Back in 2011, we took a look at the ioSafe SoloPro USB Backup Drive, which offered a lone SATA hard drive wrapped in a bombproof skeleton of steel, ceramic, and plastic. That drive was awarded a 9/Kick Ass verdict for its ability to withstand both fire and water, which is the typical outcome when a house is engulfed in flames then doused by the local fire department. IoSafe recently released a new drive with even more protection, the N2 NAS RAID, which, as its name implies, is two drives in a redundant array in a NAS box. This top-shelf storage device runs a Synology OS and comes with one year of “no questions asked” data recovery service, so you’re covered if you drop the NAS or your kid drops an ice-cream cone into it. This level of protection doesn’t come cheap though, with N2 selling as a “disk-less” shell for $600, with two 1TB drives for $900, 4TB for $1,000, 6TB for $1,500, and 8TB for $2,000. It includes a one-year hardware warranty and one year of data-recovery service, so even if both hard drives are damaged, ioSafe will pay up to $2,500 per terabyte to recover your data.
Proof that we take our hardware testing seriously.
For all those Benjamins, you receive the N2’s ability to withstand up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit (or 843 C) for 30 minutes and up to 72 hours submerged in as much as 10 feet of water. The ioSafe N2 can be set up as a “data safe,” in that it can be secured with a Kensington lock or bolted to the floor using holes located at the bottom of the drive.
The rear of the N2 features a Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports for adding more storage to your network, or for a print server. The front of the case features a USB 2.0 port, SD card reader, and a copy button that allows you to copy all the contents of a SD card or USB drive to the N2—a great feature that lets you make a quick backup without a PC. IoSafe’s N2 is based on Synology’s NAS server platform, which features a slick user interface with logical menus and an expansive software collection. Even better, no software needs to be installed in order to access the unit from any web browser to configure the drive and run applications. The software lets you run a range of utilities to stream media, download torrents, host your own web server, and a lot more.
The N2 we reviewed came with two 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda drives, and on our office network the N2 displayed decent read speeds of 62MB/s and write speeds of 71MB/s, which is a bit slower than USB 3.0 but not too shabby. To test its fireproof and waterproof claims, we placed the N2 in a BBQ pit, then after 22 minutes, we completely submerged the 28-pound NAS in a bucket of water. When we eventually removed the hard drives from the case they were completely dry and unaffected. To recover data from the ioSafe N2 with a PC, we needed to boot into Ubuntu (from a Live USB key) and follow a tutorial from the Synology FAQ, which was a lot of work and a lot more tedious than we would have liked, but it worked fine and our data was recovered.
The ioSafe N2 NAS RAID certainly kicks ass. It’s literally the surest way to keep local data safe that we have ever seen. We just wish the data recovery process were a bit easier.