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May 11, 1998 (Vol. 20, Issue 19)

Plug-and-play Net Raptor quickly boosts disk space


By Victor R. Garza

When most IS managers hear about the increasing storage needs of their remote offices, they dread the management headaches and the expense of deploying yet another or upgrading their current servers. Net Raptor DCS-9072, from JES, provides a unique, although costly, cure for their woes: It is a fully configured, high-speed storage box that is made for file access, with a Java-based console for remote management. Although the Net Raptor is extremely pricey compared to simply upgrading server hardware, I liked its remote management console, its capability to handle the heterogeneous file needs of a workgroup, and its portability.

The Net Raptor is a true network appliance. It is a self-contained server optimized for file system use. A stand-alone unit, it is similar to new printers that have their own imbedded servers and print queues.

The entire system is about half the size of a desktop PC, and uses Ultra Wide SCSI drives. The Net Raptor also offers Java-based management tools. By contrast, Meridian Data's Snap Server uses IDE. However, the Net Raptor sells for considerably more than Meridian Data's product, which has a list price of $1,795 for a 12GB unit.

The Net Raptor contains its own OS, I960 processor, a 10/100 network interface port, a SCSI drive and an imbedded Web server.

After working through some minor setup problems, I was pleased to see that the box was extremely stable and robust. I tested the Net Raptor primarily with NT clients via Server Message Block (SMB), but I discovered it also can simultaneously support Unix clients via Network File System.

The initial setup took place via a terminal session, and I handled the file and user management via my browser console. By running the Raptor's embedded management software, I managed the formatting and partitioning of disks, SMB or NFS exports, user's rights, security, home directories, and file-size allocation. I especially liked the Auto Configuration feature, which created a new user, home directory, and password combination whenever a first-time user connected to the box -- all without any previous interaction from the administrator.

Although the Net Raptor is relatively expensive when compared to its closest competitor, or to the cost of adding drives to an existing server, I liked the simplicity and completeness of its remote management console and its robust OS. If you like the idea of dropping a fully functional box anywhere in a network and having it up quickly, then take a look at Net Raptor.

Victor R. Garza is a technology analyst at the InfoWorld Test Center. He can be reached at victor_garza@infoworld.com.


THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD

JES Net Raptor DCS-9072

JES' network-attached storage device is well-suited for an enterprise workgroup or network subnet as a quick fix to storage problems.

Pros: Simultaneous support for Unix and Windows clients ; Java-based browser management console.

Cons: Pricey; minor setup problems.

JES Hardware Solutions, Miami, (800) 482-1866, (305) 597-3980; fax: (305) 594-4443; mail@jescdrom.com; http://www.jessolutions.com.

Price: $2,646 for 32MB of RAM and a 9GB Ultra Wide SCSI configuration.

Platforms: Windows NT, Windows 95 clients; Unix clients running native NFS.

Copyright (c) 1998 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.



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