Review: HP StorageWorks X510 2TB Data Vault

The HP StorageWorks X510 2TB Data Vault is a simple device with a lot to offer. What is the HP StorageWorks X510 2TB Data Vault you say? It's a home server that offers up to 5TB of storage, up to 10 PC clients (unlimited Mac) and endless streaming, storage, and access options.

When I took the conference call to get the background information on the product, they made one thing clear. They reiterated that this product was designed for either the high end home user with a lot of PCs or the small business user and it was supposed to be as easy, if not easier to setup than a new PC. In a simple phrase, they nailed it.

This unit runs Windows Home Server and you get all the benefits that come with that OS. HP has done a great job of building a data backup solution using this platform as it gives you a simple to use product with an easy to navigate interface.

All you do is plug the server into an outlet and run an Ethernet cord to your router. After that is done, you place the CD into your PC (you must install it on a PC first but afterwards you can run it on a Mac) and follow the guide and you're all setup, it's that easy. The entire process from plug in to viewing the main dashboard on my PC was about 20 minutes.

Software Overview/Review:

Once you land on the main page of the software you will find a well designed (but slightly cluttered) interface that is intuitive and straight forward. Starting across the top you have your "Computers & Backup" which lists all the computers that are running the server software. From there you can configure your backup options including time, files and folders and a few other options.

Moving along to "User Accounts" allows you to setup accounts for users to log in to from the web, you can customize their access to folders and allow for read/write or full access; all accounts must be setup with a password.

The shared folder icon allows you to, as expected, share folders across the server. It is pretty self explanatory but does allow for you to set if the folder is duplicated (more on that later).

The "Server Storage" tab tells you about the drives within the system. It gives you info on their capacity and the health of the drives. There is also a pie chart that will tell you how full the system is and when it's time to replace older drives.

Finally there is a "Network Health" indicator that does exactly as the name implies. It will tell you if your network is healthy and let you know if there are conflicts such as incompatible versions of software etc.

Many things can be done with the server besides just backing up data. If you load your music onto the device it can act as an iTunes server and can stream music to other users that log into the server. Photo, video, and file sharing are all a breeze and with user account access you can limit what users can access.

A cool feature that is also included is a video converter. I didn't experiment too much with it but it was able to take an AVI file and convert them directly into a video format that played on my iPod Touch. The process was streamlined and makes converting videos a breeze. The server supports AVI, WMV, VOB, MOV, MP4, M4V and several other containers.

For those concerned about power usage there are options to "sleep" the unit when not in use. If you are only going to use the server to backup your data between 12-3 am you can have the unit sleep until it's needed which is a nice option if you are worried about the extra cost on your utility bill.

The server does have remote access via the web. The software will set you up with an easy to access domain that is accessible from any web enabled device. From the remote log in you are able to do anything you could from the desktop software, provided you set up access for it.

The software plays nicely with OS X and you get all the functionality that you would expect. HP has also released an app in Apple's App store that will allow you to stream content to the iPod or iPhone.

There is no Linux support at this time.


Hardware unit review
:


The unit I reviewed came equipped with an Intel® Pentium® E5200 (2.5GHz), 2 GB PC2-6400, DDR2 ECC 800MHz, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 eSATA port, 1 10/100/1000 RJ45 port, which all comes neatly packaged in a small/mini tower.

The unit runs very quietly and is not noticeable in a room. There are indicator LEDs on the unit that can tell you if the system is running healthily or alert you to any issue when or even before they arise; the LEDs can be adjusted in the desktop software.

The hard drives do not ship in a RAID setup which is somewhat surprising. When I inquired about this in the conference call they stated it was partially a marketing decision. As this is aimed at the high end home users and also the small business owner, they didn't want to complicate the system. There are folders on the drives that are duplicated across the drives for redundancy; this should alleviate most concerns about data backup.

The unit feels solid and is easy to handle. Adding/removing hard drives is a snap with an easy pull out tray that removes the hassle of trying to run cables to multiple drives. The drives are accessed by opening the front panel which reveals the hard drive stack.

The unit runs cool and never felt hot to touch even during backup. I kept the unit in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight but it would probably store well under a desk or in a well-ventilated closet.

Issues/Concerns:

Any review would not be complete without a few issues or concerns. One concern is that there is no video out of any sort on the unit. If the software is unable to find the unit you have no other option that to try a different router or trying to re-run the software. Also the lack of Linux support is frustrating, if you currently have a backup Linux server this product may not be for you.

Conclusion:

The StorageWorks X510 Data Vault is a solid unit that allows for easy backup, file sharing, and has a plethora of options to meet most users' needs. The streamlined software and quick setup will get you going quickly and painlessly. The unit is not perfect, with a lack of Linux support and no video out on the device, this may make some shy away from the unit, but likewise, it's a 'set it and forget it' type of product. For those solely looking for a data backup solution then you may want to look to other cheaper options, but, for those who want a full featured server that allows for easy backup, data sharing, and a simple setup with a moderate amount of customization, this product should be on your list to check out.

Update: The Data Vault warranty has been extended to 3 Years.

Setup was a breeze

Software usability

Set it and forget it

Simple web access

No Linux support

Stay with this story as we will be giving this server away!

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