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Data Storage IT

The Yellow Machine in Review 265

We recently had in the office one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions. The Yellow Machine, in a nutshell, is a pretty looking machine roughly the size of a decent UPS box that's got either 1 TB or 1.6 TB of storage space, with the all RAID fun and such. We ran with it here for about a month or so. My impressions are below.

So, the machine itself is, well, uh, cute. Bright yellow, good clear display lights so that you can see traffic on the different drives. The drives themselves are IDE drives, so yeah, you don't get the speed of SCSI, but frankly, if you are looking for 1.6 TB of SCSI, you probably need to look at jbods or the like. But since the unit is really designed to be an office storage environment, that's probably just fine.

Feature-wise, the unit has almost everything that you want. What is interesting to me, that I haven't seen in many NAS units is that it's got a double firewall. The interface for handling network isn't quite as nice, as say, a wireless unit, but it's decent. You can have the machine sit as your connection to your WAN (it handles DHCP, static IP) do port-forwarding and all those other fun things. The primary problem that I had was actually the config of first getting it setup, but that didn't take much time once I actually read the manual. *grin* It will also do web-access controls for users, monitor e-mails sent, a whole slew of other stuff.

The network support is robust. It does SMB/NFS, and supports Windows and Mac as desktop clients, and does indeed work under Linux as well based on my testing. All of the interface work is done via HTTP so as long as you've got a somewhat recent flavor of web browser, you'll be dandy although it's optimized for IE6. The unit is surprisingly quiet - many times, while I was at my desk (it sat under there) I forgot it was there and kicked it over. It still works fine after that, BTW.

In terms of speed and performance, nothing hugely different then normal network file transfers, but that's more a function of network traffic/speed then anything else. The device handled multiple people using (it has permissions built-in) easily, and did uploads & downloads of big VOB files, MP3 directories, normal files - it shrugged it off. The major issue is pricing; the 1 TB is about $1300. Now, for the DIY crowd, yes, using Linux you could very easily put together a RAID 5, 1 TB machine for not that much more -- and you are probably going to do it anyway. But for the target market, especially situations in which the IT resources are limited, it's a great machine for the ease of setting it up. And since it supports doing automated back-ups as well as has the serial port to work with a UPS system, you don't have to worry about the whole crapping out and losing all of your data. All in all, a great unit. Price is a concern, but a minor one.

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The Yellow Machine in Review

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    8/10 :)
  • WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrtroy ( 640746 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:23AM (#14147072)
    I am not going to try and understand the next few paragraphs of a review that starts with
    "with the all RAID fun and such."

    What in the hell does that mean?

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Funny)

      by hahiss ( 696716 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:30AM (#14147135) Homepage
      (Un)Surprisingly, the first sentence is completely incomprehensible:

      ``We recently had heard in the office over one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions."

      What, precisely, was it that they heard while standing over one of these machines? ;)

      Perhaps we shouldn't nit-pick, because the device is supposed to be used in an office ``environmemt"---one, presumably, that is bereft of a spell checker.

      Do they pay the editors here? With real money?
      • I read that sentence 5 times, and it still makes not sense to me.

      • Actually my guess is the spell checker was the problem.

        It looks to me like the sentence should have been:

        "We recently had here in the office..."

        He probably misspelled 'here' and the spell checker's best guess was 'heard' and he just accepted it without really looking.

        Spell check errors lead to what look like gramatical errors with correctly spelled words.

  • Er? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:23AM (#14147074)
    "We recently had heard in the office over one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions"

    Parse Error at line 1.

    Core Dump...
  • Yellow Box (Score:4, Funny)

    by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:24AM (#14147081) Homepage Journal
    Yellow Box love you LONG time!
    • Now, now, call it Cocoa [apple.com] like Apple wants you to!
    • Not quite there... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 )
      Mebbe if it had a gigabit ethernet port.

      Otherwise, it's kinda not quite there.

      Firewire and gigE are both pretty cheap these days. There's no good reason that a box like this can't have that kind of thruput. NAS doesn't have to mean slow as a snail. They could dump the 8-port switch or just have different model options.

      This could be really sweet as a MythTV repository otherise.
  • Price (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jupix ( 916634 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:25AM (#14147088)

    The major issue is pricing; the 1 TB is about $1300.
    Price is a concern, but a minor one.

    So.. You think it's a cute looking box? I think so too. In my opinion, it's quite ugly. Very pretty, if I may say so.

  • All I want in a box(en) like this are:

    1: Cheap
    2: Reliable (e.g. RAID mirroring or 5)
    3: Decent performance.
    4: No special drivers required (unlike Netgear SC101)
    5: Cheap.

    • Sorry buddy. You options are good, fast, and cheap. You can only have 2. Good luck!
    • How much is your time worth? If it's not very much, then get yourself an embedded AMD Geode board that can boot from Flash and a mini-PCI RAID card. Install Linux/BSD on the flash drive and boot from that. Run Samba and nfsd (and maybe netatalk) to serve files from the RAID array. This gives you flexibility (you can upgrade the disks whenever you want) and lowish cost (the main board will cost under $200, and the drives cost whatever you're willing to pay). Since the RAID is done in hardware, all the C
    • I'm in the same boat. That being said, I just picked up an off-lease Proliant with dual Xeon 1 gHz processors, 2 GB RAM, and 5 SCSI hard drives (RAID 5), with room for 7 more drives, redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and fans for $500. There are a LOT of massive servers coming onto the market now that were paid for with VC money during the dot-com days (5 year amortization). I'm guessing that the box we're getting was probably barely used by a dot-com with no customers and no product but with too m
  • Funny... (Score:2, Funny)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 )
    This machine's design reminds me of a toaster. They should put the floppy drive on top so it would really look like one that toasts floppies
  • Nowhere on their site does is list any support for remote authentication. If I need a cheep solution I will set up an old desktop running Linux and get a SATA RAID card.
  • by Mille Mots ( 865955 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:30AM (#14147139)
    As the day that /. jumped the shark.

    30 NOV 05: Not content with mere duplicate stories, Hemos started posting incoherent ramblings.

  • Price a problem? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WarwickRyan ( 780794 )
    $1300 isn't exactly expensive for an 1tb NAS device.
  • all start singing...."We all live in a Yellow Machine, a Yellow Machine, a Yellow Machine... haha"
  • Code, please! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:32AM (#14147160) Journal
    If I understand correctly, the user manual states that the appliance uses the Linux kernel... if this is so, has anyone found a link on their web-site to any GPL'd code included with the software updates?
    • ... and I see no reason why it wouldn't be (all the chips in this thing are likely pretty standard stuff), they could just point you at kernel.org

      If you don't modify the original you don't have to distribute the source youself, you only have to distribute the source to any changes or derrivatives. See the GPL for details. Specifically:

      c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
      to distribute corresponding source code.

      This means all they need to do is provide a link to kernel.or

      • Quoted directly off http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html [gnu.org]:
        c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

        Since the Yellow Machine is obviously commercial, are you purposely trying to troll by leaving out the latter half, or are there other versions of the GPL ou
        • Again form the same link:

          "If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code."

          Once again, all they need is to provide the link to kernel.org.

          If they didn't modify the kernel, there is no need ot distibute the sources. Such a thing would just be a wa
          • I'm not sure that bit you cited is relevant (they're not sending their customers to kernel.org for their binaries), but in any case, there is no obligation to put a "Download Source Code!" button on their website.
          • You misunderstand that part. If I offer up source on my ftp next to the binary, I've fulfilled my obligations under a), even if my clients choose not to download it. You can not point to my site to fulfill your obligations, except in the very limited c) case if you are non-commercial and have recieved the software with a written offer from b).

            I agree, 99% of the time pointing to kernel.org works. But say you download Mandriva via your club membership and send the binaries to me. You can not refer me to Mand
    • download page for the software [yellowmachine.com] not sure if it includes the source code as well or not... you have to provide the machine details on a web request form...
  • by UncleRage ( 515550 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:33AM (#14147167)
    Well, the review was super froody! Yeah, you know Linux was mentioned and that was neat. I read it on a pretty modern webbrowser, but I suppose that IE would've been great, too.

    The reviewer spent some time talking about things, which was cool in my book. At one point, I actually considered looking into one of the technical things mentioned, but didn't as it would've broken the flavor of the review.

    All in all, it was a pretty fun review -- I had some laughs and a couple of good cries. For the DIY crowd, you could google the info yourself -- which, you'll probably do anyhow. But for the Suits who want to spend some money and not learn much (much less than say... the spec sheet: http://www.anthologysolutions.com/products/P400T_D ataSheet.pdf [anthologysolutions.com] -- or even the basic breakdown: http://www.anthologysolutions.com/products/index.h tm [anthologysolutions.com] ) then, hey give this rather cute review a shot!

    Thanks for the darling review. I feel much peppier now. =/
    • I saw a review of a review on slashdot today. I got to say, all-in-all, it was good but short. Length was a issue, but not a major one. If it was to I read it long, then short is better *grin*.

      Duplication of the previous style, with a side of satire was nice. Personally, I love the freeing ability that not having to spell/grammer check allows me to review. Kind of like driving in Italy.

      To all you reviewers of reviewers of reviewers out there, I'd say give it a shot. The cuteness and lending to overall recur
      • Snort coke in one hole and valium in another.

        That's beautiful. 8P

        Mods didn't find it funny, but I did.
  • Kano Technologies (Score:4, Informative)

    by futuresheep ( 531366 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:33AM (#14147168) Journal
    Kano Technologies sells similar products as well. We're using the 1.6 TB Xspand storage unit and are very happy with it. We use it for our daily backups, and then use tape for our weekly offsite backups. We saved a bundle of money in lisencing for our backup software by doing things this way. For a small company, it works very well.

    Kano Technologies [kanotechnologies.com]

    • Re:Kano Technologies (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 )
      I've bought a low-end Buffalo TeraStation box for home use that does a similar thing as well. Comes in 640GB, 1TB and 1.6TB sizes for (I think) $700, $1000, and don't know about the last one. Low end, cheap, runs Linux inside, so you have concat, raid1 and raid5 configuration of disks. Only thing is that the standard configuration doesn't have NFS (why, oh why?), just SMB and AppleShare. The GigE on it is useless, though. And there are plenty of hacks since the main "OS" part is really a tarball containing
  • Infrant (Score:2, Informative)

    by toasterll ( 669411 )
    I got the Infrant Redy NAS, it's a pretty nice machine. they have a new verison X6 that lets you incramentally upgrade your drives and automatically resizes your volume. It's also nice to buy the machine with no drives and upgrade that when you can afford it.
  • by Evro ( 18923 ) <evandhoffman@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:40AM (#14147225) Homepage Journal
    We recently had heard in the office over one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions.

    The device handled multiple people using (it has permissions built-in) eaisly, and do uploads & downloads of big VOB files, MP3 directories, normal files - it shrugged it off.

    These "sentences" are embarrassing. What happened to proofreading? Seriously, you guys beg for test hardware to play with, and then you write a review that's barely English? Come on. We all have deadlines, but is it too much to ask that the editor proofread his own work to make sure it's coherent?
    • ...did uploads & downloads of big VOB files, MP3 directories...
      I think it's more embarrassing that a /. editor is admitting to the world that he tested a freebie(?) product with his mp3 & ripped dvd collection.

      Shame on Hemos for encouraging internet piracy.

      And for everyone who's going to pretend it was his legal collection: sure, yea, right. Because I rip all my mp3s and dvd's to disk at work./i>
  • by dennism ( 13667 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:40AM (#14147226) Homepage
    The major issue is pricing; the 1 TB is about $1300.

    Price is a concern, but a minor one.

    So, which is it?
  • I saw one of these at a place I worked at:Buffalo systems [buffalotech.com] ... little less flashy on the presentation but nonetheless does its job... also with a 1Tb at $1000, i think it's a better deal
  • Second Language (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nephroth ( 586753 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:45AM (#14147273)
    In addition to being nearly incomprehensible, this review is also fairly useless. You told us that a NAS device attaches to the network and stores things.

    I don't really think anyone in the slashdot crowd expected it to not do that.

    Generally, a hardware review contains at least some sort of benchmarks or some gauge of performance. The closest you came to this was "I kicked it and it didn't break" and "It was kind of easy to use."

    If you're going to review hardware, why don't you look up some other reviews for related hardware and try to structure yours in a similar manner. That way, you might actually offer some useful information.

    • The content of your comment combined with your sig, I have to ask: Are you Maddox?

      Thanks for the comment, I needed a good laugh.. seeing as how my office is slowly filling with water right now..
  • "We recently had heard in the office over one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions..."

    "Over?" I don't want to sound like a typical /. pedant, but c'mon, guys, a little editing won't kill you.
  • UPS box (Score:4, Funny)

    by number6x ( 626555 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:47AM (#14147296)

    When I first read the words "about the size of a ups box" I pictured one of those big brown metal boxes you put packages in for pickup by UPS.

    If I wanted something that huge for storage, I'd get an AS/400.

    So I'm sorry I misunderstood you Hemos. When you said UPS box, you meant UPS box, not UPS box. My mistake.


  • roughly the size of a decent UPS box

    What the hell does that mean? I have seen many "decent" UPS units, ranging in size from an oversized power strip up to roughly 20U sized. Now I'm not sure I trust the rest of the review, as any halfway knowledgeable IT person understands that the size of an UPS is entirely dependent on needs dictated by (load * time). There are so many comparisons available, and he managed to pick the one that is utterly meaningless.

    • The size shouldn't matter anyway, as you can put it anywhere you want - the cable that it comes with is as long as a piece of string!
      • The size shouldn't matter anyway, as you can put it anywhere you want - the cable that it comes with is as long as a piece of string!

        heh. Indeed, size and placement are inconsequentialities. The most important characteristic is clearly given: it's yellow

  • Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:49AM (#14147318) Homepage
    It was just so bad, I had to sig it.
  • by Jim Buzbee ( 517 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:51AM (#14147333) Homepage
    I also reviewed this machine in an article on TomsNetworking. My review included fun things like pulling the power from one of the RAID drives while streaming a movie, comparative performance graphs, etc.

    Here's [tomsnetworking.com] my review.
    • by BushCheney08 ( 917605 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @12:05PM (#14147491)
      Thank you for what appears to be a more thorough review. And extra special thanks for a lead-off sentence that actually makes sense!
    • Nice review, the picture of the back panel was kinda nifty.

      Something that's bothered me about the Tom's group of sites is that they don't have a printer friendly link.


      I mean, I know you want maximum ad impressions, but no one can easily print this stuff out and show it to their boss. That and the irritating "Continued" links, which makes the table of contents pretty worthless.

      Maybe I'm the only one who gets annoyed by this, but it's something y'all should consider
    • From your review:
      I tried to do my duty as a diligent reviewer and visit some adult web sites to see how well the proxy blocked them.

      "But honey, it's necessary for a hardware review for Tom's! Obviously since you can see the buxom lass holding the grapefruit, this product has failed my tests..."

    • The bloody thing comes with _gcc_ installed!!! AAARGH! Who the hell would ever, in their right mind, put a compiler on a networked server?! How kind of them, although I'd have preferred to find ready made RPM spec files for well known rootkits!
  • Tom's Networking: (Score:5, Informative)

    by ltwally ( 313043 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:52AM (#14147340) Homepage Journal
    There is perhaps a better review at Tom's Networking [tomsnetworking.com].

    Here is a quote of their conclusion:
    The Yellow Machine's RAID features can bring a greater degree of confidence in the safety of your data than you might find in an inexpensive consumer NAS device. In addition, the flexibility of its built-in switch and router bring extra capabilities to the table in a compact form-factor.

    But the Yellow Machine misses the mark on a number of points, especially its primary value-proposition of being an all-in-one box for small-office users. If all you want is a basic NAT firewall, the Yellow Machine will probably suit you. But its use of a proxy that is limited only to email and web protection (and buggy at that) will give you fits if you want to limit what users can do on the Internet. Frankly, you'd be a lot better served buying a $40 router and just setting the Yellow Machine to Storage mode.

    But even as a NAS, the Yellow Machine fails to match up to RAID competion like Buffalo's TeraStation and Infrant's ReadyNAS due to its missing print server, inability to connect to USB-based storage devices and missing support of user file access via FTP and HTTP.

    The bottom line is that the Yellow Machine's relatively high cost, merely modest performance, and problematic proxy behaviors should cause prospective purchasers to think twice before buying.

    For my money, looks like I'll be investigating other products, first.
    • But, (and this is a big "but"), did Tom's Hardware get paid to write a stellar review of an average computer in a yellow case? I bet that they didn't. Slashdot is lacking something called "journalistic integrity" which many people these days don't really care about, which is why the "reviews" were so much different. As with most mysteries of modern life, the answer can be found by following the money.
  • I'm looking at the picture and it looks like a solid front-plate. I don't care how many fans you use, you can't pull air through a solid piece of plastic. Meager ventilation equals burnout city. Poor design. It may be a month, it may be a year but those drives will fail before the box is removed for obsolescence.
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:57AM (#14147398) Journal
    Why would you put a NAS and a firewall/router on the same piece of hardware? I'm looking at NAS solutions right now and the LAST place I would put 1TB of corporate data is within reach of the T1.

    Nice product by the looks of it, but I can't see myself ever buying one.
    • Yes. You are missing something. A Firewall [google.com] is not defined as "an interface within reach of the T1" Also Firewall is not synonymous with router, as in Firewall/Router. In fact, I would say exactly the opposite: I would never put a NAS on my network directly, and therfore only behind some kind of Firewall.
      • A Firewall is not defined as "an interface within reach of the T1"

        Not by definition, but where else would you put it? I've always put my firewalls at the front door of the network, AKA within reach of the T1.

        Also Firewall is not synonymous with router, as in Firewall/Router

        Ssince one often performs some function of the other, it makes sense to filter and route packets through the same box. therefore, we have a box that gets labeled Firewall/Router, because it does both.

        I would never put a NAS on my networ
  • Network Client Support
    -Windows? 2000, XP
    -Mac OS X or greater
    -Unix or Linux via NFS
    "Windows? The answer is 'damn straight'! 2000 and the XP to be exact."
    "We won't just stop with OS X. We give
    greater coverage - all the way up to OS Z!"
  • $1:GB is Cheap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
    1.3TB for $1300 is cheap. Just the cheapest 300GB EIDE drives (x4, max on cheap IDE) cost $104, at least $516 - for 1.2TB, 100GB less than the Yellow. The HW for the rest of the machine is probably at least another $500, for $950. If you can put one of these boxes together and install the OS and SW (assuming yours will be as good) in under 3 hours, you probably can charge at least $100:h at work. And there's tech/customer support. This box seems like a good deal, without hassle, with little markup.
  • The major issue is pricing; the 1 TB is about $1300. Now, for the DIY crowd, yes, using Linux you could very easily put together a RAID 5, 1 TB machine for not that much more -- and you are probably going to do it anyway. But for the target market, especially situations in which the IT resources are limited, it's a great machine for the ease of setting it up.

    How about Openfiler [openfiler.org]? Not quite DIY, probably a decent compromise.

    And since it supports doing automated back-ups as well as has the serial port

  • by sys49152 ( 100346 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @12:30PM (#14147748)
    First off, who wrote this review? Sounds to me like an Anthology Solutions employee trying to be all slashdotty.

    I just looked at the specs for this and am not that impressed. Like many other NAS devices, they claim OS/X support, but support is not via AFP. Though their docs make no mention of it, the YellowMachine is almost certainly running SAMBA only, and OS/X support is also through SAMBA. The problem with this is primarily long filenames. Try backing up your music collection to a SMB/CIFS box, and you'll see what I mean. IMHO, if you don't have AFP support, then you don't support Macs.

    Similarly, there's no support for rsync or (given what Tom's Networking has to say [tomsnetworking.com]) file access via FTP or HTTP. And this may be just me, but who wants a router, DHCP server, a firewall, and a proxy server embedded in a NAS box? And $1300? That's cheap?

    I recently purchased a RAID enabled SOHO NAS appliance. I spent a long time figuring out exactly what was needed in a mixed OS/X, Windows, Linux environment. I picked the Infrant ReadyNAS [infrant.com] box. You can see my blog entry [wanderingbarque.com] on this subject for details as to why. In short: support for SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, rsync, webdav, and FTP. Support for UPS devices. Support for Gigabit Ethernet. Very good documentation and an even better (employee active) user forum. And I got a TB of storage (650MB after RAID 5 formatting) for $1,000.
  • Am I the only one reminded of the Banana product line? Not that I want to make any comparisons...

    http://www-i5.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/mbp/bloom/ [rwth-aachen.de]
  • We recently had heard in the office over one of the Yellow Machine that's made by Anthology Solutions.

    what the hell does that sentance mean?
  • My last experience with a RAID array: A client wanted to use a multidisk SCSI cabinet array for his server (although really all he needed was a few RAIDed drives in the case). After testing the configuration I passed along the info: the RAID arrays works great, but it was completely unfeasible to use in his office due to the fact that it sounded like a jet engine firing up.

    Can anyone comment on the volume level of this array? Quiet, loud? Quiet enough for a server room but too loud for an office desk?
  • by cypherz ( 155664 ) * on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @01:18PM (#14148249)
    "Worst /. Story of 2005"

    This story is currently nominated for "Worst Slashdot Story of 2005" and unless a Katrina-scale woofer of a story comes along in the next month, this little slice of junior-high blather will easily take the prize. I wonder if Hemos actually _read_ this story before posting it? (Hemos: did you write this? Or just post it?) As many others have pointed out, the first sentence doesn't even parse in English! I might be wrong, but I'm assuming that Hemos' native language is English because most of the not-english-as-first-language-having folks I've met can express themselves MUCH better than Americans who grew up with English. Not meaning to flame Americans (I'm from Mississippi after all...) but the state of written communication in the USA seems to be declining proportionally to the rise in blogging.

  • I like this google translated there and back and there and back and there and back version a lot better.

    We had recently in the office of yellow apparatuses which is formed by Anthologieloesungen. The yellow apparatus, in the bovine one of the cubes, is acceptable an apparatus, the guards of the basic rule wuerdevollen the format of a scato him of UPS which has 1 TB or 1.6 TB of the memory location, with the entirety diversione and consequently the IDEA. We have with him close here around in a month or con

Neutrinos have bad breadth.