Thank you for posting. I can only speak for the Small Business NAS devices (NSS300 series)
Can any of the USB ports on the Cisco NSS NAS devices be connected directly to a computer and detected like a normal external drive? - No. The USB ports are for external USB drives, keyboard and mouse. (For troubleshooting with a connected monitor if necessary)
Are there any other Cisco products that can be connected directly to servers via USB and can have a large amount of disk space like 2TB and above? - Not in the Small Business lineup.
Can any of these NAS devices withstand power surges and run 24 x 7 like servers? - The units do not have any inbuilt surge protection or battery backup. They should ALWAYS be connected to such a device.
These NAS devices are to be used with Symantec Backup Exec and System Recovery products which require to be online 24 x 7? - The NSS300 NAS units are designed to run 24/7
Additional information for USB ports from above, you can also do many things. The software allows user to backup/restore to/from the external USB drives, backup in realtime or scheduling. The front USB is designed one touch to backup or restore from/to the NSS. Example: You can set the one touch button to automatically to copy to particular folder on the NSS. You can just plug in the USB external drive to front port and presee the button. That is it. It copy all the data from the USB drive to a internal folder..imagin 500GB of data...this makes it easy.. You can also format your disk to any file-system format via USB port (NTFS, EXT3/4, etc...).
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