2nd December 2010, 07:51 PM
2nd December 2010, 11:38 PM
Re: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Net Review
Unlike most NAS devices, the FreeAgent GoFlex Net is not a plug and play unit that you can simply plug in your hard drives, connect the Ethernet cable to your network and start sharing your data. First thing you have to do is to activate the device on the PogoPlug interface on Seagateís website. You will need an Internet connection with DHCP enabled. To activate the GoFlex Net, you have to browse to www.seagate.com/ActivateMyGoFlexNet using your favourite browser and follow the instructions there to setup your account and activate the device. When this is done, the GoFlex Net ready to be used as a NAS or a PogoPlug Server.
Using the PogoPlug interface to configure the device is quite intuitive and most of the menu choices are self explanatory. There is also an option to switch on Windows File Sharing, thus enabling the NAS feature of the device. Note that the current firmware does not allow putting in static IP for the device. According to the Seagate forums, there will be a firmware later that will enable this. For now, you will need to have DHCP.
The best thing about this device is the ability to stream and share files over the Internet just like what Dropbox does, just that the storage is effectively unlimited. There is also an app for iphone to connect to the PogoPlug. Therefore, you can literally be anywhere in the world and PogoPlug will allow you to view your pictures, video, music, PDF files or other documents on your notebook, PC or even iphone. Setting up for the sharing is automatic once you activate the device on the PogoPlug website. There is no need to mess with firewall port forwarding or other network configurations.
I tested accessing the folders from the iPhone app and Iím glad to say that it works well like dropbox. Pictures are loaded pretty fast and streaming the videos are acceptable. Another good thing about PogoPlug is that you can access the configuration of from anywhere with Internet connection and enable sharing right on the spot anywhere, everywhere as and when you need it.
For performance testing, I mapped the GoFlex Net as a drive on Windows 7 and ran the Intel NAS performance toolkit to test the transfer speed of the GoFlex Net. The benchmarks included in the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit are very multimedia oriented. As a result, these tests reflect the main use of a NAS unit in a home network. Alongside these multimedia benchmarks, there are also traditional tasks available, like working with many same files and copying entire directories to be examined. The application benchmarks are as follows:
HD Video Playback, 2x HD Video Playback, 3x HD Video Playback, 4x HD Video Playback
These benchmarks examine the behavior of the NAS unit while (simultaneously) playing one or more HD video files at 720p using Windows Media Player. Intel gives a percentage rate for the sequential reading of data in these tests, which lies at 99.5% for the HD Video Playback Test. With 2x HD Video Playback, it lies at 18.1%. The result is 6.6% with 3x HD Video Playback and 9.6 % with 4x HD Video Playback.
HD Video Record
The HD Video Record test writes an HD Video file in 720p format to the NAS unit. This test is made of up of mostly sequentially transferred data.
HD Video Playback & Recording
HD Video Play & Record examines the behavior of the NAS unit when simultaneously reading and writing an HD Video file in the 720p format. The sequentially-transferred data in this test is approximately 18% of the test.
This benchmark is made up of 95% write operations to the NAS unit. This simulates the creation of files on the NAS unit such as is the case when, for example, using video editing programs.
The Office Productivity test is roughly evenly distributed between read and write operations using 607 small files consisting of 1KB and 4KB reads and mostly 1KB writes.
File Copy To NAS / File Copy From NAS
The File Copy tests copies a 1.15GB file to and from the NAS unit. This will determine the the performance for large file copy.
Directory Copy From NAS / Directory Copy To NAS
The Directory Copy test copies a directory of 2833 smalls files totalling 240MB to and from the NAS unit.
The Photo Album test simulates the viewing of a total of 169 photographs with a file size of roughly 6MB each.
For comparison, I have included in test data from my own Windows Storage Server and the GoFlex 500GB drive on USB2.0 connection below.
As you can see from the results above, the performance is mediocre at best. The most imporatant thing is that the tests confirms that perform HD video streaming at up to 30MB/s. Canít expect too much from such a small device in terms of performance.
In conclusion, the FreeAgent GoFlex Net is a very innovative device that serves certain needs. If you are looking for mid performance or higher NAS with data protection, this is not for you. It works great as a poor manís NAS. Although the performance over Gigabit Ethernet is not great, it more then makes up to this shortfall by the PogoPlug software. In this age of mobility, we want access to our data from anywhere immediately. Pair the GoFlex Net with a decent speed Internet connection, Load it up with 2 large capacity HDD and you have a extremely cheap cloud storage solution.