Outside of typical PC components like CPUs, motherboards, and video cards, it seems like the fastest growing segment of PC-related consumer electronics is the network attached storage (NAS) field. NAS units are often found performing the duty of their namesake; storing files that are accessible via either a LAN or WAN network connection. While most dedicated NAS devices use some form of customized Linux distribution for their operating system, Thecus has teamed up with Microsoft to deliver the Windows Storage Server line of NAS units that run either the Standard or Essentials version of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, depending of the target market for the unit. This partnering of the two companies has brought the hardware side of Thecus together with the software side of Microsoft.
The W2000+ is a 2-bay NAS designed with small businesses in mind, as is evident with the inclusion of the Windows Server OS. Most NAS units are capable of connecting to a small business or even corporate network, but the W2000+ is designed to take on a more authoritative role in the network. Active Directory Domain Services provides a solid base for account management among other things, and the additional features of the included OS allow for a fully functioning server. While we typically look at devices aimed at consumers, it never hurts to get your feet wet in other areas such as the small business arena. While the W2000+ probably won’t be able to replace an established server environment, it can provide a great starting block to work from when moving from a pieced-together environment to a more organized and capable structure.
Does the move from a Linux-based appliance NAS to a “mini-server” like the W2000+ fit the bill for you? Read on to see how the Thecus W2000+ performs.
While there are many great features that can be found on the Thecus W2000+, the two that really stood out to us were the inclusion of an SSD, and a pre-installed copy of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials. While most NAS units feature a Linux-based OS that is installed on some form of local storage, Thecus upped their game and provided fast storage and a premier operating system.
- Enhanced Boot Drive: Embedded SSD: Thecus has gone above and beyond by providing an SSD as the installation base for the pre-installed Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials. While the included SSD isn’t a high-end model, it does provide a fast base to build from. This provided storage not only allows you to utilize the full capacity of your installed drives, it also adds quite a bit of value to the W2000+.
- Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials: Included, and pre-installed, with the W2000+ is a fully-licensed copy of Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials. This latest version of Storage server is designed for small businesses that want to take advantage of cloud services with a NAS appliance. Thecus has a great intro page with a ton of information here: Thecus Windows Storage Server
Below is the specifications table as provided by Thecus. Of note is the System Memory section, which notates both a 2GB W2000 model, as well as a 4GB W2000+ model. Both of these devices are identical, other than the W2000+, which we are reviewing, having an extra 2GB of system memory. While 4GB of memory isn’t anything to get excited about, it did seem to provide us with plenty of room to work with in our testing, and is the maximum that the included licensing for the Essentials version of the OS supports.
|Processor||Intel® Atom™ Processor (2.13GHz, Dual-Core)|
|System Memory||2GB DDR3(W2000)/ 4GB DDR3(W2000+)|
|LAN Interface||RJ-45×2: 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
|USB Interface||USB 2.0 host port x2 (back x2)|
|HDMI Output||HDMI port (back x1)|
|VGA Output||VGA port (back x1)|
|Disk Interface||2 x SATA for internal
1 x eSATA for external
|Power Supply||External power adapter|
|PCI-e x1 Slot||1 (1 lane)|
|Thermal/Fan control||Thermal sensor on processor temperature
System FAN speed controlled by temperature
|System Clock||Battery-backed up system clock|
|Power Management||Auto power on after shutdown due to power loss|
|Buzzer||Adjustable frequency alarm|
|Environment||Temperature: 5°C to 40°C
Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)
|Chassis||Tower Metal Chassis|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||163.8 x 115.4 x 217.6 (mm)|
2. Software Functions
|File System||Native NTFS support, FAT32, EFS, ReFS|
|Disk Management||Data Deduplication
1.Create pools of storage using industry standard hard disk drives
2.Enables data redundancy with mirroring or parity
NTFS Online Scan and Repair (CHKDSK) intelligently repairs unexpected corrupted data.
|Network Support||Protocols : IPV6 / Multiple NICs / DNS / DHCP & WINS
Support for multiple subnets / Multiple IP addresses
|File and Block Storage Protocol Support||File : SMB 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 / NFSv2, NFSv3, NFSv4.1
Block : iSCSI Target Server, iSCSI , SATA, and USB
|Directory Services / User Management||Seamless Active Directory integration with any existing Active Directory Domain
Active Directory for authentication and authorization
Active Directory (Domain Controller, Certificate Services, Federation Services, Rights Management)
|Windows Client integration via Launch Pad||Agent deployed on client, one click connection to NAS appliance.|
|Performance||NIC Teaming – aggregates bandwidth of multiple NICs
SMB Multi-channel- multiple transport sessions in a single NIC
|Secure Remote Access||Secure Remote Desktop Services with Encryption and Authentication
Remote file access via FTP/FTPS
Remote Web Access via HTTPS
|Licensing||Client support for up to 50 users or devices
No Windows Server Client Access Licenses ( CALs) required
Single processor socket / Up to 4 GB of memory
|Printer Server Support / FAX and Scan||Full Windows print services support – Local printer connection
Print Server & Document Services (Distributed Scan Server)
|Health Reporting / Notifications||Full Windows print services support – Local printer connection
Integrated health monitoring and reporting
Send health report to chosen email address on a customizable schedule
|Media Pack for Streaming||Stream music, videos, and pictures with the included Windows Server Essentials Media Pack.|