Netgear ReadyNAS 516 review

£950
Price when reviewed

Sitting at the top of Netgear’s NAS range, the ReadyNAS 516 is aimed at large workgroups of up to 250 users. It has a faster processor than the 300 series, and is endowed with a speedy 3.3GHz Ivy Bridge Intel Core i3-3220 CPU.

You get 4GB of DDR3 RAM as standard, and it boasts superb expansion potential: up to three EDA500 5-bay boxes can be connected to its eSATA ports. Disappointingly, though, you’ll have to ignore the 10GbE expansion bay at the back – the motherboard doesn’t actually have an adapter card slot.

Tool-free drive carriers and Netgear’s new ReadyCloud portal make installation a cinch. You can still use the RAIDar utility if you prefer, but it can’t show status information on RAID, hard disks or temperatures.

The front door has an OLED display, and waving your hand in front of it activates the central backlit touchpad. It’s used to scroll through various status displays.

Netgear ReadyNAS 516

The Intel hardware made its presence felt in our real-world tests. Drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip to a six drive X-RAID2 array returned read and write speeds of 108MB/sec – faster than the ReadyNAS 314. FTP speeds were in the same ballpark, and our 17.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files was copied to the appliance at a speedy 73MB/sec.

One of the myriad new features is real-time antivirus scanning. While enabling this feature crippled the rack-mountReadyNAS 2120 – in that instance our small-file copy test returned a meagre 8.3MB/sec – the 516 breezed through the challenge, managing a very respectable 53MB/sec even with antivirus enabled.

The ReadyCloud portal offers excellent remote management. It shows all the appliances registered to your account, no matter where they are. You can view, add or delete files and folders, and copy them by dragging them into the portal.

For full management, the ReadyCloud portal provides direct access to the Dashboard admin page. This web interface is a marked improvement over RAIDiator, and it’s much faster.

Netgear ReadyNAS 516

A key feature of ReadyOS 6 is unlimited snapshots – these can be run on shares and iSCSI LUNs at hourly, daily or weekly intervals. Folder snapshots may be hidden or made available where they are accessed as normal network shares. To recover a file, folder or LUN you view the Dashboard’s timeline graph, choose a snapshot and select the rollback option.Netgear’s ReadyDrop provides similar features to Dropbox (which the 516 also supports), but without leaving your data in the cloud. You need to enable the ReadyNAS Remote service and load a utility on your PC or Mac.

Replication between all ReadyOS-based appliances is now free. This has its own portal for managing schedules to run regular folder and system copies between appliances. However, only folder copies can be run between RAIDiator-based appliances and new models, and a licence costing around £140 per box is required.

The facility for unlimited snapshots makes the ReadyNAS 516 a unique proposition – no other vendor offers this on its desktop boxes. Factor in the top performance, excellent remote management and useful replication services, and the Netgear ReadyNAS 516 is a good choice for business network storage, with a sharp focus on data protection.

Basic specifications

Capacity 4GB

Services

FTP server? yes

Connections

Ethernet ports 2

Physical

Dimensions 192 x 288 x 259mm (WDH)

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