capsule review

Ximeta NetDisk Office

At a Glance
  • Ximeta 120GB NetDisk Office

Ximeta NetDisk Office
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Like the Ximeta NetDisk, the NetDisk Office is a dual-use drive that can connect to your network via ethernet or directly to your computer via USB 2.0. Unlike the Ximeta NetDisk, the NetDisk Office comes with an eight-port ethernet hub for attaching client computers. However, its lack of security features and limitations in mixed-platform environments make it a better choice for homes than for offices.

A clear setup guide and simple software utility made installation of the NetDisk Office straightforward. Unlike the other drives we tested, the NetDisk Office does not use standard IP protocols to send and receive data; all client computers must install a Ximeta driver to connect to the drive. The NetDisk Office also does not allow password protection for individual shared folders, which is pretty much a deal-breaker for office LANs.

The NetDisk Office has two modes of operation: Multi-OS and Multi-Write. Multi-Write allows Windows XP and 2000 clients to have write access to the NetDisk simultaneously. In Multi-OS mode, Mac, Linux, and other flavors of Windows can connect, but only one user at a time can have write access to the drive. This inconvenience forces you to keep switching from read-only to read-write access in the NetDiskAdmin utility whenever you need to save a file.

If you are in Multi-OS mode and are backing up your PC to the NetDisk Office with the included Symantec V2i Protector software, you'll have to make sure that you have write access turned on at the time of the scheduled backup. This limitation makes unattended backups problematic.

In our tests the NetDisk Office's performance was excellent. It ranked third overall among the drives we tested, and it uses a special network transport protocol, which Ximeta calls NDAS (network direct attached storage).

Switching between the USB and ethernet connectivity is relatively painless, thanks to the NetDisk's autosensing feature. However, if you connect both USB and ethernet cables at once, the device can't decide which to use, so you'll have to physically disconnect and reconnect one cable or the other each time you want to switch ports. We'd prefer a software switch.

One interesting feature for offices is that NetDisks can be aggregated and mirrored across a network. Mirroring means you can continuously back up one NetDisk to another, and aggregation allows up to 16 NetDisks to appear as one, making for easy expansion as your needs grow.

While the NetDisk Office was speedy and easy to install, its proprietary driver makes it inconvenient to use in multiple-OS environments. And it lacks critical file security for workgroups.

Becky Waring

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At a Glance
  • Ximeta 120GB NetDisk Office

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