When you connect a USB external hard drive to the server's front USB port, the NAS will automatically create a new public share for the device's storage. There's no way to limit access to this share. The server supports external hard drives formatted using either NTFS or FAT32, both read and write.
Overall, though this way of managing shares is limited, it's much simpler than that of many other advanced NAS servers and works well for home users.
The LaCie Network Space 2 offers a limited Download feature where the server can download files on its own from the Internet. It can't download from sites that require authentication, however. The server also has support for iTunes and UPnP media streaming servers. You can turn this feature on or off without being able to further customize from which folder the digital content will be shared, how often newly added content will be included in the share list, etc.
The NAS server's most impressive feature is its ability to support Apple's Time Machine. You can assign this feature to the OpenShare share folder or to each user account. After that, any Mac running OS X 10.5 or later in the network will be able to hook its Time Machine back up feature to the storage on the NAS servers.
For PC users, the LaCie Network Space 2 comes with Lacie Backup Genie, which is a wizard-driven and comprehensive backup application. The software allows you to back up just predefined important data from any folder you choose. It also allows for scheduled automatic backups and quick data recovery.
Even with support for Apple's Time Machine (which many other NAS servers lack), the LaCie Network Space 2 is probably the NAS server with the fewest features we've seen in the last two years.
We were not disappointed or impressed by the LaCie Network Space 2's performance. In our testing, the NAS server seems to be on average among single-volume NAS servers. The LaCie Network Space 2 scored 146.8Mbps in our Write test, faster than the 120.1Mbps of the My Book World Edition but much slower than 341.8Mbps of the HP MediaSmart Server LX195. In our Read test, the NAS server did much better with 280.6Mbps, compared with 206.6 of the My Book World Edition. Still, this was in no way close to the 393.7Mbps of the LX195.
The LaCie Network Space 2's Web interface was also sluggish at times. During operation, the NAS server got a little warm during heavy operation. It did, however, remain quiet.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
LaCie backs the LaCie Network Space 2 with a two-year warranty, which is longer than what many other NAS servers offer. The warranty covers both parts and labor. Telephone support is offered Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. At LaCie's Web site, you can download software that accompanies the device. There you'll also find its GPL source code, and you can access documentation, a knowledge base, FAQs, and other ways to contact Lacie.