In part 1 of our hands-on LaCie 5big Backup Server review we covered the hardware specifications, unboxing and our first impressions. In part 2 we learn more about the 5big Backup Server and cover the pre-installed Add-ins and LaCie software applications designed to help make recovery and backup restore easier.
Here is a quick unboxing video to recap:
Now on to part two:
The LaCie’s 5big doesn’t come empty handed; it’s loaded with additional add-ins that include:
- Printer Management add-in gives access to the Add Printer wizard, to enable sharing of a connected USB printer across the network. There is no way to operate a business without something as essential as a printer in the office and LaCie did a great job with this add-in wizard.
- Multimedia Server – the TwonkyMedia Server 5.1 is loaded on the 5big Backup Server. The add-in allows the sharing and streaming of media to a number of different receivers.
- Hardware Management – if you are up to it, you can even tweak the hardware settings with the help of a Hardware Management feature on the 5big. Things such as fan speed, LED intensity and Energy Management settings are all modifiable.
Also, internet settings and Disk information are all accessible on the 5big Backup Server.
PC Recovery Key
A very useful tool that is hidden away on the 5big’s Connector Agent and Applications CD is the PC Recovery Key application.
The 5big Backup Server has the ability to easily create a bootable PC Recovery key utilizing a USB drive, rather than using the supplied Recovery CD. If you ever needed to recover your PC, especially a netbook that does not have a CD drive, the PC Recovery Key is something you will be very grateful to have.
When you have the key all you need to do is boot your PC from the USB drive which will install and run Windows Home Server’s PC Recovery Wizard. Something to take note of is the Recovery Key does not include any relevant drivers for the PC you are recovering, it is very generic and any applicable drivers you will have to install on your own.
Server Recovery Key
Unlike the PC Recovery equivalent, the Server Recovery Key Wizard (available from lacie.com and on the Server Recovery DVD) allows the easy creation of a Server Recovery USB key which can be inserted into a Server to recover the 5big Backup Server in case of serious issue.
Server Recovery Mode
Having created the Server Recovery Key on an external USB flash drive, you would need to safely shutdown the server and plug the USB 2.0 flash key into one of the four USB 2.0 ports. Then proceed to boot the 5big Backup Server into recovery mode by inserting the pointed end of the drive lock tool into the system recovery recessed button, pressing power on and holding the recovery button for three to four seconds until the front LED blinks at a slower pace.
Server Recovery Wizard
The actual 5big Backup Server Recovery software is located on the accompanied DVD at:
Server Recovery DVD->Applications->Server Recovery
While we hope you will never experience a problem, should you perform a LaCie 5big Backup Server Recovery, be sure to carefully read all the steps involved.
There are three different levels of drive formatting:
- System Partition Format: The Windows Home Server operating system uses a portion of Disk 1. This option attempts to format only the operating system information before reinstalling a new version. This is the least destructive option.
- Disk 1 Format: All of Disk 1 will be formatted before the operating system is reinstalled. Data stored on Disk 1 will be deleted.
- Factory Reset: All connected drives (including USB and eSATA drives attached to the 5big Backup Server) will be formatted before the operating system is reinstalled on Disk 1.
We find the LaCie 5big Backup Server to be beautiful in design, and sleek on software, meaning it is not bloated with useless applications. On the down side, there is not as much memory as we would like and the processor is only single core, also because all these are embedded directly onto the motherboard, future hardware scalability is not an option. With all that said, the 5big is a resilient backup server that will serve (no pun intended) you and/or your business well in terms of file sharing and remote access. The modest add-ins that come with this server will be suitable for either PC or Mac office settings.
However, the price of $1,199, the 5big Backup Server may be on the pricy side compared with other servers on the market, but you are getting a quality product for your buck. We have had a positive experience with this server, and if you are willing to pay the price so will you.