Sentinel DX4000 Small Office Storage Server

Set-Up, File System Tests and Conclusions

In order to test the Sentinel flexibility we firstly set to work two test systems. First test system consisted of an Intel Dual Xeon now several years old but still extremely powerful within its own rights as many of these systems had been supplied out from the Tier 1 and System Integrators .   The secondary test unit, a modern Intel Core i7 supported by the new X79 chipset.   The final configurations of the test systems are as follows;

 

Test System 1

Test System 2

CPU

2 X 3.0GHz Intel® Xeon® E5472,
12MB L2 Cache, 1600FSB

1 X 3.3GHz Intel® Core™ i7-3960X processor Extreme Edition

Mainboard

Supermicro’s X7DWA-N

Intel® X79 Express Chipset featuring Intel® Desktop Board DX79SI

Memory

4 X 2GB Kingston DDR2
800MHz FBDIMMS (at 1600MHz)
Memory Modules

4 X 4 x 4GB DDR3 (16GB Total) 1600MHz Unbuffered NON ECC DIMMS Memory Modules

Test System Hard Drives

2 X WD 1TB (WD1002FAX)

1 X 300GB Intel 310 Series SSD

Raid Config

Raid 1 Config on Intel ESB
Onboard Raid  Controller

Stand Alone Drive on the Intel X79 Chipset

Operating System

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-bit SP2

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit 

Power Consumption

This is an all too important question asked to day by consumers especially those wishing to maintain that all important low green footprint (and save monies on their electrical bill).

On the Sentinel booting up and initialising we found the unit to peak at a mere 35 Watts, once the Sentinel was online and sitting at idle it dropped to 28 Watts.  Actually quite an achievement in today’s power hungry units.   Transferring the large 19.4GB Test file saw the Sentinel creep up slowly and peak at just 30 Watts during write transfer.  Whilst deleting the same 19.4GB test file from the Sentinel unit, power consumption crept up to only 32 Watts.  Therefore within this section Western Digital has set out to achieve what it wished for, a quiet unit that draws the minimalistic of power.

 

File Transfer Test

It is without a doubt that files today are getting bigger especially the game fixes weighing in at several GB’s we are seeing constantly on the rise. Though graphic card drivers files which a few years ago weighed in a several MB’s now wing in at 150 – 190MBs even more in some places. It therefore goes to show that we are a community of “just getting bigger”. Even standard drawings viewsets weigh in now at a massive 10GB’s plus.   To compensate we have now increased our test files which not only stretch standalone drives but these would be reasonable files for a small business unit to back up daily from various systems.

Many ask how fast are the IOPS, what’s the transfer speed in MB/s.  However more often than not, for the less technically minded end user they just need to know – how long will it take me at the end of the day to back up my systems.   Therefore taking into account the latter question we completed the following tests.

File Test of 19.4GB of Data (3770 Folders Containing 63,277 Files)

Test System 1 to WD Sentinel Box

34 Minutes and 25 Seconds

WD Sentinel Box to Test System 1

29 Minutes and 13 Seconds

 

 

Test System 2 to WD Sentinel Box

16 Minutes and 39 Seconds

WD Sentinel Box to Test System 2

13 Minutes and 52 Seconds

 

 

File Test of 64.4GB of Data (4888 Folders Containing 73,288 Files)

Test System 1 to WD Sentinel Box

59 Minutes and 35 Seconds

WD Sentinel Box to Test System 1

51 Minutes and 21 Seconds

 

 

Test System 2 to WD Sentinel Box

28 Minutes and 45 Seconds

WD Sentinel Box to Test System 2

24 Minutes and 19 Seconds 

As always the results have been obtained above are from the first run.   We ran the tests above 3 times over for each test and the results almost were within a few seconds of each run.  Therefore this is an impressive piece of equipment. 

Conclusions.

Well what of it, has it performed as well as we thought.   Simply put – yes.   Whatever way you look at this piece of kit it certainly does the business and within today’s society this is what really matters.   Simple enough for anyone to set-up and deploy.  Prior to going to print the WD Sentinel completed an automatic firmware update – how much improvement this has made we will have to reinvestigate.  However, as stipulated within, it was extremely simple with the WD Sentinel telling you from the LED panel that a fix was in place and following all the onscreen messages successfully completed all the required fixes.

Heavens forbid if a disc ever fails, then in Raid 1 it’s a simple enough job to open it up remove the duff disc and insert a new one within minutes. Even though in most situations with NAS boxes you don’t need to mess around with removing or installing hard drives, the spring loaded drive bays on the Sentinel are an exceptional idea.  They completely remove the requirement for unscrewing drives from trays if you are adding a new drive or replacing a bad one. It’s a case of flipping the tab, slide the old drive out, insert the new drive; and the operation has been simply completed.   Boot up, the software deploys and rebuilds the array back to Raid 1, this can take some time to complete.  Therefore remote users to the Sentinel would have to wait some time before its back online.    In this instance we would strongly advise end-users to deploy some form of UPS with recent power outages.   To reiterate on rebuilds of the arrays it does take time.

Apart from the 2 Test units we had on trial in situ we did test out two laptops remotely on the unit from different locations and once more the simplicity of the connectivity software made this a breeze.  Once into the Sentinel the test files we used could be easily worked upon and as an example if needs be printed out in the office for the secretary to get to work on them the next day.

The noise levels produced from the unit.  From post we do hear a distinctive turn from the drive extraction fan, though once up and running, from earshot and the Sentinel sitting right beside us throughout the tests – nothing at all. The sleek blue neon light flashing its way up and down showed the unit was at work. For those of you who like this cool blue affect it’s pretty smart, but for some they might find it a little distracting.

Compatibility and pricing, WD Sentinel is certified to be compatible with a variety of Operating Systems (OS) including Windows XP, Windows Vista®, and Windows 7. In addition, WD Sentinel is compatible with Mac OS X® Leopard® and Snow Leopard® for file sharing among Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux operating systems.   Therefore nearly everyone has been taken into due consideration here.   Actual pricing and availability.   The Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 small office storage server is available now from launch partners, Misco UK Ltd and Insight UK. MSRP is £599 for 4 TB and £899 for the 8 TB.

The WD Sentinel does offer that expandability too, with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports. Therefore those wishing to back up the backup drive have several options open to them.   On the warranty front there are several levels of support offered out to the end users

Standard Support.  Free 30-day technical support, from the time of your first call.   Available within the standard 3-year limited warranty period.    Standard RMA services1    Advance replacement options1 .   Rapid hardware replacement for additional cost1
WD Guardian Express.   Includes the standard support .   Hardware support and express parts replacement for the duration of the plan2 .   Choose either a 1-year or a 3-year plan with an option to renew.    Must be activated within 30 days from the date of purchase.
WD Guardian Pro   Business hours technical support for the duration of the plan3.   Hardware support and express parts replacement  for the duration of the plan2.   Priority access to technical support through a dedicated support line.   Choose either a 1-year or a 3-year plan with an option to renew.    Must be activated within 30 days from the date of purchase.

1For more information about Standard RMA Services, Advance Replacement Options and Rapid Hardware Replacement, as well as turnaround times for your region, please visit http://support.wdc.com
2WD pays for shipping to customer site. Customer pays shipping of the old part back to WD. Next business day parts replacement is only available in North America, Monday through Friday, when calls are placed before noon Pacific Time. Turnaround time may vary based on time of call and the region.
3To obtain support phone numbers and hours in your region, please visit http://support.wdc.com.
4Visit www.WDGuardian.com for complete warranty and extended warranty details.

These additional levels of support should be looked at by customers looking to purchase the Sentinel NAS box as they are relatively inexpensive and give the purchaser more peace of mind.

The supplied handbook is very well thought out and anyone can pick up the manual and successfully deploy the Sentinel following the step by step process laid out.    On a very worthy side note, both the Ethernet and Power connections are designed with dependability to the fore over performance, where each supports fail-over modes.   A worthy feature indeed.  If one side ceases functionality, the unit stays up fully operational.   On the software front, the Sentinel supports Active Directory, DLNA media serving, and will backup and restore up to the possible 25 connected devices.

Summarising the Sentinels flexibility

Ø  Performs a daily server based backup for up to 25 client computers – no user intervention no client software
Ø  Allows complete remote access to the device – remote employees
Ø  Monitor’s your Small office network and reports Alerts for your Client computers

Overall the WD Sentinel sets out to do what Western Digital has claimed it will do, a rare commodity in today’s volatile market and shows just how much work has been completed in the labs before getting this product to market.    Aimed squarely at the Small Business and SoHo users with a whole host of user friendly features – after all that’s what is required.   It’s fast, adaptable in many different scenario’s which are too many to name.  It’s easily usable by almost everyone and most importantly for those who look for office desktop aesthetics’ – unobtrusive and looks very stylish completing the part on any office environment.

The Sentinel series from Western Digital has now become a very important threat to the NAS market that currently has been dominated by a few key manufacturers.   It’s been correctly priced, has flexibility to upgrade and the performance to match.    Therefore the race is on to gain that all important market share with the new kid on the block from Western Digital.

www.3dprofessor.org award for Western Digitals Sentinel DX4000 Small Office Storage Server

www.3dprofessor.org award for Western Digitals Sentinel DX4000 Small Office Storage Server

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