by Tom Streeter

Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 First Look Review (8TB)

Western Digital, a mainstay of the consumer hard drive market, is announcing today its first product aimed at businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The WD Sentinel DX4000 is a NAS device built around a 1.8GHz Atom processor and using Microsoft Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials as its operating system. The company announced that it was entering the SMB market space last July and is betting that the reputation it's built among consumers will carry over to small organizations made up of those same consumers. They stress that the unit is designed for non-technical professionals and will require little maintenance once configured.

The DX4000 will ship from the factory with 2TB RAID Edition SATA drives in RAID 1 or 5 configurations depending if buyers chose a 4TB or 8TB version. RAID volumes will auto-expand when additional physical disks are added to the 4TB model as it leaves two bays open out of a total of four.  The unit features dual-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces as well as dual USB 3.0 ports. It supports Active Directory Join and also features a DLNA media server. The unit can act as a bare metal backup-and-restore resource for up to 25 devices and can perform restores via the USB ports. A future firmware update will allow device-to-device replication.

Build and Design

The Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 includes all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a SMB four-bay NAS. Features like four spring-loaded trayless hot-swap drive bays and a multi-function display come standard on both models. One rather unique aspect of this NAS is even the 4TB model sold with two drives in RAID1 still ships in a four-bay design for easy expansion down the road.

The spring-loaded hot-swap bays are a nice feature to see, since it completely removes the need for unscrewing drives from trays if you are replacing a bad drive. Just pull the release tab, slide the old drive out, and slide the new drive in.

Powering the Western Digital DX4000 are two or four WDC RE4-GP hard drives. Currently the 2TB and 3TB versions are the only drives supported by this NAS, meaning you couldn't go out and load in Seagate or Hitachi models... or even a faster 7200RPM 2TB RE4.

The business end of the DX4000 shows off plenty of cool features, including redundant power supply inputs that you don't generally find on most SMB NAS offerings. It also includes twin USB 3.0 ports for fast data backups as well as two gigabit Ethernet ports for fall-over protection in the event one connection fails. At this time it doesn't support link-aggregation for faster transfers

Stay tuned for our full review of the Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 where go in-depth with the performance and software features.

WD Sentinel at Amazon.com

Update - WD Sentinel Review Posted

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