Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 2TB Network Attached Storage

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The BlackArmor series from Seagate are aimed at small businesses, and professional users but they can be great tools for the everyday user as well. I’ve taken a look at two of the BlackArmor series of external hard drives the PS 110 and the Ws 110, and both are very nice products overall that can be great tools for transporting and keeping your data safe. Today I’ve got another in the BlackArmor series of  storage and backup devices, the NAS 220 2TB Network Attached Storage box. The NAS 220 is a NAS box as one might expect given it’s name, and I’ve taken a look at several NAS devices here on technogog, so I’m not only giving you a comprehensive overview of the NAS 220 but tossing in some comparisons as well so we can see how it performs compared to a few others.

If you read my other Seagate BlackArmor reviews then the packaging for the NAS 220 will look familiar to you, they’ve got the same look to them.The NAS 200 is packaged very well with lots of foam for protection.

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Unpacking everything we find the NAS 220, ethernet cable, power supply, software disc, and user manual. The manual is more of a quick start guide, the in depth manuals are located on the disc for both the NAS 220 and the backup software.

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The NAS 220 was fairly hard to take pictures of, it’s black and the front is glossy. The main casing is metal and the front bezel is the glossy plastic, where you’ll find the power button and the status LED indicators. The bottom does have four rubber feet as well.

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On the back you’ll find a cooling fan along with two USB ports, power connection and the ethernet port.

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Of course I had to open it up to see inside. The hard drives are two Seagate 1TB drives, model 7200.12. They’re on rails to make installation and replacement easier, they just clip into the housing.

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The bottom is open and you can get a good look at the chipset:

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Specifications:

BlackArmor NAS 220

Model: ST320005LSA10G-RK

Central networking that fits your business.
Network storage for up to 20 workstations. Designed with the small business in mind.
* USE IT TO:Keep your business data safe and available
* Support up to 20 workstations
* Automatically backup every networked computer at your workplace

Built to grow with your business.
Simple enough to let you focus on what matters.
* Automatic, continuous backup of connected workstations.
* Two reliable, user–replaceable Seagate hard drives.
* Two USB 2.0 ports for external drives, printers and UPS.

Security that’s built right in.
You have plenty of things to worry about. Your network shouldn’t be one of them.
* Automatic data mirroring with RAID 1 configuration.
* Hardware–based encryption keeps your files secure.
* Secure internet access to files with easy permissions and controls

All the details that matter.
The features you want. All in one place.
* Microsoft Active directory support.
* Multi–volume management.
* Event email notification.
* DLNA and iTunes media streaming.
* 3–year limited warranty

Price: $429.99

I’ve got a ton of screenshots for you highlighting all of the features of the NAS 220, rather than make this article longer than it is, small thumbnail pictures will be used, you can just click them to see the larger view.

The NAS 220 included BlackArmor Backup software, and 10 licenses for it so you can use it on your network. I took an in-depth look at the actual BlackArmor Backup software in my review of the BlackArmor PS 110 2.5” 500GB external hard drive, so I’m not going to repeat it all here. You can hop over HERE to read that review if you wish.

I did run into a problem running the backup software on my main computer, apparently if you’ve already used a BlackArmor product, and even if you’ve uninstalled it, it will still ask for the original product to be attached to the system. What I mean is that when I tried to use the BA Backup with the NAS 220 I couldn’t do it, it would just keep searching and searching for a BA device and never find one. So I thought maybe trying to plug in the PS110 and see what happens and then it popped up ready to go, so I’m guessing it leaves something in the registry attaching BA Backup to  the system and previous drive. I even tried uninstalling it and reinstalling the software and it was still the same result, I had to attach the other BlackArmor product before being able to use the NAS 220 for my backups.

To get it to work as it should I installed BlackArmor Discovery and BA Backup on my netbook, this worked perfectly as it should. You just run the Discovery software, enter ID/Password, and then hit backup and it starts rights up.

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Ok, now to the actual NAS 220 device.. I could’ve covered the backup part later but it’s basically a separate part of the device. When you first hook up the BlackArmor NAS 220 you’ll need to set it up, follow a few prompts and the system will initialize and you’ll be at the main administration screen in a matter of minutes.

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The main admin screen features two menus, one drop down at the top and another on the left side of the screen. The drop down menus are the same as you’ll find on the left side for each section.

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Under System you’ve got several options to choose from, Status, General Setup, Email Setup, Admin Password, Firmware Update, Advanced, SMART Manager, UPS Manager, Backup Client License, and Shutdown/Reboot.

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Under Network you’ve got LAN, Services, Workgroup, Dynamic DNS and Printer Manager. Under services you can enable or disable Web Access, FTP, UPNP and NFS. Workgroup is just the workgroup info, and Dynamic DNS is the standard settings for that.

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There are several options under Storage, but it’s divided into two sections Disk manager, and Management. Under Disk manager you’ve got Volumes, Shares, USB Shares, Quota and Downloader. Then under management you’ve got Tasks, Setup, Backup manager and Recycle-Bin manager. Then the Backup manager is broken down further as well into User Backup, task Monitor, USB to NAS, NAS to USB, Schedule Backup, and Restore, and then there’s yet another menu under that for Backup Server with Server Settings under that menu. So there’s quite a bit going on here in this section…

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Under the Media Menu you’ll only find a few choices for DMS and Itunes

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Under the Access heading you’ll find info for Permissions, Downloader, Shares and Global Access.

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To access Global Access you’ll need an account, which is free, Global Access is essentially outside access to the NAS 220 through the Seagate Severs. It allows you and anyone else to have access via a web browser.

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Here it is once you log into the Global Access account:

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Some might say that having to use the Seagate Global Access is not a good idea since you’re going through their servers, I think it’s good and bad really. Who knows what information they collect as to what you’re doing, but it also makes life a lot easier to enable outside access to the NAS 220. With other NAS boxes you’ve got to setup Dynamic DNS, and then configure your router and maybe even firewall, with Global Access you just create an account and you’re ready to go, very easy to do. I know with my Thecus box it was trial and error and it took me quite a while to get it configured for outside access with my old router, with the new one I have though life was much easier.

Clicking on the Terms and Conditions or Privacy Statement on the Global Access site only takes you back to the main Seagate Website to show show those Terms and Privacy Policies, so who knows what’s going on there.

You can of course enable access the normal way as well if you wish to, but Global Access is much easier I think.

Ok, I’ve covered a whole lot of stuff, but now down to actual performance. I’ve got the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 hooked up on my network through a gigabit switch, and I decided to put it up against the other Nas boxes I’ve got on hand, specifically the Lacie2big, Thecus N3200 Pro, Qnap TS-109 Pro II and the Synology DS209+ II. I used the Windows 7 ISO file for the test, it weighs in at 3.04GB in size. Here’s the time it took to transfer and the Transfer Speeds of reach NAS device:

ftp graph

The BlackArmor comes in the second fastest of the bunch, not bad.

The BlackAmor NAS 220 is a well made product, and the fan is quiet. I’ve got it sitting on my desk to the left of me, about two feet away and I can’t hear the fan, but I can hear the drives accessing every once in a while. I’m sure most people won’t have it sitting where I have it. I’ve got my Thecus N3200 under my desk actually, so I never hear the drives or the fan.

As far as protection is concerned it’s setup in a mirrored raid configuration so you’ve got your data backed up, but you’ve only got half of the space. I like raid for the protection it offers, but I much prefer Raid5 simply because it offers more space, at the moment I use three 500gig drives in Raid5 configuration in my Thecus box and that gives me 1tb of storage that’s protected as well via the third drive.

So to each his own really, but the Raid1 of the NAS 220 will offer good protection for your data at fast transfer speeds and additional features like the Backup and ability to be a media server as well.


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Conclusion:

The Seagate NAS 220 is a wonderful system for the home or small business user, I’ve got it hooked up to my main system and my netbook right now so I’ve got backup abilities for them and easy off-site access as well to all of my files on the server. The NAS 220 is an excellent device overall, it will provide the user with ease of use and peace of mind through the BlackArmor Backup System, you can easily backup your data with just a couple clicks.

The Global Access that Seagate provides is a very easy to use system that makes accessing the NAS 220 while you’re away very easy, just sign up for a free account, input the info into your NAS account and you’re set for access from anywhere in the world. You can of course set up access the ‘old-fashioned’ way through dynamic DNS and configuring your router if you wish not to use the Global Access system.

I did run into the small problem with the BlackArmor Backup software, it’s likely other won’t have the problem I did, it’s more of an extra step than a problem to get it to work really.

The NAS 220 is an excellent, feature packed NAS box that most any user will appreciate.

9 recommended5

Pros:
+Easy to use
+Well made, quiet
+Easy off-site access with free Global Access account
+Relatively fast
+Tons of features

Cons:
-Ran into problem with BlackArmor Backup not seeing the box

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10
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  • Mahmoud Korayem

    Hi.

    I want to buy seagate black armor NAS 440 But I use Linux, Can I format the drives to ext3?

    And if not, How will my linux files with their permissions and ownership be preserved on the NAS ?

    I would appreciate your answer very much.

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  • http://jasonellison.net Jason Ellison

    You would use NFS… My experience with the Black Armor 440 8TB has been dismal. NFS is extremely slow. And the DLNA/iTunes support is poor and just stops working if you have more than just a few videos. Seagate is entirely unhelpful offering only a selfhelp forum. The use of opensource by seagate was only to cut cost. This is a VERY closed box. Half of the protocols specified on the datasheet feel half implemented and only sorta work.

    I would only get this box if you are a windows user wanting to store data on a remote NAS via windows shares.

  • Juha M.

    In all fairness, if the drive ain’t SMB (Samba), it’s worthless. Since people want to know if the drive is completely worthless piece of junk, ALWAYS mention if it’s SMB. And do it at the beginning of the review!

    Just to warn customers about shitty NAS HD’s, you should review Western Digital My Book World Edition II, a piece of shit NAS with a maximum throughput of a few megabytes. The software, “Mionet” or “Anywhere Access,” that comes with the WD My Book World Edition II is totally worthless as well. That ****sucker WD has even banned sharing of all media formats using that idiotic sharing application (Anywhere Access). For proof, read this: http://www.betanews.com/article/Western-Digital-bans-sharing-of-media-on-MyBooks/1197042418
    Luckily, you don’t need Mionet (Anywhere Access) but that won’t fix all the problems with the lousy throughput.

    Offering a totally worthless NAS HD with a terrible/miserable throughput of maybe 4 or 5 Mbps on sale = shitting on customers…

  • DarFur

    I have a NAS110 Blackarmor and it’s awesome. Works great with my 3 mac/2 pc network, WII and PS3. YMMV-negativity breeds incompatibility.

    • Kees_jnsm

      you must work at seagate

  • WilFer

    Installed Seagate Blackarmor NAS220, interacting with Ubuntu 10.4 Linux via a conventional router. No problems at all. On the Ubuntu side it sees the NAS as a Samba-compliant device. The only problem I encountered was that the initial default IP address of the NAS unit was not supplied and it took quite a bit of experimenting to finally communicate with the web interface of the NAS. This is because Seagate assume that a DHCP server will assign an IP address, so it does not necessarily make a lot of sense to publish a default and built-in IP address. Configured via a router it works quite easily and efficiently with transfer rate as measured in the above test report. Connecting directly to a PC was a bit more difficult because of the assumption of a DHCP. In my case a swap-over network cable was required for a direct connection to a Windows PC, though I cannot understand why that would be necessary these days. Have not managed a direct connection with Linux yet, only via router.

  • JohnUSA

    In RAID1 config, what is the actual available storage capacity of the 220? For example, the WD My World Book 4TB, running in RAID1, has an actual storage capacity of just under 1TB.

  • Michael_S

    @John USA: available storage would be 1GB.

    Seagate is now having big problems with their actual firmware. The read-speed has gone down from nearly 40MB/sec to 10MB/sec after updating!

  • http://www.phillcoe.com phill coe

    hi. i am looking for a system that will allow me to back up to an off site location, that is, back up from my office Mac to a hard drive based elsewhere via the internet. Would this product be a good choice? Does it work with Mac Time Machine?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Phil

    I forgot my user name and password for “Manage”. How can I retrieve them? Thank.

  • John

    Beware of this box. I would not use ir for dtoring any critical data and probably would avoid it for anything less critical as well. I made the mistake of purchasing the Blackarmos 440 NAS 6TB version. I joined it to a domain and set up a number of directories with different use permissions. From time to time about once every one or two weeks, this box would stop allowing any domain users to connect to it. The users would get an error message indicating “device name already in use”. The ONLY way to overcome this was to disjoing the box from the domain, reboot, and rejoin it to the domain. Then of course, I’d have to go through all the directories and reset all permissions. Very frustrating. I talked to Seagate numerous times and they appeared to think that this “disjoining and rejoining” was an acceptable reality I shouls just live with. I should mention that I always made sure I had the latest firmware.

    Then on day the box just stopped working. None of the domain users could access it and disjoining it and rejoining it to the domain did no longer work. I could log into the web control interface with the local account, but that was it. No access to the data. Big problem!

    I then spent over 2 hrs with Seagate on the telephone and did everything they aked me to do to get to get it working. Finally they gave up and told me thae box was toast and too bad, shit happens.

    Then I asked them for help in at least trying to save some data off teh drive somehow onto another drive. They said they could do that and transfered me to their data recovery department. But… this department would not help me over the telephone to transfer data to another drive, no…. they wanted me to send in the box and would do a potentially hiughly destructive data recovery operation. They estaimated that my turnaround time would be about 3 weeks and cost would be between $5000-$9000. That pissed me off big time. I bought this NAS as a backup device and that is what they advertize it as. Now that it is not sufficiently working as advertized they want to skin me off thousands of dollars! And they wont even TRY to help me copy over the data first. The ONLY option they give me is the costly destructive slow option! So naturally I decline this “offer”.

    After I hand up with Seagate and as I let my hearbeat calm down and take some deep breaths, I start thinking that this is riddiculous. This thing has USB ports and ftp. I hook the box up via USB and see that the directories and data look intact. I realize that trying to copy this much data over USB would be a loon process. I happen to just have built a server the day before with a 8TB array, so I decide to try to FTP teh data over. No problem. Hours later my data is at least safe.w But my blood is boiling, because I realize that SEAGATE never offered to help me with this. Instead they were most happy to jump straight to the “solution” of charging me up to $9000 for data recovery. I also think of all those poor people whose posts I have read on the internet who lost all their data (or at least thought they did) because they never got any support. And what are the chanses that you just happen to have a large storage array available?

    I was naturally not happy. So I wrote numerous emails to the sata recovery division epole and asked them to forward my complaint. Some nice soul there apparently did, because some days later I did get a call from Seagate offering to switch out the NAS 440 for a new one. I had to send in the old box, including the drives with the data. OK, I agreed to this. But the switch actually took weeks, and may emails and calls and talking to a lot of people, soem who where authorized and some who where not authorized to say do anything. There were problems at every turn… no we dont ship to your address… no we need a deposit… no we dont talke that credit cards… yada yada yada.

    Finally after much testing of the outer limits of human patience I received a new NAS box. As they no longer make the 6TB model they sent a 8 TB model. I had high hopes for this. Guess what…? This new 8TB box is displaying the very same problems as the “old” box. Every few days it looses its abolity to recognize pemissions for users. Seagate had orignally told me that “i had too many users”) (I think I had 19). Now I have only added ONE domain user and IT IS STILL NOT WORKING.

    During my epic call with Seagate about the first box, the Seagate tech got at least one thing completely right. It was when she said “You know, these (NAS440) devices aren’t really meant to be used on a network”. Funny of course that they would market a Network Attached Storage box that isn’t supposed to work on a network. But now we know.

    By the way. I have tried to join the Seagate forum, because I would rather have vented there and maybe someone at Seagate could have jumped in to offer some solutions. However, when I try to register an account on that forum I just get an error message saying “were having some technical difficulties, try again later”. I have tried again…for weeks. No love.

  • Doug G

    NFS is too slow to be used, in fact my 5 year old Windows XP machine running Microsoft’s NFS server is 9-12 times faster with a FE card than NAS220 running GE.

    I am returning this and going to look for a real NAS device, something NOT from Seagate

  • Andy Hepburn

    I have a BA 220 in RAID1. No problem to set it up except the refusal to be visable to the other accounts on each of the other networked machines. Another PC and a laptop. A friend sorted this for me, its a question of switching on the right buttons and putting the permissions in the right boxes for each. Now it works fine. As its the server for my network and I’m paranoid, I’ve yet to enable it to back-up to another HDD.

  • vts

    This unit is truly awful:

    1) delete a lot of files at once and the Recycle Bin crashes and becomes completely inaccessible space. Your only option is to wipe and start again to get the space and recycle bin back. Actually they now recommend you disable the recycle bin.

    2) there’s an option box which doesn’t clarify that it takes what you back up onto it and puts All music files in one directory, renaming where dupes have the same name, All video files in another directory etc. Result is your precious archived stuff is now divorced from your file structure and pretty unusable.

    3) ocassionally you can get a Vista problem where it tries to install hardware for the device, fails and then crashes your PC. Very frequently.

    4) access performance is slow

    Best solution is get something else or if it’s too late takes the disks out and just use them as a RAID array within a PC

  • Andreas

    Got a BlackArmor NAS 220 and it sucks. The interface is hard to understand and it just fills up with errors. When running on my computer it takes most of the resources and forever to start up. No simple way to set up incremental backups and no reasonable assistance when you try to figure it out. A waste of money for me. :(

    Has this been user tested at all before shipped?

  • Andrew

    A great little NAS for home use. Relatively easy to set up via the webUI. At first I thought that the performance was crap for streaming movies until I realised that the problem lay with the inability of the application (VLC media player) to buffer adequately; it works just fine with windows media player, even with multiple file transfers going on at the same time from a shadowprotect disk image that is mounted on my laptop across a slow WLAN, copying to the NAS itself (ie, multiple network IOs for each operation). Also running a VM workstation VM off the NAS at the same time (slow but that would always be expected).

    Remote FTP access via router pinholes and DynamicDNS also works well.

    To those having problems on a domain or with lost data – the answer is simple. Don’t use a NAS – Seagate or otherwise – in a domain environment. Do it properly – get a SAN and backup to a replicated iSCSI VTL via a seperate network segment.
    RAID is only there for physical disk fault tolerance, and is *not* to be considered a backup solution for data corruption – ALWAYS have backups, and carry out regular test restores. If you lose data then you really only have yourself to blame! Also check the status of the drives WebUI regularly, as you would for any piece of IT equipment.

  • Andrew

    further to the above – Andreas, did you think to RTFM? If so then you would have seen how to do incremental backups (although that in itself would be pure folly – who the hell makes incremental backups – unless you want to have to restore more than 2 backups to get your PC/laptop into a workable state – how about taking the time to understand the technology before knocking it!? This device is fairly foolproof – It is impossible to make anything foolproof – because a fool will always find a way to stuff things up, especially when they don’t take the time to READ THE F***ING MANUAL!! And VTS, if you are running Vista – then you really only have yourself to blame for ANY problems with that OS. reformat your HDD and install linux / windows 7 and Be Happy.

  • http://www.ixquisite.com Wolfgang

    I am just wondering if anyone has figured out how the NAS to NAS backup and NAS from NAS backup works on the 420/440? – I checked the online help (manual) and they have not a single word lost about it.

    1) In particular, I am interested if it is possible to restore single files only, or does the entire backup set (possibly) have to be restored?
    2) What does the “Alias name” really mean?
    3) Can I setup a “mirror” backup that will simply update a previous backup from one NAS to another NAS? – I’d like to backup may 420 NAS #1 with 2GB of data to my 420 NAS #2 and keep in updated on a nightly (or every other night) basis.

    If anyone has experience with that, please let me know or send me some pointers.
    Thank you!

  • JoeBlow

    This thing is almost worthless. The performance is great, but it’s a completely unreliable NAS drive. It has an average life span of about four to five months, then ready-or-not, you’ll have to perform a full system restore to make it function again. And you better have a backup of your data, cause you’re f’d if not..

    • Gstar2030

      Agree wholeheartedly with you…same thing happened to ours.

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