Netgear ReadyNAS 316
Netgear knows exactly who it’s targeting with the ReadyNAS 316: businesses of up to 50 users. To this end, it’s affordable, has a good mix of features and packs enough processing power to cope with the demands of a small business – although not a lot more. See also: what to look for when buying a NAS for business.
The ReadyNAS 316 is easy to use. Tool-free carriers make adding disks simple, while rear eSATA ports accept Netgear’s EDA500 five-bay expansion units. First-time setup is a doddle: after registering with Netgear’s ReadyCLOUD portal, we used it to remotely discover the appliance and create an X-RAID2 array with four 4TB WD drives.
One of ReadyCLOUD’s best features is that it allows registered users to view, add and delete files and folders directly from the portal. Users can also copy files to the appliance from their desktop by simply dragging them into the portal’s browse page, and the portal provides direct access to the appliance’s admin console. It’s much faster than the RAIDiator OS of old, and its smart dashboard opens with an overview of the appliance, volumes and installed apps.
Netgear’s ReadyNAS OS 6 software gives the ReadyNAS clan one big advantage over the competition: the B-tree file system (BTRFS) supports unlimited block-level snapshots. You’ll meet these when you create NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs, since they have a continuous protection option. Just tick the box, and decide on hourly, daily or weekly snapshot schedules.
During creation, we were able to keep share snapshots hidden or make them available, where they appeared to our users as standard network shares. Share and LUN recovery is a cinch – simply view the dashboard’s timeline graph, choose a snapshot and select the relevant recover or clone option.
The ReadyNAS 316 supports Dropbox syncing, which worked fine with our test account, but if you want your data where you can see it, Netgear’s ReadyDROP is the answer. After enabling this feature, we loaded a small utility on a Windows 8.1 PC, allowing it to keep step with our designated ReadyDROP folder on the appliance. We also used the ReadyDROP web portal to send files remotely to the appliance without using the utility.
A modest dual-core 2.1GHz Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of DDR3 memory lowered our speed expectations, but the ReadyNAS 316 still posted some decent times in our real-world tests: our 50GB file copy returned sustained read and write rates of 104MB/sec and 100MB/sec respectively. However, it faltered badly in the general backup test: our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files managed only 52MB/sec. By comparison, Synology’s Atom-based RS2414RP+ scored 90MB/sec in the same test.
Note also that Netgear’s antivirus scanner hits performance where it hurts. With it enabled, our 22.4GB test copy tumbled to only 28MB/sec. The new Anti-Virus Plus app runs scheduled scans, but the real-time scanner needs to be enabled to use it.
IP SANs are fully supported, and during LUN creation we could enable iSCSI thin provisioning and use groups to determine the iSCSI qualified name (IQN) under which the LUNs should appear. The Atom has a small negative impact on performance, with Iometer reporting raw read and write speeds of 95MB/sec for a 100GB target.
Netgear doesn’t support services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier and ElephantDrive; even so, you can back up folders to an rysnc-compliant appliance and use the integral backup scheduler to define sources and targets. These can be any local NAS share or folder on another system.
Along with a burly build, the Netgear ReadyNAS 316 delivers reasonable performance at a good price. It can’t match Qnap and Synology for features, but its unlimited block-level snapshots are an ace in the hole.
|Default file system||BTRFS|
|Price per gigabyte||N/A|
|Hard disk interface||SATA 3|
|Hard disk bays (free)||6 hot-swap 2.5in/3.5in|
|RAID modes||RAID0, 1, 5, 6, X-RAID2 JBODs|
|Networking||2 x Gigabit Ethernet|
|Front USB ports||1 x USB 2|
|Rear USB ports||3 x USB 3|
|Other ports||2 eSATA|
|Dimensions (WXHXD)||192 x 288 x 259mm (WDH)|
|Warranty||5yr RTB warranty|
|Price||437 exc VAT, diskless|