Netgear ReadyNAS 314 review
It’s been a long time coming, but Netgear has finally refreshed its elderly ReadyNAS family. The ReadyNAS 314 four-bay model is the first in line for review, and introduces a raft of new features, including the ReadyOS 6 software.
The 314 uses the same compact and solidly built chassis as its predecessors. There’s a larger plastic door over the drive bays, which now allows tool-free installation, and an external power brick instead of an internal PSU.
Inside, processing power is boosted with a 2.1GHz Atom and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Port permutations have also improved: along with dual Gigabit, there are pairs of USB 3 and eSATA ports, plus HDMI for media playback on a TV. External expansion is also possible using Netgear’s EDA500 five-bay expansion boxes, which are attached via eSATA.
Initial setup is faster than before: Netgear’s ReadyCloud portal discovers the appliance and sets it up for you. The portal shows registered appliances, and allows you to view and delete files and folders. Files can also be copied directly to the appliance by dragging them into the portal.
ReadyCloud also has a quick link to the new Dashboard console. The first thing you’ll notice is how much more responsive this is compared to the old RAIDiator console. It’s more cleanly designed, too, with the main page providing an overview of the appliance, volumes and installed apps.
Netgear has swapped its file system from EXT4 to BTRFS, which scores highly over the opposition by supporting unlimited block-level snapshots. They can be activated during iSCSI LUN creation by ticking the continuous protection checkbox. Hourly, daily or weekly snapshots can be set, and to recover a file, folder or LUN, you view a timeline chart, select a snapshot and choose the rollback option.
Netgear also now supports iSCSI thin provisioning. Groups determine the IQN, and all LUN members appear to an initiator when it logs on to the target portal.
Other features include the Dropbox-alike sync tool, ReadyDrop, which requires a small utility loaded on your Mac or PC. Anything dropped into the local folder will be synced to the appliance and vice versa.
The optional Replicate service allows replication between local and remote appliances. It’s easy to use, but expensive – licences cost £140 per appliance.
Real-world performance isn’t as good as the A-Listed Synology DS1513+ (web ID: 383101). Using a Broadberry dual E5-2600 Xeon server loaded with Windows Server 2012, drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip returned read and write speeds of 101MB/sec and 96MB/sec.
The FileZilla utility returned 106MB/sec and 92MB/sec for FTP downloads and uploads. General backups are slower: our 17.4GB mix of 10,500 small files averaged only 43MB/sec; the DS1513+ managed 72MB/sec.
The new OS gives the ReadyNAS 314 a chance to compete on a level footing with the likes of Qnap and Synology. It isn’t the fastest four-bay box, but it packs in plenty of features. Netgear’s unlimited snapshots could be the clincher for small businesses that want good data protection.