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Tue, 22 Feb 2005

Why Tritton NAS sucks

— SjG @ 5:15 pm

Gonna buy a Network Storage Device?

Here’s my recommendation: avoid Tritton’s NAS at pretty much all costs.

The device is flaky at best, even with the latest firmware. Samba-mounted connections don’t always get properly updated when there are filesystem changes. User permission settings seem to work based on the values you enter … but only when the moons of Jupiter are aligned.

Some people claim that they’ve been able to get the NFS implementation to work; I have failed from both Mac OS and from Linux. I don’t claim to be an NFS wizard, but I’ve been able to get it to work with many an operating system in the past. No dice here.

Tritton’s tech support is useless (but does contain priceless FAQs like “You may notice that folders begin to reproduce, disappear, or rename themselves on the storage device. This may also result in data loss that is unrecoverable,” with the solution to upgrade the firmware).

The device is only configurable through a web interface, which would be OK if they didn’t use a lot of un-necessary proprietary crap that prevents it from working with anything other than IE 5 or 6 on a Windows PC. Got a network with only Macs and Unix machines? Sorry, you’re just out of luck.

To make matters worse, they’re violating the GPL, and not releasing the source to their kernel modifications. So even if you want to fix the problems yourself, you can’t.

Getting a Snap appliance is certainly more expensive than a Tritton. But at least it’ll support RAID (and you should use raid. Really. Trust the sad voice of experience.). And Snap appliances actually work as advertised.


8 responses to “Why Tritton NAS sucks”

  1. Bob Chmara says:

    My experience is similar. Reliability is poor at best. It would work fine for a while, and then suddenly become inaccessible. Sometimes rebooting worked, sometimes I’d have to use the admin interface to get it back on line. Today, it may have bit the dust for good. None of the shares were accessible, and the admin interface stopped responding. Fortunately, everything was backed up. Maybe I can salvage the hard drive.

    And the admin interface is lousy. Besides being IE specific, the navigation is poor. On top of all that, it’s ugly too.

    I bought a LinkSys StorageLink NSLU2 about three months ago. The admin interface is better than Tritton’s, but by no means great. So far it has been reliable. While I’d like a higher end NAS device, I simply don’t have that kind of money to spend on a home network.

  2. Celtic says:

    I cannot confirm the observation about the user permission settings. The settings work fine. There are no problems.

    NFS has been updated from NFSv1 to NFSv3 in firmware 1.50. Perhaps SjG are related to this?

    About the comment about Trittons Web Site: Well, sometimes the solution is simply to upgrade the firmware. If a new firmware fixes a bug, then that’s what you should do (as you do with your PC when it comes to software updates). I actually think that Trittons Web Site is well build in terms of the knowledgebase.

    I am in agreement about the MSIE only compatibility of the web interface. This is definitely a major downside. This affects the configuration of the NAS, not the network access to shared folders.

    The Source Code has been released on a different site. Everybody who is interested may download the Linux source from here:
    http://www.claxan.com/drivers/nas110v152src.zip

    About SjG’s comment about RAID. Well, that surely is nice. But then you are talking about a completely different type of product, which will cost a lot more.

    Summary:
    The product has its flaws. There is a lot of room for improvement. The biggest downside in my optinion is the poor data throughput. Don’t expect more than 16 Mbps when reading/writing. The configuration requires MSIE (or Opera in MSIE Mode). The reason for that is beyond me, specially for a plattform independent device such as NAS.
    Another problem is the usage in a mixed environment of Windows/Linux and MacOS systems. As long as the Windows/Linux machines do not make any changes to the file names or directory names and have read only access you are fine. However, if you rename a file under Windows, the MacOS system will not be able to access the shared folder anymore. The reason for that lies in the MacOS file system which depends on a hidden “directory” file in each folder. In that file MacOS stores information about the files and folders present in that directory. And if changes are made, MacOS also updates the “directory” file. Now, if a Windows machin changes a file name this change is not being made to that file and therefore the MacOS system will produce a lot of errors when accessing the folders.

    Some other negative comments above are very subjective (like ugly interface? Seen way worse than that) and should not neccesarily stop you from taking a look at the product.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Eric de Waal says:

    I use the Tritton for a week now and have seen many problems too.
    From my WinXP laptop it works best. FTP (using Explorer) is OK and at least NFS asks for a password when it’s set for a certain directory. However reading a large number of files via NFS (as my sync software, or my Audiotron, does) locks up after a very limited number of files (17-100).
    Form a Win2K machine everything is a lot worse. Using NFS, file copying to the unit also locks up after a while and no password is asked at all. FTP only works using FileZilla, not with Explorer, not with a sync program that ca use FTP.
    The Tritton seems to be a rebranded Argosy unit, for which I have seen similar comments.
    My opinion: it sucks!

  4. Barry says:

    As a device to store pictures and video I am not experiencing any problems. On one of my pc’s I was only able to access it via the ip address. One of the great features about the tritton that most do not have in this price range (if at all, I searched a while) is a sleep mode. Adds years of life to the hard drive.

  5. Joe says:

    I did notice duplicate folders magically appearing and sometimes an initial look at the files only showed about half that were really there… A refresh usually corrects the problem, but I hope it doesn’t get worse. How do you get this thing to sleep besides turining it off? Mine won’t.

  6. Randy says:

    My experience is more in line with yours. Celtic sounds like a tritton poster-child. I bought the box because we are a mixed PC/MAC/Linux house. My wife runs mac and does some PC work and I’m Linux.

    Here is what I found from each OS:

    Linux: I just noticed that you can use OPERA from Linux, so now I don’t have to start a vnc session or run to a pc to fiddle with the NAS, thats at least a little better. As far as using it, I really wanted to do an rdiff backup via an nfs mount, but I can’t get nfs to work reliably. And yes I tried NFS3 as well as NFS2, just like tritton had me try when I identified the problem. But the NFS mount still hangs more often than not and I have yet to get a consistant backup out of the thing.

    PC: Works ok, not backing up a large amount of files. Recognizes the SMB mount just fine.

    Mac: Works ok, again, not backing up a large amount of files, Recognizes the mounts just fine in both OS9 and OSX.

    All in all, I don’t think I’d purchase this box again given what I’ve experienced, I’d probably build my own EPIA box, do a kuro box, or something similar. I’m going to take a look at the source at the german site listed above, but I’m considering just ripping out the hard drive and going to EPIA/Kuro.

    — Randy

  7. Alvin says:

    I bought this product when it first came out, and I still think it’s a piece of crap. I wasted my money on it. It is unreliable, not supported well, and I can’t figure out how or why this company is still in business. Anyways, I popped open the case and just use the 120GB hard drive for my self. At least they went with a decent company Western Digital as the hard drive that they used in my system.

  8. Eric de Waal says:

    Further to my earlier comment, I must say that the latest firmware update (5-0607) at least solves the problem of the box locking up after reading a very limited number of files using NFS, so they are making progrss!

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