Getting Started with Storage Server

Getting Started with Storage Server

For my testing I installed two Western Digital Red 4TB drives which had previously been formatted in another system. The drives are immediately available to the W2000 as Windows Server mounts them normally. This is another departure from how a NAS will typically operate, as new drive installations with a standard NAS require a destructive partitioning before the embedded OS can access them. While there are many options for formatting and sharing storage in Server (including the new ReFS), I simply created a mirrored virtual storage pool from the two drives and formatted it using NTFS.

As many uses as some NAS units have, the primary function is still network sharing of the drives installed. This is handled extremely well with the W2000 and Windows Server Essentials, once a small utility is downloaded and installed on your system. The Server Connector software does just that, and Microsoft's page explains the process.

Getting started is as simple as opening a browser on the PC you'd like to attach to your Storage Server and navigating to http://<servername>/Connect (substituting your server's name of course). I used "StorageServer", and upon visiting the page for the first time you'll see that a link is provided to download the software.

Once the computer is configured and Windows restarts, you’ll be prompted to log in to your new domain. As to the username and password, the credentials can be the same as your login to the server, but this isn’t recommended. Of course there is full control of users and access available to you as the server administrator on the W2000 itself, but I won't go that deep here.

The "Launchpad" in Windows provides access to key features from the server

Your computer's backup is significantly enhanced by default once the system is configured. File history is enabled and your system will start backing up to the server automatically.

The backup process working in the background

As to storage, this is configured on the server. I shared my virtual array to the network and this is accessible to any PC on the network, just as it would be with a standard NAS. And as this is a simple SMB share I was able to easily connect to it from a Mac as well, with no additional software needed (although Microsoft makes a Mac version of the Connector software available).

These steps do not even come close to scratching the surface of what the W2000 can do, and represent only a high-level overview of only a couple of aspects of a shared network using Storage Server. Working knowledge of Server 2012 (or just the desire to learn) will provide a staggering amount of additional functionality.

Next we'll take a quick look at overall performance and I'll cover my final thoughts about Storage Server and the Thecus W2000.

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