TranquilPC is a UK-based outfit. So why is DTR looking at it? I’m bringing this bit of news up, because it’s exactly the kind of product we want to see. When Intel released the Atom chip, it opened up new ideas for computing devices with its low power processing abilities.
TranquilPC has really taken to the Atom and offers a number of machines around it, but I particularly like this one. The box uses a dual-core Atom 330, 1 or 2 GB RAM and a user-chosen hard drive configuration. What separates it from most network attached storage devices, however, is that it runs Windows Home Server PP1. Now that the nasty little data corruption bug is fixed, WHS is shaping up to be a handy and capable opreating system. WHS certainly affords users possibilities that most NAS boxes don’t, especially when the OS’s plug-in architecture is taken into consideration.
A 1-gig model with one 500GB hard drive runs £399.99, or around $691 US. A bit pricey compared to some storage boxes, like HP’s own MediaSmart series, but still worth considering. It doesn’t require much power. Hopefully, Intel will release the Atom processor on a less power costly platform, making Atom-based servers even more appealing. The unit also manages to be attractive enough while not taking up much room, meaning it can be tucked away next to wherever the networking equipment is. What really makes the SQA-5H an interesting product, however, is that TranquilPC has gone out of their way to construct interesting peripherals for the line, which is something a lot of manufacturers don’t do.
The SQA-Ex (left) acts as an extension to the main device, and connects via e-SATA. Between computer and peripheral, you could theoretically have fifteen terabytes (before partitioning and data redundancy overheads) of storage, which is pretty incredible. The SQA-HDD1 (right) acts as a protective case for a single hard drive. Data can be backed up to a particular drive, which is then pulled right out of the server and placed in the case. The single drive bay also comes equipped with e-SATA and USB2.0 ports, so you can pull backed up data off without adding the drive back to the server.
While these units are currently only available in Europe, it would be really nice to see companies that ship systems over here take note, because this is definitely one hot little product. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more and more of these storage solutions as the Atom platform continues its explosive growth into new market segments.
TranquilPC’s SQA-5H-1000 product page