Not happy with the Buffalo Terastation III NAS

Just got an 8TB Buffalo Terastation III at work for storing research data and videos. It works more or less but there are plenty of bugs and missing features. Too late I’ve discovered that these shortcomings are mentioned in some of support forums. Maybe by including them here I can help others make a more informed decision.

  • All configuration must be done via a web interface. There is no command line interface. The web interface only works if I use the IP address, if I try to use the hostname I’m unable to log in. The Javascript used in the admin web pages makes them a bit slow.
  • Every time you change a setting all open connections are reset. Not good if someone was transferring a large file or using their share as a home directory.
  • Users and groups have to be created manually in the web interface or imported from Active Directory. There is no way to use a Linux based LDAP directory or to import an /etc/passwd file from a Unix system.
  • Permissions on the folders and files can only be set at the highest level in the web interface. Neither users nor the admin can change ownership or permissions of subfolders and files. This means that if a few users want to share the contents of a folder the admin needs to add them all to a group and then create a top level folder for which only this group has access. In order to give each user their own private folder the admin needs to give them each their own top level folder. They cannot choose to give access to any subfolders to other users. This is a lot of work for the admin and forces them to create a new top level folder for every new user/project/set of permissions.
  • If you connect by SFTP you will not be able to access folders for which you have access via a group. The system will ignore the fact that you belong to certain groups and will deny access to folders which that group should be allowed to access. To access them the admin must give access to individual users, not groups. This is only a problem for SFTP, not for Samba or AFP shares.
  • SFTP doesn’t provide all the expected features, for instance it doesn’t recognize df or allow you to list more than one subdirectory down (ls folder1/folder2 doesn’t work, you have to cd to folder1).
  • Windows shares aren’t accessible from Windows Vista or Windows 7 until you apply a change to the security settings. See the relevant post on DigitalQuery.
  • It would be nice for users to be able to login using SSL keys.
  • Firmware upgrades have to be performed from a Windows machine on the same subnet as the NAS. Not very convenient since all my machines run Linux and the NAS is locked away in a server room and connected to a different subnet.

Apparently there were ways to log into previous models via Telnet and SSH but I’m not sure about the Terastation III. See BigDiver’s blog post.

There’s a Java tool called acp_commander to enable Telnet access available from NAS Central. I haven’t been able to use this, perhaps because it’s not compatible with the Terastation III, or perhaps because my workstation is on a separate subnet from the NAS.

You can use the Terastation to rsync files from your workstation. This is actually designed to allow syncing Terastations between each other but it also works from a workstation or server. See instructions by Arne Brodowski. This works but I haven’t been able to restrict access via rsync. There’s a field to set a backup password but then I can’t perform any sync at all.

Not much info on the Buffalo forums except for comments saying that lots of features aren’t available and most likely won’t be implemented. In addition to the tech forums they have something called the Idea Exchange Lounge where users can submit feature requests but there wasn’t much about Terastations.

A post by Volker Weber explaining how to use the Terastation as an Apple Time Machine target. No idea whether this works but sounds like it’s risky. Can’t figure out whether the shares need to be mounted or if Time Machine has it’s own network protocol for transferring files.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010 at 03:19:44 Europe/London and is filed under Linux. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 6 responses

  1. About your point on Windows share aren’t accessible from Windows Vista/Windows 7, i get similar issues too. I was wondering if there are any firmware updates from Buffalo to resolve this issue.

    July 29th, 2010 | 09:37:26 Europe/London
  2. I’m currently using firmware version 1.20. There is a 1.30 available for the Terastation III Rackmount (TS-RX) and a 1.32 for the regular Terastation III (TS-XL). I think both models are identical in terms of software so I’m going to try the 1.32 and see what happens. But for now I have to apply the registry hack linked to in the post.

    July 29th, 2010 | 10:49:04 Europe/London
  3. ale

    The timemachine thing in buffalos can be tricky to setup, but once it’s set it works as expected. However, I’ve never needed to recover my computer for disc failure, and if one day I will need the backup from the network share, I hope it will be possible.

    August 29th, 2010 | 01:40:10 Europe/London
  4. Mike

    I purchased a TeraStation III for use as a Backup to Disk device for Symantec Backup Exec. I had many issues with Workgroup/Domain settings on the TeraStation, and after several calls to tech support this is what the outcome was:
    1. NT Domain, couldn’t connect
    2. Active Directory, could connect, but no users were recognized by the NAS, and only one group was recognized (Administrators). Thus, it was useless.
    3. Workgroup using an External SMB Server (the PDC), it works, but only if the NAS is accessed using the IP address (not the hostname).
    All in all, I regret having purchased the TeraStation. What a nightmare.

    November 12th, 2010 | 11:45:55 Europe/London
  5. Alex

    Did anyone manage to figure this out? I’ve been struggling to get Telnet access to my new Terastation III (version 1.30 firmware) after running the acp_commander routine but I couldn’t find any recent discussion or instructions on how to get this to work in recent months.

    June 12th, 2011 | 05:49:28 Europe/London
  6. I’ve pretty much given up on this. I contacted the acp_commander developers a while ago explaining that their tool wasn’t able to detect or unlock my Terastation. They asked me to send a tcpdump trace of a firmware update so they could see what’s going on, but I never got round to it. If you’re able to provide them with something, they may be able to help.

    June 12th, 2011 | 09:16:22 Europe/London

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