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Kool Tools: Maxtor Shared Storage drives

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 04
Column Tag: KoolTools

Kool Tools: Maxtor Shared Storage drives

On cool products, acquired companies, support worries

This review was initially supposed to be about the Maxtor Shared Storage Plus NAS unit. However, shortly before publication, two things happened. One, the Share Storage Plus was superceded by the Share Storage II, and two, Seagate Technology's acquisition of Maxtor was finalized. What to do? Well, we took a look at the new Shared Storage II, and did some investigating to determine what buying one of these units from an essentially defunct company might mean for you.

Product

The members of the Maxtor Shared Storage family of drives we reviewed are all pretty much the same. Small, single hard drive NAS units that plug into your network, and allow you to store, back up and share files, among other nifty features. They come in capacities from 200 GB to 500 GB. The Shared Storage and Storage Plus have a Quick Setup Guide application for getting you off the ground, and all the units have a web interface for setting and managing all the features of the units.


Figure 1: The Maxtor Shared Storage Plus, which was superceded by the Shared Storage II. You can still find the Plus unit out there, though, and for a pretty good discount.

The feature sets are similar across the line. All of them are capable of broadcasting both private, password protected and publicly accessible shares, acting as a media server, as well as automating back up operations of user selected folders. An additional USB 2.0 drive can be plugged in to increase capacity, as well as a USB printer for setting up network printer sharing through the Shared Storage device (there are two USB ports on the back of the devices, so you can do both). It all works pretty much as you'd expect. The interface is not the prettiest thing, but it is functional, and is not difficult to use.


Figure 2: The default set up of a shared drive configured for personal public access, as seen from the Finder.

Warranties and support

So, you decide to take the plunge and get the Maxtor unit. But, what about warranty and support? Now that Maxtor is a Seagate Technology company, figuring out where to go could be difficult. However, Seagate makes it very clear in a FAQ on their site where you need to go. All support as of December, 2006 goes through Seagate. Your warranty on the Maxtor product is the same as it would have been had Maxtor not been acquired. The short answer is you are covered, just go to Seagate's web site if you need help.

Last Word

So, to take the plunge or not? We would recommend any of the Shared Storage products for a small home office setting, or a small work group under five users. They will do quite nicely. When deciding what capacity to get, go as big as you can, you'll always need more space down the road. We didn't review, and wouldn't necessarily recommend going up to the 1 TB, two disk NAS unit in the Shared Storage family, or any other brand for that matter. If you are getting to the point of needing that much network storage space, or have a critical need of a secure back up and storage with RAID capable drives, it's time to move up to a more robust, higher end unit, no matter the office or work group size. Next month we'll cover one such device we think you'll find useful.

 
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