Summary and Conclusion
Certainly not every home or small business necessarily needs a NAS device. But as we all become increasingly dependent on our electronic files and need places to store them, share them, back them up, and sometime even access them remotely, a NAS device like the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition starts to make a lot more sense.
The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition does exactly what you would expect a NAS device to do: it stores files for local network access--and it does so at a fairly speedy pace. But the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition also offers a number of features that increase its value and usefulness, such as its RAID 1 array, user-replaceable drives, five-year warranty, built-in iTunes server, and remote access capabilities.
We encountered a few minor annoyances with the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition, however. We are somewhat skeptical of allowing any user to create additional users and public and private folders on the device. We also would have liked to see a way for the backup software to automatically log into the server during backups and not have to depend on Windows to store the password. Lastly, the sluggish response time of the Central Axis Admin Web Page was annoying at times, especially when we were making a lot of changes to the device's configuration.
With an MSRP of $479.99, the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition offers a decent value based on its features and performance. However, we found it available from a number of major online retailers in the $340 to $360 range. At that price range, this moves the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition up to a great value. As a point of comparison, external USB-based 2TB drives sell for around the $230 to $300 range. Once you add in all the functionality and features of the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition, it easily earns the price premium over a stand-alone drive. If you are in the market for a NAS device, the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition is a great option.