folder that did not appear in the TeraStation's Shared Folder list. I did find that only folders within each drive's folder (other than the "info" folder) that had FTP access enabled in their Shared Folder settings were visible. But I also found that I had to set User level privileges for folders in order to make the available for FTP - Group level privs appeared to be ignored.

The settings for the built-in Print Server are pretty basic - just separate enables for Windows and Mac OS ("Apple") print servers. While there is no status monitor or ability to see the jobs in queue, you can kill all the jobs in queue with a click on the Delete button on the Delete Print Queue page.

There are a few other features that I don't think I touched on, so I will now:

You can enable emailed alerts. But I couldn't get the TS to send me anything, even when I used the Send Test Message button. This was probably because my ISP enforces username / password login in order to use its SMTP server and the TeraStation doesn't support any method of SMTP authentication

You can shutdown the TS from the browser inteface and reset it to factory defaults. But you can't perform just a soft reboot

The Disk Sleep function allows you to set sleep and wake up times that will be executed daily

The TS can initiate a shutdown from a serial-connected UPS

Note that the TeraStation doesn't include the PCast media server function found on Buffalo's LinkStation. This appears to be a UPnP-based streaming media server that can provide access to TeraStation-stored media files for Buffalo's LinkTheater [reviewed here] and other streaming media players. Buffalo told me, however, that PCast is available in a firmware download currently available only by calling their support center [(866) 752-6210], and that their June TS documentation update will also include PCast documentation.