For any small business that wants to centrally store, share, and protect their important data, a good NAS device is all but a no-brainer. In this review, we take a closer look at the capabilities and performance of the LaCie 2big NAS. LaCie’s newest NAS looks much like its predecessor the 2big Network 2, but under the hood there are improvements including a faster (2GHz) processor, higher capacities and new features.
NAS Specs and Setup
The 2big NAS is a compact two-bay device with the familiar and elegant LaCie design cues -- specifically, an upright gray aluminum chassis and a large glowing blue orb indicator light/button front and center. That blue orb is the only item you’ll find on the front of the device; the rear of the 2big NAS provides connectivity -- one Gigabit Ethernet, one eSATA, and one USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 would have been nice) along with access to access to the drive bays. In addition to external storage, the USB port supports (some) printers and uninterruptible power supplies.
Figure 1: The 2big NAS’ compact aluminum chassis features a prominent button/indicator light on the front panel.
The drive bays, which support hot swapping, feature sturdy metal trays that latch into place. They don’t lock, though -- you can unlatch the trays using a coin if the small plastic tool LaCie provides for this purpose isn’t handy. While convenient, this ease of drive removal means that you may want to keep the 2big NAS in a secure area.
The 2big NAS comes in three flavors -- 4 TB and 6 TB for $499 and $649, respectively, plus a diskless model that costs $209. (LaCie provides a fairly extensive list of compatible drives.) The 2big NAS devices come out of the box configured in RAID 1 for data redundancy, so their usable storage is roughly half the advertised capacity.
Our 6 TB test unit, which held a pair of 7,200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives, had about 2.7 TB available (you lose a couple hundred MB to the operating system). You can also opt to reconfigure the 2big NAS as RAID 0 to use the full storage capacity, but since this provides no protection against data loss, doing so is inadvisable unless you regularly back up the unit’s contents.
Getting the 2big NAS up and running is quick and easy. A few minutes after connecting the unit to the network and powering it on, we reached it by pointing a Web browser to http://Lacie-2big-nas.local. After we set an administrator password and configured the time, the 2big prompted us about an available firmware update, which it proceeded to download and install automatically. LaCie also includes a Network Assistant utility (available for Windows, Mac and Linux) that can detect the 2big on a network and provide access to shared folders.