Netgear ReadyNAS 2100 review: rack-mounted NAS

Netgear delivers a much needed upgrade to its ReadyNAS rack mount appliance and adds some interesting backup features along with way.

A new feature is ReadyNAS Remote, which allows you to grant users secure access over the internet to selected shares. You need to download and install a small utility and declare a username to the service but after logging in, the user can access permitted shares from Explorer as though they were local.

For drive fault tolerance, Netgear's X-RAID2 technology is the best bet for this four-drive appliance as it enables capacity to be increased by starting small and expanding the array online into larger drives one at a time.

The review unit had a quartet of 500GB SATA hard disks preconfigured as a single X-RAID2 array, which left us with a very usable 1.4TB of fault tolerant raw capacity.

Netgear scores highly for backup features and first up are volume snapshots, which take scheduled point in time copies of selected volumes. Standard backup facilities are good as the 2100 can secure data from a multitude of sources including local shares or USB devices attached to specific ports to shares and FTP locations on remote PCs and servers. These locations also apply to backup destinations although they can't both be on remote systems.

The 2100 can function as a destination for the Mac OS X Time Machine service and for workstation backup you get a three user copy of Memeo's Backup Premium. It loads a background task to keep an eye on selected drives and folders and after you've run your first full backup it will then secure files as they are modified or newly created.

The 2100 also gets the benefit of Netgear's optional Vault an online backup service run by ElephantDrive. Prices are quite reasonable with a one year Business Package costing around 125 per year for up to 50GB with no transfer limits, twenty file versions and support for up to five appliances

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