Netgear ReadyNAS RN628X review: Robust, but not flawless

Mixed performance but a good option for SMBs that want great data protection features teamed up with integral 10GbE ports

Price
£1,225
  • Outstanding data protection features; Great cloud integrations
  • Patchy app development; Mixed 10GbE speeds

Along with a big storage capacity, Netgear's 8-bay ReadyNAS 628X offers SMBs peace of mind with a five-point data protection plan. It provides plenty of RAID choices and teams these up with Btrfs copy-on-write protection, unlimited snapshots, cloud backup and on-appliance virus scanning.

Netgear's ReadyOS 6.9 software adds a sixth element, in the form of the ReadyDR remote replication and recovery service. Using snapshot technology, it takes instant copies and secures them to other local ReadyDR shares or those on remote ReadyNAS appliances.

The RN628X is powered by a quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Xeon D-1521 CPU teamed up with 8GB of non-upgradable DDR4 ECC memory. It's geared up for high-speed networking as along with dual Gigabit, it has a pair of embedded 10GBase-T ports.

You get three USB 3 ports, but the eSATA port is now redundant as Netgear has discontinued its EDA500 5-bay expansion unit. You can also ignore the rear expansion slot cover as the motherboard doesn't have a PCI-e slot.

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For testing, we fitted three certified 14TB Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS drives in the tool-free carriers. If you go for a diskless model, be sure to check Netgear's certified drive list, as it may decline support if you use ones that aren't on it.

Installation is swift as we used Netgear's free ReadyCloud portal to discover our appliance and set it up. ReadyCloud makes it remotely accessible over the Internet and declared users can view, add or delete their own files and folders from the portal.

The wizard created an X-RAID array which supports a single volume that can be expanded by plugging in more hard disks. Go for Flex-RAID if you want more control as this supports traditional RAID5 or 6 arrays and multiple volumes.

We registered the appliance with our Netgear Insight Pro cloud account which also manages Netgear's Insight-enabled switches, routers and wireless APs. From the portal, we could monitor the appliance, check on storage usage and receive email alerts and keep an eye on it from the Insight iOS app on our iPad.

When creating NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs, checking the 'bit-rot protection' option enables Btrfs copy-on-write. Ticking the continuous protection box enables unlimited snapshots which can be scheduled to run regularly at hourly, daily or weekly intervals.Data recovery is swift; we selected a share snapshot, hit the Rollback button and watched our deleted data restored in seconds. Snapshots can also be made visible as new network shares for swift drag and drop file restore operations.

The ReadyDR feature is equally easy to use. Just select a source and destination, schedule the job to run regularly and apply bandwidth restrictions. Data can be restored from ReadyDR shares by viewing their snapshots from Windows Explorer or the ReadyCloud portal.

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General performance over 10GbE is a mixed bag with a mapped share returning high Iometer sequential reads of 9.2Gbits/sec but a much lower 5.5Gbits/sec write rate. Real world speeds are more reasonable with copies of a 25GB test file averaging read and write rates of 3.8Gbits/sec and 3.5Gbits/sec while our data backup test mustered a respectable 2.6Gbits/sec.

Netgear's app development has been very sluggish and its flaky surveillance app is no longer being maintained. However, cloud backup sees improvements with support for Dropbox, Amazon Drive and S3, Microsoft Azure and OneDrive, Google Drive, Wasabi and Netgear's own Vault service.

With dual 10GbE ports as standard, the RN628X is good value and comes with a generous 5 year warranty. The main drawback is the limited number of apps but if data protection and cloud management are top priorities, this desktop appliance has everything a small business needs.

Verdict

With dual 10GbE ports as standard, the Netgear ReadyNAS RN628X is good value and comes with a generous 5 year warranty. The main drawback is the limited number of apps but if data protection and cloud management are top priorities, this desktop appliance has everything a small business needs.

Desktop chassis 2.4GHz Intel Xeon D-1521 8GB DDR4 ECC 8 x hot-swap LFF/SFF SATA drive bays Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, X-RAID, JBOD 3 x USB 3 2 x Gigabit 2 x 10GBase-T 1 x eSATA Internal 200W PSU 192 x 289 x 319mm (WDH) 5yr NBD replacement warranty

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