APC UPS (must-have for any NAS) can be consumer- or business-grade

Everybody knows that a NAS (or SAN, or storage server) without a UPS is dumb.  Every NAS will take time to rebuild its RAID array when recovering from a power outage.  The NASes that take longer to recover from a power failure (like the WD Sentinel) do a much more thorough job of validating data consistency than those NASes that do only a cursory check.  I like the fact that the Sentinel is careful.  (My data is worth it.)

As a result, I purchased a APC UPS for my DX4000.  Because I only need the UPS for the WD Sentinel, and because I only need enough battery to let the WD Sentinel shut down in an orderly manner, I bought a low-energy UPS:  the BE550G, which delivers 330W (550VA).  I paid $60 on Amazon. 

But only after the purchase, did I learn that the bundled APC driver won’t run on the Sentinel.  After a long discussion with APC tech support I learned that, while APC’s driver and application (PowerChute Personal) for their “personal" series UPSes won’t run on 2008 R2, their UPS will still work fine using the standard Windows driver from Microsoft.  Forego the APC software and simply let Windows treat the UPS as a generic battery.   I tested the configuration and it works great.

If you insist on using the APC driver and application rather than the Microsoft driver, you’ll need “PowerChute Business” for the Sentinel’s Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 operating system.  The smallest/cheapest of the APC UPSs that bundles PowerChute Business is the “APC Smart-UPS SC 420VA 120V” which costs $110 on Amazon. 

While it’s hard to deduce from the (not very good) APC web site, the only UPSs that support PowerChute Business (and therefore Windows Storage Server) are the Smart-UPS series.

My Sentinel runs great.  I love it because:

  1. It is rock solid, but draws only 38W of power.  It uses enterprise-grade disks which are the obvious choice when you care about your data.

  2. I can use it as a server for most Windows appications (and therefore can take advantage of 100x as many applications as I can with any Linux NAS)

  3. Remote access is easy, using the Administrator’s Dashboard, the User’s Launchpad, or Remote Desktop.

Because the WD Sentinel uses server-grade Microsoft Windows, it is a *very* powerful tool that imposes some cost in complexity for those of us who are not experienced Windows administrators.  But once you get it know it, you’ll never go back to the Linux-based toys that are marketed to home users.  The Sentinel is simply in a different league than consumer-grade NAS from Synology.

I plan to buy another Sentinel before the end of the year to install at my brother’s house.  I’ll replicate my backups with DeltaCopy over VPN across the Internet…and my brother will do the same in the opposite direction. 


Thanks for sharing your experience with the unit.