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Western Digital ShareSpace NAS

by John Brandon

Massive storage usually equates to a massive footprint on your desk or place of work. The Western Digital ShareSpace is, for its 8TB storage allocation, relatively compact – about the size of a toaster and much smaller than a desktop-size server…

wdfSharespace_4NCPrice: £1,057
Tech Specs:

Memory    8TB
Transfer speed    480Mbps
Dimensions   160.1 x 199.2 x1 96.2mm
Western Digital

8TB of storage allocation in a toaster -sized package. Easy setup. Low power consumption compared to other  network storage

FTP server and USB ports, but remote access requires Windows. Supplied software is Windows-only so other back-up tools will be required

Massive storage usually equates to a massive footprint on your desk or place of work. The Western Digital ShareSpace is, for its 8TB storage allocation, relatively compact – about the size of a toaster and much smaller than a desktop-size server. Powered by a Linux OS, the network-attached device – which you connect to a router using an Ethernet cable – works with Linux computers, although the remote access is Windows-only for now. For those working in digital media markets who need fast and expansive storage, or for an office workgroup that needs a place for everyone’s files, the ShareSpace is an ideal product that’s easy to configure and use, with only a few minor issues.

Setting up the ShareSpace is extremely easy. Once you make the power and Ethernet connections to your router, you can follow a quick browser-based setup. (You will need to know the IP address of the drive, but that is easy to find through your router admin page.) You can configure a few extra features, such email alerts that you receive when the drive space is running low.

The ShareSpace comes in three versions with 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB capacities. You can upgrade the unit with additional drives. The NAS supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5. As a Gigabit Ethernet storage device, the ShareSpace transfers files quickly – as long as you have a matching router that has Gigabit ports. The drive is DLNA-certified so it works for streaming media to a videogames console, media adaptor (such as the Linux-powered Netgear Digital Entertainer Elite we tested it with) or PC. The ShareSpace has three USB ports; when you connect a USB hard disk, you can push a button on the NAS to transfer all data from the connected drive without using a PC – a time-saving feature.

The drive, being a recent release from Western Digital, uses new green power techniques to keep power consumption low – about 33% lower than previous network storage drives. This means you will be more likely to just keep the drive running throughout the day and night, knowing it is not causing excessive damage to the environment. The ShareSpace also uses a more efficient cooling technology to keep the NAS from overheating and from having the fans run constantly. The ShareSpace runs quiet in an office setting, as opposed to the constant whir of a full server or older NAS.

Fast throughput
Transfer speeds were remarkably fast. A 2GB collection of video and music files numbering in the thousands took only 90 seconds to transfer from a Lenovo S12 laptop running Ubuntu 9. The drives are easily swappable on the ShareSpace, and unit comes with a built-in FTP server. Lights on the unit show alerts for drive capacity, but do not show as much detail as products from Seagate and Netgear that have LCD displays and show capacities and any problems with backups.

Backups, which depend greatly on disk access speed as well as network speed, are sometimes the differentiating factor for network-attached devices – especially compared with Windows Home Server devices like those made by Velocity Micro and HP – because there is often not a lot of flexibility. The ShareSpace is fairly limited in this regard because the included software is Windows-only, but Linux users can still perform backups with tools such as Zmanda or Unison. Equally limiting, the Mio remote access software is also Windows-only. That said, the ShareSpace is still a smart network appliance because of the performance, mass storage and smaller-than-normal footprint.

Verdict: 4/5
The drive is small enough to fit on a desk without taking it over and file transfers are speedy thanks to Gigabit Ethernet. On the downside there are cheaper drives that boast a larger capacity although the unit does still offer good value for money.
John Brandon


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    • So is there or isn’t there a reliable way to mount this disc to the computer? I have got 1 as a christmas present(I clearly wished some box which supports linux, but …), and I am not sure whether to exchange it for something else or not. I wanted a reliable device for backups, but also a fast drive, in 1 case……

    • wcv

      I would also like to know this… Will I be able to mount this as an NFS device on a linux box?

    • mesamoo

      Yes, it works w/ linux just fine via NFS. I’ve had some troubles w/ this device when creating disk images w/ FOG, but traditinal file managers and shell commands work.

      You just need to create a mount point, then mount the device from the command line or via /etc/fstab

      Last thing, once you have set up the device w/ a static address you no longer need winders for configuration, everything is done via a web interface

    • Nek

      It is possible to mount with nfs but cp -al does not work and my incremental backup
      is not possible on this device.

    • Ze

      I bought this drive last year. I have a network of about 8-10 linux machines and wanted to mount their home directories to this NAS box. I knew I made the wrong decision when I saw their web-based interface.
      The ssh feature (after a firmware upgrade) was a savior but, only after I had to hack many many files. For security, you need to disable quite a few “features” via command line/file editing. Also, the exports file resets itself to a default file after every reboot, so I had to write my own script for it not to do that. Otherwise I would lose my mounts after a reboot.

      After lots of hacking, everything was running smooth for a year… until 2 weeks ago. I shut down the device for routine upgrades of systems. Then, it wouldn’t turn on. The tech support’s guess: something went out in the circuitry. Luckily I back up everything every day. They’re sending me a replacement. But if you need a NAS box that is reliable and interfaces with linux properly, don’t buy this one. You will end up spending a long time to get it to work the way you want to then, one day, it may go to sleep forever. Linux users, stay away.

      Nek: yes incremental backup is possible, using rsync. I did it. You’ve got to run the proper scripts though…

    • I got what you intend, appreciate it for posting .Woh I am thankful to find this website through google…

    • Ks

      @Ze: can u explain what you hacked to get this crappy NAS working?
      mine rebuild raid on every boot