Active Storage claims that its XRAID boxes are "an evolution in storage for Apple users." With far prettier looks than other models, a Mac OS native suite of configuration and monitoring applications, and at least a commitment to this very vertical market, what we have in our midst is a very welcome alternative to what Apple thrusts upon us, which is Apple's tweaked version of Promise's Vtrack chassis.
From an economic perspective, this will mean a hopefully cheaper box for admin and integrators alike.
Apple's blessed version of the Promise VTrak have to get shipped from Promise to Apple, where they get fitted with special drives and firmware, and then are offered to sales channels with Apple's traditional razor-thin margin. The Active Storage XRAID, however, will be offered through authorized resellers, allowing much higher margins for those resellers. In the long term, this should mean that even though Active have MSRPs that mimic their Promise cousins, street prices for these boxes may be substantially lower.
It's no secret that the aim of Active is to provide a better box than Promise. The box specifications are almost identical as are their MSRPs. So the question then remains, does the XRAID hold up in real-world performance?
Well, to answer that question, some bold marketers at Active surrendered a box, early off the production line, to Meta Media and our unflinching test lab. Here then, is a summary of what we discovered in our 72 hours with the box.