The Adaptec SnapServer has all manner of bells and whistles and is built around a 1GHz processor, 256MB of RAM and its very own Operating System, GuardianOS.

More like a network-attached minicomputer than just a hard drive, it also has a heavy-duty built-in cooling fan that's unfortunately a noisy beast, although it powers down to a standstill when it's not needed.

Set-up can be straightforward if you choose the option based on the generation of an automatically created IP address, after which you can use a Web browser to link to the Snap Server's default URL.

The more effective option is to use the Snap Server Manager software, which has the advantage of displaying the device as a regular hard drive on the network, as well as enabling easy firmware updates and advanced hard drive management features.

Pick a flavour

One advantage of the Snap Server 110 is its multilingual abilities. As well as being on speaking terms with Windows PCs, it can integrate seamlessly with computers running Linux, Unix and even Apple OSes, making it a solid choice if you run different flavours of computer and want to share a single NAS drive between them.

There's even support for the iSCSI (Internet SCSI) standard, which enables secure storage and distribution of block data across an Ethernet network using this protocol.

However, as with the wealth of automated back-up and anti-virus options also bundled with the drive like BakBone NetVault and CA eTrust, you have to pay extra for the privilege of unlocking and licensing the add-on goodies. Unless you're a serious business user, the level of complexity and cost outweighs the advantages.