Netgear Stora MS2110 review
Netgear’s latest NAS device is aimed at an audience that would normally run a mile at the mere mention of Network Attached Storage. Pull the Stora from its packaging and it’s certainly better looking than your average NAS: glossy black all over, its angular, cuboid frame seems like a calculated attempt to appeal to consumers as much as techies.
It’s a shame the Stora’s good looks aren’t matched by the build quality, with a lightweight plastic construction that feels cheap, but it isn’t entirely lacking when it comes to more practical concerns. A USB port at the front allows for a printer or USB hard drive to be shared on the network, and while a single 1TB drive comes as standard, the flimsy front panel slides off to reveal a second drive bay.
Install a second disk, however, and you’re stuck with a mirrored RAID 1 array. There’s simply no option for RAID0 or JBOD, should you want to sacrifice security for speed or storage space. And somewhat unreassuringly, the user guide and installation guide disagree as to whether the Stora actually permits hot-swapping of drives (it doesn’t).
Setup is about as simple as it gets, though. Once you’ve connected the Stora to your router via the supplied Ethernet cable, the setup routine on the CD-ROM leads you through the process of naming the device and setting up a username and password.
The Stora Agent software runs unobtrusively in the System Tray and gives quick one-click access to shared folders, the browser-based front-end and the backup preferences.
While it’s possible to view the Stora’s folder structure in Windows Explorer for simple drag-and-drop operation, the browser-based front-end makes it even easier. The clean, simple interface provides thumbnails and slideshows for photos, album art and even permits the playback of music files from within the browser, and it’s easy to manage shared media libraries alongside those of individual users.
The web access feature is neatly implemented, too, and although you’ll need to shell out an extra $20 a year for full remote access to all the Stora’s contents, it’s possible to use a free account to create collections of photos, music and any stored media and share them with friends and family. Not that there aren’t annoyances: when sharing a folder, you also inexplicably have to share every subfolder manually or they won’t be visible.
Performance-wise, at least, the Stora is no slouch. While bundles of tiny files limited write speeds to a sluggish 3.6MB/sec, and read speeds to 8.6MB/sec, large files saw the Stora manage read and write speeds of 26MB/sec and 24MB/sec respectively.
More confident users may find Netgear’s own ReadyNAS Duo provides a better solution. Capable of everything the Stora can do and customisable to do much more – albeit with more effort – it’s available driveless for just £125 exc VAT.
As a NAS drive for the masses, though, the Stora does what is has to do rather well. The $20 a year extra for full remote access will eliminate the need to dabble with the complications of Dynamic DNS, and the rest of the package performs well at an attractive enough price to tempt those who might not have been willing to take the NAS plunge.
|Cost per gigabyte||17.5p|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Default filing system||EXT3|
|UPnP media server?||yes|
|Other media servers||iTunes, DLNA|
|HIbernate on idle?||no|
|Idle power consumption||10W|
|Peak power consumption||12W|
|Dimensions||150 x 146 x 175mm (WDH)|
Security and administration
|Kensington lock slot?||no|
|Admin support for users||yes|
|Admin support for groups||no|
|Admin support for disk quotas||no|
|Software supplied||Stora Agent|