Netgear ReadyNAS Pro Business Edition review

Is Netgear’s latest ReadyNAS Pro the new face of desktop network storage? It’s certainly the fastest.

The backup button on the front actually has two functions as backup jobs assigned to it will run in sequence when it's pressed. If no jobs have been assigned to the button then it will copy the appliance's default backup folder to a storage device connected to the front USB port.

Volume snapshots for point-in-time backups can be scheduled and the appliance also functions as a destination for the Mac OS X Time Machine service. There's more as the NTI Shadow utility handles workstation backup. You can schedule jobs to run at regular intervals and also ask it to monitor specific data sources and secure new and modified files in real time

For performance testing we used a dual quad-core Xeon Dell PowerEdge 1950 server with 4GB of memory, a striped array of SAS drives and running Windows Server 2003 R2. We used Iometer to test raw performance and with eight disk workers assigned to a share on the Pro it reported stunning 108MB/sec for both read and write operations.

Real world performance is also a cut above the rest as copies of a 2.52GB video clip returned read and write speeds of 62MB/sec and 60MB/sec. FTP performance was even better as the same file copied using the FileZilla client returned stonking read and write speeds of 90MB/sec and 82MB/sec.

iSCSI targets are easily created and you can decide on the virtual volume size and apply CHAP authentication. For speed testing we created a 50GB volume and used the latest Microsoft iSCSI initiator on the PE1950 test server to log in to it. Iometer reported a raw read throughput of 109MB/sec pretty much tops for a single Gigabit connection and on a par with far more expensive IP SAN appliances.

Along with sheer performance the ReadyNAS Pro won't be beaten on features either. It supports Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac client systems and offers FTP services on selected shares. We found shares a doddle to set up as you provide a name, choose the default access levels and limit this to specific hosts if you wish. For each share you can apply disk space quotas and use the appliance's local database for user and group access.

You can let Netgear entertain you as the ReadyNAS Pro offers plenty of multimedia streaming services. For iTunes you get the Firefly server which has its own web interface and supports internal smart playlists. The SqueezeCenter streams music to Squeezebox digital players, UPnP network media players are supported and you can send videos, music and pictures to network DVD and media players using the home media streaming server.

Small businesses looking for a classy network storage solution should put the ReadyNAS Pro Business Edition at the top of their shopping list. It offers plenty of business related features teamed up with a massive capacity and is currently the fastest desktop NAS appliance on the planet.

Verdict

Netgear has pulled out all the stops with the ReadyNAS Pro to deliver a quite remarkable desktop NAS appliance. It offers plenty of useful business related storage features with good backup facilities, its storage potential is enormous considering its size and its currently holds all records in its class for performance.

Chassis: Desktop CPU: Intel 1.8GHz Dual Core E2160 Memory: 1GB 667MHz DDR2 upgradeable to 4GB Storage: 6 x hot-swap SATA drive bays Hard disks: 6 x 1TB Samsung SATA/3Gbps hard disks RAID: Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, X-RAID2 Ports: 3 x USB 2.0 Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet Software: RAIDar and NTI Shadow Management: Web browser

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