Configuration and Setup
Despite the Thecus N7700's relative complexity and powerful hardware configuration, setting it up is actually quite easy, thanks to simple to use drive trays and a well laid-out array of menus in its browser-based configurator.
Installing internal drives in the Thecus N7700 requires two steps. First, the drives must be mounted to a tray using four screws. And then the tray gets inserted into the N7700 from the front. The trays just slide right into and out of the unit, but they can be locked into place using an included key.
For the purposes of this article, we procured seven Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green hard drives--one of them is pictured here, but we assure your its six other siblings were installed (and continue to be installed) in the device as well.
With the drives in place, the only other pieces of hardware that need to be connected are an Ethernet cable and the power cable. We connected the N7700 to a D-Link Gigabit switch as part of our internal network, fired the machine up, and then it was time to configure the device's software for operation.
The Thecus Setup Wizard
Savvy users can jump right into the Thecus N7700's browser-based configuration if they so choose, but Thecus includes a simple setup wizard with the N7700 to get you started. Once the N7700 is powered up and connected to a network, running the setup wizard will discover the device and give users the ability to alter a few basic options, like the IP address, DHCP configuration, etc.
Once done with the setup wizard, however, user's will need to click the "Start Browser" button to connect to the more comprehensive configurator.
All of the different menu options are shown in the screenshots above. The web-interface is broken down into several sections; Status, Storage, Network, Accounts, System and Language. The Status menu provides basic information on the system. The System sub-menu offers details on CPU Load, Fan Status, Up Time and status of the various system services. The Info sub-menu provides the option to alter the System Description while the Printers sub-menu provides USB printer make, model and status as well as the option to clear the queue and restart the printer service. The server only supports a few printer models at this time, however, this will improve with future firmware updates.
The UPS sub-menu provides settings that work in conjunction with a broad range of supported UPS systems to trigger a graceful system shutdown in the event of a power failure. The Power Mgmt sub-menu offers the ability to schedule server shutdown and restart on a 7-day calendar. This is useful for conserving energy usage when it's known that the system will not be used. The About sub-menu provides details on the system Make, Product No. Firmware version and Up Time.
The Storage section offers a host of configuration options related to storage and data management. Under the Disks sub-menu the system reports on what drives are installed, their Capacity, Model, Firmware version and Status as well as offering control over Disk Power Management. It's here that RAID arrays can be configured and shared volumes be created, etc. More on that on the next page...