Buffalo Technology has become the latest vendor to take rack-mounted NAS (Network-attached storage) to the masses, announcing a new server series, the TeraStation Pro II Rackmount.

The Gigabit Ethernet boxes come in three capacities – 1, 2, and 4TB – but are otherwise identical to one another, featuring a standard 2U form factor in a 19-inch mounting.

The servers support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 (RAIDs 0 and 1), as well as Active Directory integration, integrated FTP capability and two USB ports for adding backup drives. The servers also support an ancient but possibly useful Gigabit Ethernet standard called Jumbo Frames, which optimises data transfers if a packet size of above 1,500 bytes is used.

The 2U devices appear to have been carefully priced to undercut other entry-level NAS boxes on price. The 1TB version has a quoted street price of around £431 (including VAT), which puts it on par with a similar device from Linksys that is just a chassis without storage added. The 2TB version costs £638, and the 4TB £1,172, again some way under the price asked by both Linksys, Netgear and Iomega for the same capacities.

Why would an SME buy one of these over a conventional free-standing low-end NAS? Apart from the ability to increase capacity as required, racks suit companies that like to lock servers in glass cabinets for reasons of security. They can also be easier to manage remotely if the whole rack is filled with systems using one management interface.

"With the growing need to store more and more data, the TeraStation Pro II Rackmount provides the market with a secure solution that can be integrated into an existing server room allowing business users to add additional storage without breaking the bank," says Buffalo's product manager, Gerardine Lynch.

Having conquered the rack, the next frontier for low-end rack NAS is resilience – few have much beyond the ability to hot-swap drives in the basis of the RAID configuration being used. Redundant power supplies and mainboards are all for future products.

A full chart comparing the TeraStation Pro II Rackmount series and other, non-rack, versions is available on the Buffalo website.