Let’s talk data, or more specifically data protection, for just a bit. We have three basic levels of protection. They are
- Data Redundancy (RAID), which is a real-time local system protection solution in the event of hard drive failure. Traditional RAID solutions have morphed into various NAS hybrid RAID solutions, Microsoft’s Storage Spaces, and Drive Extender replacements such as Covecube’s StableBit DrivePool.
In any of those data redundancy solutions, they are not a backup, although many use them as if they were.
- On-Site Backups. Using various software/hardware solutions, of which there are more of in the wild than I care to count, one produces a backup to some separate external device for on-site storage. These can be on CDs, DVDs, external HDs, a NAS device, another computer, tape drives, or other similar device.
- Off-Site Backups. Mostly, these are produced in an identical method to On-Site Backups. Once produced, however, the copy is taken off-site and rotated for protection from such a catastrophic event as a fire.
For some, the use of a cloud-based off-site backup may be an alternative to a physical backup being taken off-site. For small amounts, or targeted types, of data this may be a feasible solution. For large amounts of data, this is not particularly feasible, and can be cost prohibitive. This option for larger amounts of data may eventually gain in popularity.
For some, the last method may not be feasible or desirable for various reasons. But for on-site protection in the event of a catastrophic event, there is one alternative, ioSafe products. And for this review, specifically the ioSafe N2.
The ioSafe N2 is a 2-bay NAS device powered by Synology’s DSM, one of the premier Linux-powered NAS operating systems you will find out there.
What is so special about the N2? Well, if you have ever had an opportunity to look inside a fireproof safe,
you may notice some similarities with the ioSafe N2.
Thick wall, fireproof materials, and the solid feel that comes from the associated weight. For the N2, that weight comes in at 28 lbs (12.7 kg) sans the drives. The ioSafe N2 is simply more than a NAS device, it is a fireproof and waterproof, network connected, multi-drive NAS/RAID storage device.
If (when) you were to order one, this is what you will find on your doorstep:
There is no consumer-style/marketing-driven packaging here; ioSafe’s efforts are for providing the most product for the cost to the consumer. Inside this box, you will find a generous amount of cushion to ensure that the N2 arrives safely.
One of the first items you will see once the NAS device is removed is a small pamphlet
which provides you the information needed to register the N2. While the benefits of registration may seem trivial for most products, you *will* want to register the N2. Doing so activates your account so that in the event of an actual disaster, you will be covered by ioSafe with their Data Recovery Service.
Every ioSafe product comes with complimentary one time use data and hardware recovery support.
With the ioSafe DRS you get to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is protected by the best data recovery service in the industry.
ioSafe is simply in business to protect your data. If something bad happens, ioSafe will pay to ship the unit back to their facility, extract the data off the drives, and ship you back a replacement unit for the first event (and hopefully only event!). There are deductibles for any events after the first; full details can be found on the ioSafe website.
Getting back specifically to the N2, the unit comes in a nice black finish with a definite industrial look to it. Along the lower front you will find
- a Power button
- a Copy button
- a USB 2.0 port
- an SD card slot
- System LED indicators
On the back of the unit, you will find
- a System fan
- an Ethernet port
- two USB 3.0 ports
- a RESET button
- a Power port
Also included with the shipment is a box
containing everything else you need to get up and running including:
- Ethernet cable
- Power brick
- Hex tool and storage magnet
- Installation CD
plus some miscellaneous paperwork.
You will need the hex took to get inside the unit to add hard drives. Take careful note of the safe-like nature of the design and materials used in the N2.
Once done with the internals, use the magnet to store the tool on the back of the unit
and locate the unit for connection to your Local Area Network.