You'd be hard pressed these days to find a small business or even family home that doesn't have at least a few computers being used by a number of different local users. This multi-user scenario poses at least a couple of potential complications for managing all the files and data that gets created, stored, and used by the different users: How do you share files with the other users on your network and how do you seamlessly back up files that are stored on the different user systems?
Network-attached storage (NAS) is the answer, and the new Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition Dual-drive network storage server aims to provide simple solutions to these and other file-sharing and backup challenges--as well as a number of useful features that serve the needs of small business and home users. In fact, home users should not be put off by the "Business Edition" moniker; this NAS device is well-suited for homes with multiple, networked users. In our opinion, the Business Edition part of the product name was added on so as to differentiate this NAS device from Maxtor's previous iteration of the device, simply called the Maxtor Central Axis, which is still widely available.
The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition is actually more than just an updated version of the Maxtor Central Axis. The previous version featured 1TB of storage capacity, while the new version supports up to 2TB. The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition includes two user-swappable, 1TB hard drives and the device supports RAID 0 and RAID 1. By default, the device comes pre-configured to RAID 1, which provides 1TB of total storage capacity. RAID 1 is a mirrored array where identical information is written to both drives simultaneously. Should one drive fail, the data is still safe on the other drive. Note that this is data redundancy, which is a sort of a data failsafe, but it should not be considered data backup--redundancy and backup are two different things--users should still be backing up their data, which the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition also lets you do. The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition also features a redesigned, larger chassis than its predecessor, and includes two USB 2.0 ports (as opposed to the single USB port on the previous version) for additional storage, removable backups, or even networking a printer.
Maximum number of networked users:
(2) 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA-II
RAID 0 (2TB) or RAID 1 (1TB)
10/100/1000 RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, (2) USB 2.0 ports, UPnP AV 1.0
Microsoft Windows XP or Vista; Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later
Maxtor Central Axis storage server, Maxtor Installation CD (Windows and Mac software), Quick Start Guide, Maxtor Manager Software, Ethernet Cable, AC Power Adapter, User Guide on CD
In addition to the small 12-page Quick Start Guide, the Installation CD also includes very detailed and extensive electronic guides for Windows users, Mac users, Admins, and for the free Seagate Global Access service (more on this later). The Maxtor Manager software is nearly identical in functionality for both the Windows and Mac versions. We focus on the Windows version in this article, but Mac users should expect the same features.