We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
NAS (network storage) Reviews
15,611 Reviews

WD Sentinel RX4100 NAS review: A rack-mount NAS every SMB should consider

£1719 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Western Digital

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Western Digital provides plenty of value in this entry-level rack-mount NAS, but the device does have a couple of minor flaws. Read our WD Sentinel RX4100 NAS review to find out more.

: A rack-mount NAS every SMB should consider ReviewProduct SpecsCompare AT A GLANCE(1 items) Western Digital Sentinel RX4100 $1,900.00 Western Digital provides plenty of value in this entry-level rack-mount NAS, but the device does have a couple of minor flaws. Jon L. Jacobi Sep 24, 2013 3:30 AMprint 15 inShare 0 Western Digital’s Sentinel RX4100 is a fast rack-mount, network-attached storage device that runs Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server R2 Essentials, and it might change your mind about how your small business handles storage. Rack-mount equipment is pricier than desktop gear, and it requires an investment in a rack (if you don’t already have one). On the upside, rack-mount devices are easier to cable, organize, maintain, and expand. And equipped with antitheft mounting hardware, a rack provides much better physical security. Last but not least, it’ll impress your clients. ROBERT CARDIN A dual-lock security bezel prevents unauthorized access to the four drives inside the WD Sentinel RX4100. The Sentinel RX4100 is a four-bay, 1U (unit) rackmount, which means it takes up only one standard two-inch vertical rack space. It houses four quick-change drive caddies and a double-locking bezel to discourage theft (it locks down on both the left and the right). The RX4100 can be ordered with dual, redundant power supplies, but our test unit had only one. A dual-core Intel Atom D525 CPU powers the RX4100, supported by 4GB of DDR3/800 memory in the motherboard’s single SODIMM slot. A pair of gigabit ethernet ports support both failover and aggregation. (In either scenario, you need two separate broadband connections. In failover mode, if you lose one connection to the Internet, the system will automatically switch to the other. In aggregation mode, both connections are bonded to double throughput.) ROBERT CARDIN The RX4100 has an internal power supply, but you can also plug in an external power brick as a backup in case it should fail. That’s more than adequate horsepower for a small-business NAS, and WD has put a very reasonable price tag on this one: $1900 with 8TB of storage, $2000 with 12TB, and $2350 with 16TB. Not enough ports One area where WD missed the mark is in the meager number—and odd arrangement—of peripheral ports. The RX4100 has two USB 3.0 ports that could be used for speedy local backups; unfortunately, they’re on the back of the unit. There’s a USB 2.0 port in the front, securely hidden under the security bezel, but that’s a slow way to move a lot of data. WD should have provided two USB 2.0 ports in the rear, to support a mouse and keyboard. There’s also no eSATA port, so you can forget about backing up to—or expanding the available storage of—an eSATA rack-mount drive array. If you want to connect a local display to configure or monitor the RX4100, you’ll use the VGA port in the back. We found that our test RX4100 was using a standard Microsoft VGA driver, which maxes out at resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. PCWorld Lab Manager Tony Leung managed to install the Windows 7 drivers for the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 using Windows 7 compatibility mode, but that required using a device manager and disabling what the driver thought was a second monitor. Even then, resolution maxed out at 1600 by 900. This is a minor issue, but hardware-specific drivers should come preinstalled. Backing up and controlling the RX4100 remotely via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is easy; however, any NAS or server product above the consumer level allows direct use so that you can troubleshoot or configure the device while the network is down. Performance The configuration reviewed here includes four 2TB, enterprise-class Western Digital WD2009FYPX hard drives in a RAID 5 array (5TB usable of the 8TB capacity). Benchmark results identify it as the fastest NAS we’ve tested on two counts, and the second-fastest NAS we’ve tested overall. It wrote our 10GB mix of files and folders at 41.8 megabytes per second and read them at a speedy 53.7 MBps, the latter earning it a first-place showing. In the real world, that means documents and databases will open faster. The RX4100’s reading of our single large 10GB file proceeded at 96.5 MBps—a nice clip, but it wrote the same file at a blistering 96.4MBps—another record. The write speed bodes particularly well for rapidly backing up the PCs over your network. Speaking of backups, the RX4100 natively supports bare-metal backup for 25 PCs on the network, and Western Digital offers KeepVault online backup for storing those backups safely in a remote location. KeepVault costs $300 for 250GB, $600 for 500GB, and $1000 for 1TB on an annual basis (monthly rates are also available). As I mentioned earlier, the RX4100 runs Windows Storage Server 2008 Essentials. Being a subset of Microsoft’s full server operating system, Essentials has a somewhat Spartan feature set. But it does support Active Directory via joining a domain, it has a nice dashboard app for PCs that lets you view the current state of the box, and it requires no CD to set up, as older versions did. You surf to the RX4100’s IP address (add \setup) and get started. The Sentinel RX4100 is an affordable and fast entry-level rack-mount NAS. Aside from its port array, its faults are minor. It’s more than suitable for SMB file sharing, and it’s particularly good for backups. Western Digital Sentinel RX4100 At a Glance Western Digital provides plenty of value in this entry-level rack-mount NAS, but the device does have a couple of minor flaws. View full product specs » Price when rated: $1900 Pros Excellent performance Sturdy construction Reasonably priced Cons Needs more USB ports Native GMA 3150 driver not installed No eSATA port COMPARE WE RECOMMEND Oculus Rift VR headset prototype works so well it’s a little scary Oculus Rift VR headset prototype works so well it’s a little scary How to Configure a PC's BIOS How to Configure a PC's BIOS Digispark, the tiny development board Sponsored Digispark, the tiny development board (GeekBoy.it) How Much Ink Is Left in That Dead Cartridge? How Much Ink Is Left in That Dead Cartridge? Invasion of the tabletop tablets: Are these fiendishly clever hybrids the ultimate family PCs? Invasion of the tabletop tablets: Are these fiendishly clever hybrids the ultimate family PCs? what's this? 0 commentsADD YOURS Sort by: OLDEST FIRST NEWEST FIRST ADD YOUR COMMENT user avatar LOGIN FEATURED WHITEPAPERS Secure Network Access for Personal Mobile Devices Secure Network Access for Personal Mobile Devices Infographic: Tablets on the Rise in the Workplace Find the Value in Business VoIP The Key to Improving Your Customer Service: Intelligent Systems Desktop Modernization Simplified Social Analytics & Intelligence for Customer Service & Support Excellence Reduce Costs, Security Risks in the Private Cloud Moving or adding a new Data Center? Leave your outdated tools behind! Phishing 2.0 Secrets of Successful API Programs Capitalizing on Cloud: Preparing People and Processes for IT's Organizational... See more whitepapers » TOP REVIEWED BUSINESS CHARTS Top 10 Color Laser Multifunction Printers POPULAR BUSINESS Outlook 2013 - Download (Full Product) Outlook 2013 - Download (Full Product) as low as $91.00 Outlook 2013 (License) Outlook 2013 (License) as low as $93.00 Project Standard 2013 32/64-bit - License - 1 PC (... Project Standard 2013 32/64-bit - License - 1 PC (... as low as $239.00 Project 2010 Standard - Complete Product - 1 PC (P... Project 2010 Standard - Complete Product - 1 PC (P... as low as $358.00 Project 2003 Professional (Full Product) Project 2003 Professional (Full Product) as low as $199.00 See more » Sponsored Links business accounting You'll see more revenue with Cox Executive Accounting and Finance. exed.cox.smu.edu Network Security Long Island Professional Network and Internet Security Specialists! www.YourDataCenter.com Antivirus Problem Help Call UK (Toll Free) 800-016-3963. For N0rton Antivirus Problem Help. dbstechy.co.uk/support_for_norton SEO Definitions A complete list of helpful search engine optimization words. www.thyseo.com/definitions.html Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter See All Newsletters »

Western Digital's Sentinel RX4100 is a fast rack-mount, network-attached storage device that runs Microsoft's Windows Storage Server R2 Essentials, and it might change your mind about how your small business handles storage. See all NAS reviews.

Rack-mount equipment is pricier than desktop gear, and it requires an investment in a rack (if you don't already have one). On the upside, rack-mount devices are easier to cable, organize, maintain, and expand. And equipped with antitheft mounting hardware, a rack provides much better physical security. Last but not least, it'll impress your clients. See also: what's the best NAS device?

The Sentinel RX4100 is a four-bay, 1U (unit) rackmount, which means it takes up only one standard two-inch vertical rack space. It houses four quick-change drive caddies and a double-locking bezel to discourage theft (it locks down on both the left and the right). The RX4100 can be ordered with dual, redundant power supplies, but our test unit had only one.

A dual-core Intel Atom D525 CPU powers the RX4100, supported by 4GB of DDR3/800 memory in the motherboard's single SODIMM slot. A pair of gigabit ethernet ports support both failover and aggregation. (In either scenario, you need two separate broadband connections. In failover mode, if you lose one connection to the Internet, the system will automatically switch to the other. In aggregation mode, both connections are bonded to double throughput.)

That's more than adequate horsepower for a small-business NAS, and WD has put a very reasonable price tag on this one:around £1,400 ex VAT with 8TB of storage, £1,500 ex VAT with 12TB, and £1,800 with 16TB.

Not enough ports

One area where WD missed the mark is in the meager number--and odd arrangement--of peripheral ports. The RX4100 has two USB 3.0 ports that could be used for speedy local backups; unfortunately, they're on the back of the unit. There's a USB 2.0 port in the front, securely hidden under the security bezel, but that's a slow way to move a lot of data. WD should have provided two USB 2.0 ports in the rear, to support a mouse and keyboard. There's also no eSATA port, so you can forget about backing up to--or expanding the available storage of--an eSATA rack-mount drive array.

If you want to connect a local display to configure or monitor the RX4100, you'll use the VGA port in the back. We found that our test RX4100 was using a standard Microsoft VGA driver, which maxes out at resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. PCWorld Lab Manager Tony Leung managed to install the Windows 7 drivers for the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 using Windows 7 compatibility mode, but that required using a device manager and disabling what the driver thought was a second monitor. Even then, resolution maxed out at 1600 by 900. This is a minor issue, but hardware-specific drivers should come preinstalled.

Backing up and controlling the RX4100 remotely via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is easy; however, any NAS or server product above the consumer level allows direct use so that you can troubleshoot or configure the device while the network is down.

Performance

The configuration reviewed here includes four 2TB, enterprise-class Western Digital WD2009FYPX hard drives in a RAID 5 array (5TB usable of the 8TB capacity). Benchmark results identify it as the fastest NAS we've tested on two counts, and the second-fastest NAS we've tested overall. It wrote our 10GB mix of files and folders at 41.8 megabytes per second and read them at a speedy 53.7 MBps, the latter earning it a first-place showing. In the real world, that means documents and databases will open faster.

The RX4100's reading of our single large 10GB file proceeded at 96.5 MBps--a nice clip, but it wrote the same file at a blistering 96.4MBps--another record. The write speed bodes particularly well for rapidly backing up the PCs over your network. Speaking of backups, the RX4100 natively supports bare-metal backup for 25 PCs on the network, and Western Digital offers KeepVault online backup for storing those backups safely in a remote location, but at extra cost.

The RX4100 runs Windows Storage Server 2008 Essentials. Being a subset of Microsoft's full server operating system, Essentials has a somewhat Spartan feature set. But it does support Active Directory via joining a domain, it has a nice dashboard app for PCs that lets you view the current state of the box, and it requires no CD to set up, as older versions did. You surf to the RX4100's IP address (add \setup) and get started.

The Sentinel RX4100 is an affordable and fast entry-level rack-mount NAS. Aside from its port array, its faults are minor. It's more than suitable for SMB file sharing, and it's particularly good for backups.

WD Sentinel RX4100 Expert Verdict »
Pentium processor
128MB RAM, 256MB RAM required for iSCSI targets
prior 0.687x all network cards supported by FreeBSD 6.2, from 0.687x all network cards supported by FreeBSD 6.3
CD-rom/DVD-rom drive
keyboard and monitor
bootable hard-drive or compact flash, USB flash drive - minimum 64MB
any size storage media
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The Sentinel RX4100 is an affordable and fast entry-level rack-mount NAS. Aside from its port array, its faults are minor. It's more than suitable for SMB file sharing, and it's particularly good for backups.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Buffalo TeraStation Pro II Rackmount review

    Buffalo TeraStation Pro II Rackmount

    The Buffalo TeraStation Pro II Rackmount comprises four disks, RAID, enjoys good management and okay software, and it all comes at a bargain price.

  • QNAP TS-419P+ review

    QNAP TS-419P+

    The QNAP TS-419P+ Turbo NAS is a solid four-bay NAS drive enclosure for SOHO and the home, whose ARM processor makes it more efficient and affordable than the company's Intel-powered large business models.

  • QNAP TS-1079 Pro review - business NAS is powerful and well specified

    QNAP TS-1079 Pro - business NAS is powerful and well specified

    A powerful and well specified NAS aimed at business use, here's our QNAP TS-1079 Pro review, with QNAP TS-1079 Pro speed benchmarks and test results.

  • Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 review

    Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

    A beefy and well-designed piece of hardware, the Sentinel DX4000 represents a good effort, but it doesn't deliver enough on performance or features.

  • QNAP Turbo NAS TS-419U review

    QNAP Turbo NAS TS-419U

    With a multitude of software options and strong support for VMware and Hyper-V, the QNAP Turbo NAS TS-419U appliance can play many roles in a growing small business.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, price and specs UK: Is this the actual Note 4 - video

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

How Ford designs next-generation cars at its Melbourne Design Centre

IDG UK Sites

iPhone 6 release date, rumours, video, UK price & images: iPhone launch event confirmed for 9...