Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 4 review
Netgear is focusing more on business applications with the latest addition to its popular ReadyNAS family. The ReadyNAS Pro 4 comes with enhanced backup and replication support, and follows the lead taken by Synology and Qnap by introducing dual-core Atom processing power.
Initial installation is handled by RAIDar, and a quick glance at the web interface shows Netgear hasn’t gone in for a total redesign, as Synology and Qnap have. It’s looking dated, but it works well enough and provides easy access to all features.
The same applies physically: the Pro 4 uses the compact chassis of the older NVX, which means it’s solidly built and very quiet. Netgear still hasn’t added any eSATA ports, so it lacks the expansion capabilities of Synology’s A-Listed DS1511+ five-bay appliance.
It was down to the processor to make a big impression in our real-world performance tests. We tested with four 1TB Western Digital SATA drives configured in a standard X-RAID2 array. Copying a 2.52GB video clip to and from a Broadberry dual-Xeon X5560 rack server running Windows Server 2008 R2 returned fast read and write speeds of 99MB/sec and 74MB/sec.
FTP speeds were even faster, with FileZilla reporting read and write speeds of 103MB/sec and 86MB/sec. Small files were handled well, with a 17.4GB collection of 10,500 files copied to the appliance at a rate of 54MB/sec.
All the main storage and file-sharing features are the same as those delivered by the NVX. However, Netgear has pushed ahead with its cloud-based services, with the optional Vault hosted backup now joined by Replicate.
This provides centralised web management of replication between local and remote appliances. Once licenses have been applied to each appliance, they appear in the hosted Replicate web interface where you can create scheduled data and system backups. When a job starts, the target appliance forces a snapshot job on the source, which is then used to back up your selections.
We tested Replicate using a ReadyNAS Pro 6 as a target, and easily created system and data backups for the Pro 4. The first run is done with both appliances on the LAN to save time, although performance was an uninspiring 8MB/sec.
Once done, you put the target appliance off-site and all subsequent jobs copy block-level changes only. During job creation you can specify how many file versions you want kept, and the cloud service retains job logs for reporting.
Replicate is useful for providing managed offsite backup to your own appliance, but it’s expensive: appliances must be licensed separately at around £140 each. And that excludes users of the ReadyNAS NV+, Duo and older models – these aren’t supported as they don’t use an x86 processor.
Replicate’s pricing aside, the ReadyNAS Pro 4 is undeniably faster than its predecessor and offers a lot of useful storage features. But with competition in the SMB NAS market so hot, we prefer Synology’s DS1511+ for its stunning performance, massive expansion potential and better value.