Netgear ReadyNAS RR2312 review

No 10GbE support, but Netgear’s 1U rack NAS offers a huge storage density at a great price

Price
£1,198
  • Strong performance; Great capacity-to-height ratio; Great backup features
  • Appliance is a tight squeeze in the rack; No 10GbE support

SMEs hungry for storage but running low on rack space could find Netgear's ReadyNAS RR2312 is the answer to their prayers: it's the first rack NAS to cram twelve LFF hard disks into a 1U chassis. This is no mean feat and Netgear has achieved this high density by fitting a micro-ATX motherboard at the back leaving, enough room up front for three ranks of four SATA drives.

The RR2312 is certified for Seagate's 12TB IronWolf NAS drives, allowing it to deliver up to 144TB of raw storage. Drives are a doddle to fit - just slide off the top cover, drop them into the desired receptacle and push them towards the combined SATA/power connector until the locking button snaps into place.

We had no problems slipping in a quartet of 8TB Seagate NAS drives but had an annoying issue when fitting the appliance and its supplied rails in our 42U 1,000mm rack cabinet. The appliance is 934mm deep and the supplied power cable adds around 70mm which stopped us shutting the cabinet's back door. We remedied this with a shorter L-shaped power connector but had this not worked, we'd be looking at taking everything else out of the rack and moving the front vertical posts forward by 1cm -- it's that tight.

The appliance has a quad-core 2.1GHz Atom C3538 CPU in the driving seat partnered by 2GB of DDR4 memory. There are four Gigabit Ethernet and two USB 3 ports at the rear but the motherboard doesn't have a PCI-Express slot - so 10-Gigabit upgrades are off the table.

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Installation is swift as the free RAIDar app discovered the appliance, loaded the ReadyOS software and ran through a brief setup wizard. It created a single X-RAID2 array which allows capacity to be expanded quickly by adding more drives but if you want traditional RAID arrays and multiple volumes, select the Flex-RAID option and reconfigure the drives as required.

Netgear's five-point safety net also provides BTRFS copy-on-write protection, unlimited snapshots, cloud backup and on-appliance virus scanning. During NAS share and iSCSI LUN creation, check the 'bit-rot protection' option to enable copy-on-write.

Compression can be applied and ticking the continuous protection box allows snapshots to be scheduled for regular hourly, daily or weekly intervals. Recovering files, folders and LUNs from the web console is a simple process and snapshots can be made visible as new network shares for swift drag and drop file restores.

Netgear's ReadyCloud portal is very useful; once we had registered the appliance with our account, we could manage it remotely from anywhere. Declaring other users to ReadyCloud allows them to remotely view, add or delete files and folders from the portal.

Cloud features see big improvements. ReadyOS now supports Microsoft Azure and OneDrive, Amazon S3 and Drive, Wasabi, Google Drive and Dropbox. We had no problems setting up file syncing with Dropbox and Netgear also offers its own Vault cloud backup service with a Business subscription costing around 30 per month for 2TB.

NAS performance is good with a share mapped to a Windows server returning sequential Iometer read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec. Drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file returned real world read and write averages of 112MB/sec and 109MB/sec while our backup test using a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files delivered a very creditable 87MB/sec.

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To test maximum throughput, we mapped shares to four Windows Server hosts over dedicated Gigabit connections. With Iometer running on all four servers, we recorded impressive cumulative read and write speeds of 452MB/sec and 397MB/sec showing the Atom CPU has the headroom for more demanding workloads.

SMEs that want the best storage density for minimal rack real estate won't find a better solution than the ReadyNAS RR2312. Support for 10GbE upgrades would have rounded it out nicely but it does combine great value with good performance made all the more appealing by Netgear's standard 5-year warranty.

Verdict

SMEs that want the best storage density for minimal rack real estate won’t find a better solution than the Netgear ReadyNAS RR2312. Support for 10GbE upgrades would have rounded it out nicely but it does combine great value with good performance made all the more appealing by Netgear’s standard 5-year warranty.

1U rackmount chassis 2.1GHz Intel Atom C3538 2GB DDR4 12 x LFF hot-swap SATA drive bays Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, XRAID-2, hot-spare, JBOD 4 x Gigabit, 2 x USB 3 Fixed 350W PSU 5-year NBD hardware warranty

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