Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System review:

Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System

What is not ambiguous, however, is the way the GoFlex Home manages data. The server offers two types of share folders: public and private. The public share folder's name is "GoFlex Home Public," which, by default, gives everybody full access to it. The private share folder's name is "GoFlex Home Personal," to which only the currently logged-in user has access.

If you want to use a GoFlex Desk external hard drive already containing data as storage for the GoFlex Home NAS server, existing data on the GoFlex Desk will be shared as subfolders of the default public share folder.

Other than these two default share folders, there is also "External Storage" for content of the external hard drive connected to the server's USB port and "GoFlex Home Backup" that contains the backups of network computers. You can create more folders within these default shares but you can't create new shares.

Out of the box, the GoFlex Home allows for five user accounts. An admin user can add, change, and remove more users and determine whether a user has access to the public share folder. For more users, you have to opt for the Seagate Share Pro subscription that costs $19.99 a year after a 30-day free trial.

Apart from increasing the amount of user accounts to unlimited, the premium service allows for secure FTP, accessing and sharing the data stored on the server via a mobile phone, and Flickr integration. Depending on the type of data, you can view it as a photo album or play back audio and video files. You can also use the service to integrate social Web sites, such as Facebook and Flickr, with the digital content on the NAS server.

The GoFlex Home comes with a vendor-assisted remote access via the Seagateshare Web site. At this site, a user can sign in by entering the NAS server's unique name, username, and password, and access data stored on the server as well as access the server's Web interface, similar to how it is done via the local network.

We tried this out and while it worked as intended, its initial loading time was rather long--up to a minute. However, the load time depends on the Internet connection at both ends and the router to which the GoFlex Home is connected to.

The GoFlex Home can handle external hard drives formatted in both FAT32 and NTFS. Once plugged in, the hard drive's content is immediately shared as "External Storage" and its content is made available to all users.

Unfortunately, you can't use the connected USB external hard drive as the destination to back up the data stored on the server's main hard drive. This means it's not safe to use the server's included storage to store important data.

The GoFlex Home offered mixed performance in our testing. On one hand, it was the fastest among single-volume NAS servers in the read test with a score of 453.8Mbps, which was significantly faster than the runner-up, the Verbabtim MediaShare with a score of 435.1Mbps.

On the other hand, in the write test, the GoFlex registered just 152.7Mbps, which was the second slowest on our charts.

What's interesting is unlike the GoFlex Desk external hard drive, the GoFlex Home NAS server remained cool even during heavy loads.

CNET Labs NAS performance scores
( (Via wired Gigabit Ethernet connection))
Vebatim MediaShare
My Book World Edition

Service and support
Seagate backs the GoFlex Home Network Storage System with a two-year warranty. Generally, we like to see a longer warranty period; however, considering that most NAS servers from other manufacturers come with just a one-year warranty, this is still relatively generous. Seagate's Web site contains a comprehensive list of forums, knowledge bases, driver downloads, installation help, and FAQs to help you troubleshoot your NAS server. The company's technical support is also available via live chat, e-mail, and phone from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT weekdays.

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