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Hybrid Storage: Akitio’s Entry-Level Drive

Safe­ty and per­for­mance. Those are of­ten the trade-offs with ex­ter­nal stor­age, since hav­ing a disk near­by speeds up ac­cess, but in­creas­es the risk of fail­ure or dam­age or theft.

Mov­ing your da­ta in­to the cloud is safer since there are typ­i­cal­ly mul­ti­ple man­aged back­ups, but mov­ing larg­er files can take for­ev­er. Blend­ing both of these is a good idea, and we’re start­ing to see more and more de­vices come with cloud op­tions.

Aki­tio’s Cloud Hy­brid 1 Bay al­so blends net­work-at­tached stor­age with di­rect-at­tached stor­age since you can plug in­to the de­vice with ei­ther eth­er­net or USB 3.0 (you can on­ly use one at a time though).

There aren’t Thun­der­bolt or wire­less op­tions on this mod­el, but we haven’t found wire­less net­work stor­age to work all that well, and Thun­der­bolt isn’t wide­ly avail­able or sup­port­ed (and is still quite ex­pen­sive). Speak­ing of costs, this is a very val­ue-fo­cused en­clo­sure, as it comes with­out a hard drive in­clud­ed, and costs a re­mark­ably in­ex­pen­sive $100 or so.

We weren’t fa­mil­iar with the com­pa­ny be­fore, but they’ve got a long his­to­ry in this type of gear. We popped in a 2TB drive, plugged in via eth­er­net, and threw on some files (mu­sic, movies, doc­u­ments) to test out how well ev­ery­thing ran.

Me­dia lovers, there is a DL­NA uP­NP serv­er and iTunes mu­sic serv­er sup­port built-in. We didn’t get a chance to test out both of the free mo­bile apps, but the iOS ver­sion is de­cent, with some awk­ward lo­gin and us­er in­ter­face is­sues (An­droid is al­so sup­port­ed).

The hard­ware specs are not im­pres­sive, but you do get what you pay for: 300 Mhz pro­ces­sor and on­ly 32 MB of RAM. This meant that trans­fer speeds and over­all per­for­mance were not up to many sim­i­lar de­vices, though the oth­ers do cost quite a bit more. This isn’t a RAID-ca­pa­ble, high-end NAS (there’s on­ly room for one drive af­ter all), but meant for fair­ly light me­dia and file use.

One thing to note: you’ll have to plug in via eth­er­net at first, and for­mat the drive us­ing the web in­ter­face to a pret­ty spe­cif­ic for­mat (ex­FAT). It’s pain­less, and doesn’t take long, but does mean you’ll have to start with an emp­ty drive or lose your in­for­ma­tion.

Al­so, there’s no SSH or Tel­net ac­cess to the drive, not an is­sue for most peo­ple, but still a lim­i­ta­tion. Ba­si­cal­ly, if you’re look­ing for a “starter” or en­try-lev­el NAS, some­thing in­ex­pen­sive to get your files shared lo­cal­ly and with net­work ca­pa­bil­i­ty, this is one of the cheap­er op­tions out there. Folks who want 1080p net­work stream­ing and slick in­ter­faces, RAID sup­port or a ful­ly-fea­tured Bit­Tor­rent client (the in­clud­ed one is pret­ty awk­ward) should look else­where. Avail­able now, on­line, and in stores.

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