On a recent business trip to California I made a hasty technology purchase that I regret. Hopefully by writing about it I can spare someone else the same mistake.
The Netgear Storage Central SC101 seems to be a network storage device (NAS) but it is not. It's actually a storage area network (SAN) device. That's neat, but the packaging never uses the word "SAN" and instead touts that it uses "standard TCP/IP-based" networking. It also says that its provides storage to "all PCs on your network."
The latter statement is false. It only works with recent versions of Windows. If "all your PCs" include Mac, Linux, or older Windows system stay far, far away from this product. It requires special drivers that are not available for other platforms. And without these drivers, your systems simply cannot communicate with the box.
I sure did feel like a sucker when I realized all this. Then I took a closer look at the box and realized that the wording was purposefully vague about exactly what the product is. It's really pretty neat that they are selling a SAN for such a low price, and one that works with an ethernet connection, so it's odd that "storage area network" never appears anywhere. Just to confirm my mistake, and see if there was any workarounds available, I went online and did some searching. (Yes, I should have done this before I bought the thing. My bad.)
What I found was that I'm not alone in feeling deceived and disappointed. There are a few who like the Storage Gear SC101, and many who share my view. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon to see the diversity of opinion.
As they say, buyer beware.
Sunday; January 29, 2006 Update
Case in point, today's CompUSA newspaper ad circular lists the Storage Central for a good price, $99, but identifies it as a Network Attached Storage device. Wrong, wrong, wrong.