|Manufacturer: HP||Model: StorageWorks X310 Data Vault|
|Price: $519(US)||Web: hp.com/go/datavault|
HP entered the Windows Home Server market more than three years ago with the introduction of the MediaSmart Server, a consumer oriented product. Last year, HP released a new Windows Home Server geared specifically towards the small business called the HP StorageWorks X510 Data Vault. The X510 Data Vault offered high-performance, media rich feature-sets such as a built-in video converter, media collector, remote media streaming and extended warranty. Now, HP announced a new member to the StorageWorks Data Vault family called the HP StorageWorks X310 Data Vault.
The HP StorageWorks X300 Data Vault provides a simple and inexpensive solution for a small business to store, secure and share data for under $600. Based on Microsoft Windows Home Server, it provides a user-friendly interface with easy installation and management. The HP X300 Data Vault provides you with automated backup for up to ten PC clients and Macs on the network while providing additional protection features like folder duplication and online backup. The X300 offers both local and remote file sharing via a custom URL which is accessible from any web browser. It also comes with three empty bays for internal storage expansion and also offers external USB and eSATA ports for additional external expansion. Store it, secure it, share it.
Just last week, we received an evaluation unit courtesy of HP (from Fort Collins, Colorado) and we have spent some time looking over the new server and comparing it to its big brother, the Data Vault X510 as well as it’s close relative, the MediaSmart Server.
All right — let’s start with a brief disclaimer: Although the Data Vault is a review model provided by HP, our review is based on honest observations and opinions.
First Impressions, Hands-on
There is not much to say about the packaging other than the fact that I was extremely impressed that HP used a minimal packaging approach. Kudos, Greenpeace would love HP!
Pretty much, the only ink on the box was “HP Data Vault” and packed safely inside, the X310 server itself, a setup poster, and Ethernet and power cable, three optical discs Client Software installation, PC Restore and Server Recovery all labeled with “Version 3.1″.
When I first pulled this device out of the box, I thought to myself – Wow. It’s not like my MediaSmart Server but yet the overall appearance change is quite minimal. Although HP has evolved the product line further and integrated subtle changes and improvements with every new release, the X310 appears to be the most drastic chassis change to-date. This is when compared against its big brother the X510 and the MediaSmart Server series, the X310 features a noticeable new chassis finish and I am happy to say that this new matte black finish is absolutely gorgeous.
The X310 LED configuration moved to the Front Panel for a much cleaner presentation and the chassis feels surprisingly solid even though they have moved away from using a metal mesh to more of a high grade plastic with sufficient ventilation holes.The revised LED configuration on the front panel (from left to right): Power, Network, Home Server Health and Drives 1 to 4. The front USB 2.0 port makes it easy to attach external hard drives or flash drives.
A tiny recessed button is accessible using only a paperclip to prevent accidently activation used to imitate a system reset/recovery.
The X310 has the same amount of peripheral inputs, that is 1x USB in the front and 3x USB, 1x eSATA, 1x Ethernet in the rear.The eSATA port on the rear of the X310 is port multiplier aware, meaning that it allows one to connect multiple SATA devices to a single SATA host port (think drive enclosures).
|Ideal For||Small businesses with 10 or fewer PC clients and Macs who need to a simple solution to safely store and share data on a limited IT budget|
|Drive Description||(4) LFF SATA|
|Supported Processor||(1) Intel® Atom™ (1.6GHz, 2 core)|
|Processor Cache||1 MB|
|Memory||2 GB PC2-6400 Unbuffered DDR2 800MHz|
|Maximum Capacity||1 TB Starting
7 TB Maximum
17 TB Maximum, with external storage options
|Storage Expansion Options||Internal: Standard, off the shelf, 3.5-inch SATA Drives
External: USB External Hard Disk Drive or eSATA Hard Disk Drive
|Network Controller||10/100/1000 (Gigabit) RJ45 Ethernet|
|Expansion Slots||(3) Empty internal SATA hard drive bays
(4) External USB 2.0 ports
(1) External eSATA port
|Supported Operating Systems||Microsoft Windows® 7 (32 and 64-bit)*
Microsoft Windows® Vista (32 and 64-bit)
XP Home (SP2) or XP Professional (SP2)
Media Center Edition 2004 (SP2) or later
Mac® OS X
* Requires Microsoft Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 Installation
** Automatic backup, file sharing and remote access capabilities vary based on the PC Operating System
|Management||HP Control Center
Microsoft Windows Home Server Console
|Number of Users||1 – 10 PC Clients
Unlimited Mac Clients
Dependent on available space
HP provided an easy to follow setup poster to guide users through the initial setup process. Just like with our X510 review, the initial setup is simplicity itself. It basically consisted of plugging the X310 into a DHCP-enabled network and the power lead into an AC power outlet.
Installing the software is the same as any other Windows Home Server, because WHS rigs are “headless” – meaning the typical way to administrate these servers is by connecting to them via client software called the Windows Home Server Connector. These client connectors provide visibility into the WHS box itself, as well as handling such chores as scheduling backups or managing other home server add-in’s.
The Windows Home Server Connector software can be found on the accompanied Software Client Installation disc. Pop the CD into your client computer’s CD/DVD drive and wait for the Autorun window to appear. You simply install the software on one of your network connected client computers and just follow the installation wizard, here are step by step screenshots of that procedure:
Configuring the X310 Data Vault
Proceeding with our setup, the Windows Home Server Connector software is now installed and will display “Windows Home Server is now ready to use. To configure your home server, click Start”. Click the “Start” button to begin the initial setup configuration wizard. We are prompted to specify a name for the home server, note that the default name for the X310 is HPSTORAGE. The server name must be unique on your network and it is a good idea to name your WHS with something useful.
On the next screens we will specify the Administrative password (make sure you remember your password and set a password hint), toggle the Windows Update behavior settings (recommended On), Customer Experience Improvement and Windows Error reporting. Towards the end of the configuration wizard, the WHS advises you that it will connect to the Internet to download any relevant important updates. Don’t worry, the update process may take a while and the progress bar moves slowly at times.
HP Data Vault Software Updates
When the Windows Home Server console opens the very first time, the HP Software Update will check for new or updated HP software, ensuring that the HP Data Vault continues to operate at the highest level of performance. At the time of writing this review blog, no HP Data Vault Software updates were available – the entire process was quick and painless. If there is an update in the future, select it and complete the instructions on the screen to install it. Do not restart or turn off your home server during the update process.
The Windows Home Server Console
The Windows Home Server Console is where you manage the Windows Home Server. Here you can add new user accounts, assign permissions, manage shared folders and backups, add additional hard drives to your server storage and add third party software solutions called “add-ins”.
Store it! Secure it! Share it!The HP StorageWorks x310 Data Vault is an easy-to-use, cost effective NAS device that allows important files to be stored, secured and shared anywhere among a small team. It means that businesses like yours can start using the benefits of NAS to improve their effectiveness and productivity.
Tour of core features:
- Incremental nightly network backups
- Interoperability with PCs and Macs
- Shared files that can be pulled securely from the Data Vault remotely or locally
- A common repository for files that can be shared among co-workers or with business partners
- Local and secure remote access to files via any web browser
- Fast and reliable recovery of all files in the event of a disaster
- Folder duplication that copies data to a second hard disk drive (HDD) to protect against loss
- Restoration of full operating system
An important feature of the HP Data Vault X310 is that it consolidates and reports on the health of your business network and all of the PCs attached to the network through a pop-up notification on the menu bar of your PC. This consolidation makes it easy to see the health of all of your computers at a glance and, if there is a problem, to quickly diagnose the cause.
The HP Data Vault works with your Mac computers as well as your Windows-based PCs.
- Use Time Machine to back up your Mac
- Recover your Mac if its hard drive fails
- Share iTunes across your network
- Access shared folders on the server
Local streaming allows you to conveniently stream photos, music and videos to PCs, Macs and TVs using digital media adapters (DMAs) or gaming consoles (Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3) on your network.
Server for iTunes
The X310 Data Vault includes a server for iTunes. This server allows users to stream music and playlists to computers that are running iTunes or compatible devices.
Note: iTunes can stream protected content.
HP Photo Publisher
Publish photos from your server to your favorite photo-sharing site. Friends and family can see your photos on the Internet. Uploading your photos is a simple 4-step process:
- Log on to the HP Photo Publisher
- Log on to the photo-sharing site
- Select the photos you want to share
- Upload your photos
The HP Data Vault has been designed to grow with your needs by allowing you to download and install additional software components, or “add-ins”. These new applications created by HP and by third parties deliver new capabilities and take advantage of new technologies as they became available.
Windows Home Server Features
X310 Data Vault Settings
Windows Home Server Settings can be accessed via the “Settings” button in the upper right hand corner of the WHS console. This WHS settings area provides access to the underlying configuration elements of the built-in Windows Home Server allowing the user to configure such as the Windows Update management policy, Backup, Passwords and Remote Access. To further administrate the X310 Data Vault, HP extended this area with an Data Vault settings area.
There were no surprises in this area; the Power Management screen allows you to put the Server into sleep mode to save power and wake up based on pre-defined times. Kudos: this conserves energy and saves money. When the Data Vault automatically switches to the built-in sleep mode, it consumes only 1W of power.
The HP Update settings are all about keeping your server and networked computers current with the latest HP software, online help, and new features. The recommended setting is to Automatically download and install updates. The notification screen gives you control of which notifications will show up as messages in your system tray. The LED screen gives you control of two different LED behaviors and allows you to adjust the brightness levels. Another nice feature is the Hardware Information section which gathers data from various sensors within the Server such as Fan Speed, Temperature and Voltages.
Unlike the X510 Data Vault and MediaSmart Server series, the new X310 does not include many media centric features. Based on customer feedback HP decided to streamline the X310 and focus on key data protection features for small business. For those of you familiar with the MediaSmart Server and X510 series it means that there is no automatic media collector, video convertor, Twonky’s DNLA Media Server (I could never get Twonky to work on my MSS without paying a heavy performance penalty – so this could be a good thing) and no web and iPhone streamer.
The Windows Home Server native Windows Media Connector media streaming feature, on-board ITunes server and photo uploading to social media websites is still available.
Who needs the HP Data Vault?
Any small business, workgroup, or remote office that is moving towards a networked storage environment, but has limited or no IT staff. Small and medium-sized businesses with up to 10 PCs and Macs that want data protection, file sharing, data security and expandability at an affordable price will find the HP Data Vault tremendously valuable.
What’s different from the X510?
|Summary||High Performance, Media Rich, Extended Warranty||Entry Level, Data Protection Focused|
|Side Panels||Shiny Piano Black Finish||Matte Black Finish with Highlights|
|Door||Metal Mesh||Plastic w/Ventilation Holes|
|Feet||Raided Platform||Four Rubber Feet|
|Top||Carbon Color||Matte Black|
|HDD Indicators||Light Pipes||Indicator Lights on Front Panel|
|Media Streaming||Windows Media Connect and PVConnect||Windows Media Connect|
|Remote Media Streaming||Yes||No|
|Processor||Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.5Ghz||Intel Atom Dual Core 1.6Ghz|
|Warranty||3 Year||1 Year|
|Initial Capacities||1TB, 2TB, 3TB||1TB|
HP StorageWorks X310 Data Vault summary
The HP StorageWorks X310 Data Vault provides complete data and system protection, file sharing and expandability for small businesses at sub $600 price. The key features are:
- Simple Data Protection
- Simple Data Sharing
- Data Security
With the HP Data Vault, a small business can automatically centralize, share and access data remotely using any internet-connected computer. It offers a streamlined way to protect, manage and share digital content with colleagues and business partners. The HP Data Vault X310 helps customers work more efficiently & compete more effectively by delivering file and system protection, secure file sharing and expandability at a very affordable price. Our first impressions of the Intel Atom D510 powered X310 Data Vault are very favorable, but are there any types of scenarios or tests that you would like to see performed on this unit?
To learn more about the HP Storage Works X300 family visit:
HP Storage Works X300 Data Vault – Overview and Features
– to clarify, X300 is a family and currently only one product is part of that family, the X310 for North America. HP hinted of the introduction of the X311 and X312 for the European market but no further information and pricing is yet to be announced.