Hands On: LaCie 2big Network 2
Manufacturer: LaCie Model: 2big Network 2
Price: From $399300 Web: LaCie

hd_2bignetwork

Back in February, LaCie announced a refresh of their network storage range with updated versions of their d2 Network 2, 2big Network 2 and 5big Network 2 coming to market in advance of a Windows Home Server powered edition of the 5big Network model being released later this year. LaCie have been in the NAS market for some time now, and ever fail to release great looking hardware – in fact, the design of their various models is consistently brilliant, but how well do they perform? We’ll be checking out the full range of LaCie’s latest network storage devices, starting today with the 2big Network 2.

As signalled by the name the 2big Network 2 is a two bay network attached storage device. Sandwiched in between the cheaper, single drive d2 Network 2 and 5 bay 5big Network 2, the model is designed to offer a balance of sufficient storage capacity for most small businesses and prosumers with the features you’d expect from some of the more expensive NAS drives, including Active Directory support, Time Machine compatibility for Macs and full media serving capabilities.

Our review model is LaCie’s 2TB model with the following specification:

Capacity 2 TB
LAN 1 x Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Base-TX
Network Protocols :
File Server: SMB, AFP, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS

Others: Apple Bonjour, BitTorrent™, NTP, DHCP, Apipa

Remote Access : Via FTP or HTTP. Dynamic DNS services optional.
Expansion Ports : 1 x eSATA

1 x USB 2.0 (type A)

Burst Transfer Rate : OS with 64KB I/O – Read: up to 50MB/s; Write: up to 35MB/s

OS with 1MB I/O – Read: up to 68MB/s; Write: up to 40MB/s

RAID Modes : RAID 0, RAID 1 (hot-swappable)
Backup Solutions : PC to NAS:encrypted, compressed, scheduled, remote (FTP)

Data restore and data disaster recovery available

NAS to DAS

Special Features : Hard disk quota management

Time Machine compatible

Print server

Torrent client for standalone downloads

NTFS write support

Administration : Direct access to NAS using LaCie Network Assistant

Customizable “widget-based” interface

Wake-on-LAN: Turn the device on/off from the network

Security Access : Users, groups, and shares management

Private and public access

Active Directory support

Multimedia : UPnP A/V and DLNA Media Adapter compatible

Remote photo thumbnails; MP3 file streaming

iTunes (DAAP) server

Environment & Power : Automatic standby mode; Scheduled ON/OFF

Wake-on-LAN

Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) support

Cooling System : Ultra-quiet cooling system with self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing technology
Dimensions (WxHxD) : 91 x 200 x 172 mm / 3.5 x 7.8 x 6.7 in.
Weight : 2.63 kg / 5.8 lbs.
Internet Browsers :
Internet Explorer™ 7.0 / 8.0, Firefox™ 3.0, Safari™ 3.0, or Chrome 2.0 or higher
System Requirements : Computer with an Ethernet network adapter

Latest version of Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 / Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 / Linux 2.6

Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended

Software : LaCie Network Assistant for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Genie Backup Manager Pro software for Windows

Intego Backup Manager Pro software for Mac

What’s in the Box?

First things first – let’s get the 2big Network 2 unpacked. The product arrives in a compact, LaCie branded box with minimalist design in keeping with the design of the product itself. Full specs are listed on the side, with great photography of the product front and rear.

In the box, you’ll find:

  • LaCie 2big Network 2
  • Ethernet cable
  • USB 2.0
  • External power supply
  • Drive stand for upright use with tool
  • Utilities CD-ROM with software and User Manual
  • Quick Install Guide
  • Drawer key

Our review model actually had its drive stand pre-fitted, but you can remove it with the supplied tool if you wish to position the 2big Network 2 horizontally on the desktop.

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15 comments

  1. Thanks for the great review and all the pics. I currently have a 2 year old 4big RAID Server that does NOT support Time Machine (as far as I know). Lacie claims that this model does support time machine, but I've read that time machine only recognizes attached HD Drives, and not NAS type devices, as it sees it as a server. Can you confirm exactly what is required to get Time Machine to recognize the device? Do I have to use it via USB, or will it in fact work over the network?

    Also, I'd like to use this as a print server, which Lacie says is supported. Would I use the USB A for that?

    Thanks!

  2. I have this drive and it support time machine, you have to choose the option enable time machine for a share. Thats it

  3. I ended up purchasing the drive, Time Machine was indeed a snap to setup. I think what I have read in the past must have pertained to the first gen 2big Network, whereas this is the 2big Network 2. LaCie must have made improvements.

    I do have one frustration, though. Transferring and editing large amounts of data on the drive is very painful. I have a 500GB Hard Drive that I am trying to migrate (a full 460GB of data) to the 2big. The manual clearly says that large amounts of data should be moved with the admin File Browser utility (in the web browser). However, there is very little support for this tool. The tool provides no user feedback, such as a progress bar, error or confirmation messaging. You simply select "Copy" and hope it works, the only indication of status it to check the disk capacity to see what portion of the disk is being used as it writes the data. Multiple attempts at transferring my data has failed mid-transfer. Yet, I do not know why it keeps failing.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a more stable way of transferring large amounts of data over a network?

  4. Terry, thanks for the review. I have generally been a happy LaCie customer over the years. Their software is good, and their case designs are beautiful to look at. Your comment about fan noise concerns me. I have had a couple of LaCie devices where the fan noise was really obnoxious. Do the power saving options cause the fan to spin down, or is it unaffected by those choices?

  5. Hi Terry, we're getting this device for our office to use as an offsite backup device.

    Can anybody who has used this or similar device confirm that this device will be able to "see" our server(which is remote to the NAS) over the internet, so that we can access the files on the server that need to be backed-up onto the NAS. I'm just starting out on networking and this is the first NAS device that I'm taking such a close look at.

    As Peter has requested as well, would anybody be able to suggest a way of doing the initial transfer (approx 1TB). Doing this over the internet would be least ideal method. Your input is appreciated.

    1. Hey! Did you get it resolved. I've purchased one Lacie 2 big network and have the same problem I've made several attempts to join the drive into the domain with no sucess

      Thanks,

      Javier

      1. Hi, I have the same problem to join the drive into a Windows Server 2008 R2, including hardening the password, make changes on the AD policies but nothing works.

  6. i have had this drive for a week now and mostly happy with it. wish the manual was more specific.

    > cliff – i hated the fan noise at first, but a firmware update seems to be the thing to make it much quieter. now as loud as a mac pro running i'd say.

    > peter – i've found the best way to initially move lots of data into it is to plug the network cable directly into my computer to use 1000mb/s connection rather than 100mb/s through my router and copy through os x. i tried using the 'copy' dashboard utility to make a backup from an external usb drive plugged into the drive but this said it failed and i was unable to delete files off the drive after as it said i didn't have correct permissions. let us now if you find of any other better was to copy to the device.

    > susan – you can set this device as an ftp share which means your normal server should be able to see it over the internet. but for the initial transfer you should do it on-site as 1tb over internet would take far too long. i'm guessing that incremental backups after this over the internet would be fine though.

    1. Hi,

      you said you plugged the drive directly in your motherboards ethernet connector? Does that really work or do I need a bidirectional rj45 cable?

  7. Please anyone who owns the drive help me to confirm one problem. I am on a verge on sending it in for repairs due to a strange noise I get from the device when it is switched OFF. The sound is like a transformator buzz coming from near the fan holes (NOT the external power adapter). The noise starts as soon as I plug the power cable to the device. Before I send the drive for repairs I'd like to make sure that this is not normal. The buzzing noise is definitely audible in a quiet room. Many thanks!

  8. @Richie I just got this for my MAc network and planning to move about 400g from external HD. Figured I would use direct connect you have. Wondering if Time Machine will be able to recognize and pick up the process from there, or will I be committed to using Lacie backup utility?
    I originally started Time Machine but got a fail after only 10g of data transfer, so now am considering this route.

  9. Hi Richie!
    I'm sorry I cannot comment on your question but can you please confrm the buzzing noise problem I have explained just above your post? Many thanks!

  10. @sconz
    I'm sorry I cannot comment on your question but can you please confrm the buzzing noise problem I have explained just above your post? Many thanks!

  11. What are these like if you work on files directly from the drive? Do they perform like a real server or much slower?

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