In the last weeks I installed and worked with some different models of Netgear ReadyNAS, several sizes and both form factors (rack/tower), and after testing it for a while, I can say it’s a great product for NAS storage in small companies. I used it as repository for VMware backup solutions, via CIFS or NFS depending on the backup software.
This product uses off-the-shelf SATA disks, just like its direct competitors like Qnap or Iomega. Compared to the first it has some lack in feature list (Qnap is really filled with features and software) but it has for sure some great advantages.
First of all, right the lack of dozens of options makes it a good fit for a commercial use: if I have to create a cheap NAS, i do not need iTunes Server, podcast, bittorrent or other stuff. I “only” need something to export share on the network and make them accessible via common protocols; and that’s right what this product allows you to do: it supports cifs, nfs, afp, ftp or rsync, and for each of this you can set ACL for users or groups, assign quota and read/write access permissions. And is all made via an easy web interface.
The feature that impressed me most is no doubt XRaid-2. As you can see in this video on Netgear website, it allows for online raid expansion by simply adding new disks or by replacing existing ones with bigger units. Resync is done live without any operational interruption.
For a NAS, especially for saving VMware backups, this is really a great solution: you can size first the storage for actual needs, and make it grow accordingly to the virtualized environments, when you will need a bigger space for your backups.
I haven’t had the chance to test the replica between two units, this could be an easy way to replicate backups off-site and create a simple Disaster Recovery solution.
Finally, price is aligned with its competitors. At the end, this is a really great NAS in its price range, and a good solution for small companies. Please only remember the performance limits of a SATA-based cheap NAS, don’t ask it for something it cannot do.