Review: The FileEngine FE1025 - Page 2

By Joseph Moran | Posted April 28, 2008

Data Redundancy

The FileEngine’s primary task is keeping company data safe and available. That means a significant portion its storage capacity is dedicated to various kinds of data redundancy, so that only 25 GB out of the original 160 GB is available to users.

While the FileEngine retains a significant percentage of potential storage, it does put the capacity to good use. In addition to the protection you get from mirrored hard drives, each shared folder on the FileEngine gets a server-based Recycle Bin capable of retaining 30 days worth of deleted files. The FileEngine also maintains a protected 14-day file archive, which makes it easy for the Key Operator to recover files that haven’t necessarily been deleted, but may have been accidentally modified and overwritten.

The FileEngine also conducts daily backups to DVD, provided that you put blank media in the drive. Depending on whether you use single-layer or dual-layer media and the compressibility of your data, anywhere from just over 4 GB to around 12 GB will fit on one DVD. (The FileEngine doesn’t span backups across multiple discs, but then someone would need to be there to feed the machine anyway).

The FileEngine also includes remote offsite storage, which provides an additional layer of security in the event that a flood, fire or other disaster destroys the server or your on-site backup disks. The Key Operator can use the FEAT utility to specify folders for remote backup.

Pricing

So what does all this cost? Well, you can’t actually buy a FileEngine server—instead it’s offered as more like a lease. A three-year service agreement includes the hardware and runs $235 per month for the FE1025 model we looked at, which comes out to a total of $8,460 -- or less than $8 per day -- over the 36 month term. (You can get yourself a discount and ante up $7,199 in advance if you prefer). Either way, the price includes an uninterruptible power supply and 100 blank dual-layer DVD discs which, unlike standard writeable DVDs, are actually quite pricey at $1-$2 each.

Beefier FileEngine models provide more storage and carry commensurately higher monthly charges ($299 and $349 for 100 GB or 200 GB of storage, respectively – they also substitute the DVD writer for a DLT tape drive.

Installation and Support

The price you pay for a FileEngine includes installation by a reseller partner or an authorized contractor. The installation process also includes six hours spent on Key Operator(s) training and integration tasks such as migrating user data and profiles from individual Windows PCs or an existing server to the FileEngine. (Since network configurations vary in complexity, some may involve an extra charge.)

Server Partners monitors all FileEngine servers remotely to make sure they’re working properly. If problems are detected, solutions can involve anything from remote remediation to overnight parts replacement coupled with an on-site visit if needed.

The catch with the FileEngine, if you can call it that, is that you can’t use it to run your own applications, like an e-mail or Web server. This is the price you pay for the FileEngine’s simplicity. However, it’s not really a weakness since most small firms prefer to outsource these services to hosting companies anyway.

Small businesses that need a reliable and uncomplicated file server aren’t likely to find a lower-cost, lower-hassle solution than the FileEngine.

Joe Moran spent six years as an editor and analyst with Ziff-Davis Publishing and several more as a freelance product reviewer. He's also worked in technology public relations and as a corporate IT manager, and he's currently principal of Neighborhood Techs, a technology service firm in Naples, Fla. He holds several industry certifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

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