To be fair, however, it does include many things home users look for in a NAS server, including the ability to work as a media-streaming server, and an FTP and Web server. It supports Time Machine backup, and it has the ability to share photos and host blogs over the Internet. However, all of its advanced features require a little networking know-how to figure out. Home users can only set the server up as a simple network storage device that hosts streamable content.
The server's Web interface could also be more responsive and intuitive. We noticed that the server requires some sort of "soft" restart when changes are applied. For example, when we added a new user, the server stopped serving data when the new user account was being created. We call it a "soft" restart because during this time, the Web interface was still working like normal. It seems that the server restarts certain or all of its services when changes to its settings are applied. This could be a nuisance when a backup is being done or a large amount of data is being transferred to or from the server.
The DNS-325 supports external hard drives formatted in either NTFS or FAT 32. Once plugged in, the content of the hard drive will be shared immediately as one volume, similar to that of the server's internal storage. The admin user then can restrict other users' access to this share; the admin can grant full access (read/write), read-only access, or no access at all. The external hard drive can also be used as a backup destination of the server's internal storage. This is a good feature, especially if you use the server in RAID 0 configuration.
Other than that, the server also allows for backing up its data to other network storage devices, such as another NAS or a computer.
Despite a few shortcomings, the ShareCenter DNS-325 shines where it matters the most: performance. It was one of the fastest among dual-bay NAS servers we've reviewed. Compared with higher-end servers, such as the Synology DS1511+ , however, it was still behind. Nonetheless, we were very happy about its throughput performance.
In our test via Gigabit Ethernet, the DNS-325 registered 32.6MBps and 70.5MBps for write and reading, respectively, with RAID 1 setup. These numbers are noticeably higher than those of a USB 2.0 external hard drive. RAID 1, or mirror, is a setup that favors data safety over the amount of storage space and performance.
In RAID 0, which is a setup that's optimized for high performance and maximum storage space at the expense of data safety, the server did even better with 36.7MBps for writing and 82.7MBps for reading.
The server gets rather warm after working for an extended amount of time, but within an acceptable level among NAS servers. It's recommended to leave it in an open, well-ventilated space.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
D-Link backs the ShareCenter DNS-325 with a three-year warranty, which is very good for a NAS server. There's good support information on the company's Web site, including downloads, FAQs, and a searchable knowledgebase. D-link's technical support phone line is also available 24-7.
We loved the ShareCenter DNS-325's fast performance, but we were let down by its lack of features and the lackluster Web interface. Nonetheless, the server will make a very good workhorse home network storage device that can also serve digital content to network streamers.