"falling way short of expectations"0.5 starson by shawnmfisher
Pros: This device is a good storage device if used only for a network disk and shared storage. It is fast, offers redundant network cards, has plenty of permissions, and a plethora of disk and RAID options.
Cons: RAID takes over 7 hours to build. Adding the server to a Windows Domain removes some of the functionality of the device. Global access does not deliver. Media server functional is broken. Support found to be lacking. Firmware glitches.
Summary: One of the main reasons for me to purchase this device was to allow road warriors access to their files while out of the office. The Black Armor series of devices has a free feature called global access which theoretically allows you to access your NAS through a simple web interface from anywhere without setting up special firewall rules. This is a great feature but does not actually work as advertised. Serious pitfalls exist such as a frequent log outs from the web interface for no reason, file names do not displaying properly. A truly serious 20 character file name restriction (including the dot and file extension it is really a 16 character limit). Since you cannot see the full file name it would have been nice to see the file date but that is not option either, just partial file names and size. So to really get any function from global access you are going to have to rename all of your files but with such short names supported good luck because you are not going to be able to use much useful information such as dates in your file name.
The device has windows media server and I-tunes server. The WM functionality supposedly supports music, photos and video. This feature does not work very well and on several devices it just seems designed to make you want to beat your head into your keyboard. Several photo frames see the device and see thumbnails but cannot display pictures. There were some nice features in the media server functionality but none of them were thought out. There is an option to auto organize your media files, this feature removes some of your files (the ones it supports) from any folders and dumps them into a ?my music? ?my photos? or ?my videos? folder structure that is not supported by the media server. Only files in ?our music?, ?our photos? and ?our videos? (which do not support sub-folders) are supported. This forces you to recopy all of your music back into the ?our music? folder. If you are like me and have all of your music, photos and videos organized into neat organized folders you will dump everything into one big folder with no structure and again if you use global access to share your stuff your file names will not be long enough to have enough information to make use of them. The built in I-tunes media server works well, but only supports music and does not work with I-phones or I-pods only the workstation version of I-tunes.
The shipping firmware does not recognize months that start with a 1, so if you are setting up the device you must enter any month that is not October, November, or December. This took several calls to tech support for me to finally figure out on my own, after several days of trial and error. My first device out of the box was defective and I had Seagate tech support troubleshoot it for 3 days before they decided to send me a new one. They require a credit card, and for you to pay $20 shipping for the replacement unit. My replacement unit was also defective; the hard drive was seated at an angle making it impossible to remove. The second replacement, and 3rd Seagate NAS unit, is obviously a refurbished unit. However, this unit works. But being a refurbished I was surprised to see that this unit came with the original firmware, along with that annoying ?month cannot begin with a 1? glitch. Tech support is only available for free for 90 days after you purchase the device and only available via phone during Mon - Sun at 8am to 6pm Central US time, which was not very convenient for me. The black Armor tech support team seems to be made up of 4 people, they are nice and try but they are tier 2, at best, and could not escalate any issues to an engineer. If they can?t help you, you don?t get help or you get a new device.
There is a new firmware release that is available on their website but there is a caveat that states not to install it unless told to do so by tech support. I did install it on my first defective device. The new firmware replaces some of the problems with the media server functionality and introduces an undocumented odd little Web based ?Wiki? feature. The new firmware removes some of the admin pages for the media server but now does allow you to have your media in folders other than ?our music?, ?our videos? and ?our photos?. However, when I installed the new firmware UPNP stopped working taking the media server with it. I have been promised that the general release firmware will resolve many issues.. I will not return my device.... yet.