Netgear ReadyNAS RN426 review

A good value 6-bay NAS appliance that teams up unbeatable data protection features with an impressive performance

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£609
  • Quick performance; Loads of data protection features; Quiet
  • RAM can't be upgraded; Unused mSATA slot

Netgear's ReadyNAS appliances have a sharp focus on data protection and the 6-bay RN426 adds even more to the mix. It showcases Netgear's latest ReadyOS 6.8 firmware which augments its unlimited snapshots, copy on write protection and myriad backup tools with new private and public cloud capabilities.

The RN426 also steals a march on the competition, as it's the first NAS to showcase Intel's latest C3000 Series 'Denverton' Atom CPU. Netgear doesn't state which model it is but we checked the appliance's log files and found it to be a quad-core 2.1GHz Atom C3538.

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The C3538 supports DDR4 memory and the RN426 comes with 4GB but after removing the lid, we found this can't be upgraded. We also spotted a vacant mSATA slot on the motherboard but this is unusable as ReadyOS doesn't yet support SSD caching.

Build quality is exemplary as the appliance employs a heavy steel chassis and equally solid metal cover. The front door has a status display with buttons below for accessing a local menu and running quick backup copies from a USB storage device inserted in the front port.

Cooling is handled by a 12cm diameter fan at the rear which is extremely quiet. Using the SPLnFTT iOS app on our iPad, we recorded a zephyr-like 38.4dB at one metre in front.

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For testing, we loaded four 8TB Seagate NAS HDD drives but had to remove the plastic quick-install slides and fit them directly into the metal carriers. The slides are designed for hard disks with three mounting holes on each side but all high-capacity Seagate drives only have two.

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Further installation was uncomplicated; the ReadyCloud portal discovered our appliance, loaded ReadyOS and made it remotely accessible. It created a single X-RAID2 array which allows capacity to be expanded quickly by adding more drives, but you can have traditional RAID arrays by choosing the Flex-RAID option.

The RN426 is a great performer; a share mapped to an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 Windows rack server returned fast Iometer sequential read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec. Real world speeds are up there too, with drag and drop copies of our 25GB test file returning read and write averages of 112MB/sec and 109MB/sec.

It's no slouch in the backup stakes either, as securing a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files to the mapped share returned a speedy 85MB/sec. We upped the pressure by mapping dedicated shares to four E5-2600 v4 Xeon Windows servers each connected over their own Gigabit link and saw Iometer record impressive cumulative read and write speeds of 452MB/sec and 366MB/sec.

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Snapshots are enabled on NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs by checking the continuous protection box and scheduling them to run at regular intervals. Recovery is a swift process where you select the Rollback option on the selected snapshot - NAS snapshots can also be presented as network shares for drag and drop file restores.

Cloud features are improved as along with Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Egnyte file syncing, ReadyOS 6.8 supports Amazon S3 and Google Drive. We also created a private cloud by inviting users to our ReadyCloud account and after installing the app on their Windows 10 desktops, they could sync selected folders with their home directory on the appliance.

The ReadyDR remote replication and recovery service provides great disaster recovery as it uses snapshots to take point-in-time copies of selected NAS shares and secure them to local ReadyDR shares or those on remote ReadyNAS appliances. Data can be easily restored from ReadyDR shares by viewing their snapshots from Windows Explorer or the ReadyCloud portal.

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The RN426 is a great NAS choice for SMBs with data protection uppermost in their minds as it offers top-notch snapshot, backup and replication features. It may not be as app-rich as similar products from Qnap and Synology but it is better value and its speedy Atom C3538 CPU won't be faulted for performance either.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 278.

Verdict

The Netgear ReadyNAS RN426 is a great NAS choice for SMBs with data protection uppermost in their minds as it offers top-notch snapshot, backup and replication features. It may not be as app-rich as similar products from Qnap and Synology but it is better value and its speedy Atom C3538 CPU won't be faulted for performance either.

Desktop chassis 2.1GHz Intel Atom C3538 4GB DDR4 6 x LFF/SFF hot-swap SATA drive bays supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 50, 60, X-RAID2, global hot-spare 2 x USB 3 4 x Gigabit eSATA internal fixed 200W PSU 192 x 277 x 259mm (WDH) 5yr hardware warranty

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