Infrant Technologies ReadyNAS NV 2TB review
Not only is the desktop NAS appliance market heating up at an unprecedented pace, but capacities have increased at a remarkable rate too. Last month we were impressed with the 1.6TB offered by Buffalo’s TeraStation Pro, but the ReadyNAS moves up to the 2TB barrier and does so at a surprisingly low price.
Along with support for four SATA drives, RAID0, 1, 5, hot-standby and hot-swap, it brings into play Infrant’s own XRAID technology. This allows you to fit one drive at a time, whereupon its array expansion feature will add new drives into existing arrays automatically. The Linux-based RAIDiator OS is implemented on flash memory, so you can buy an unpopulated unit and add your own drives as required – a feature that the TeraStation Pro doesn’t support.
You can also upgrade capacity online by swapping out one drive at a time and replacing them with larger models. Once the fourth drive has been replaced, X-RAID will automatically expand the array to use all the extra space. It will be a while before you can do this on the review model, though, as it comes packed with a quartet of 500GB drives.
Build quality is way beyond that offered by the TeraStation Pro: the chassis is solidly constructed from a steel shell covered with thick metal panels. You get Gigabit Ethernet and three USB 2 ports, with the single front port offering some unusual backup facilities. Plug in a USB storage device, press the button alongside and the OS will automatically copy selected data on the appliance to it. It can also copy the contents of a USB drive to a predefined share on the appliance on insertion. The documentation comes in for some criticism, as it’s the same as that used for Infrant’s older appliances, so the backup button feature isn’t mentioned.
Installation is swift. The RAIDar utility displays all discovered appliances and provides direct access to the secure web browser interface. The appliance supports Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac clients and will also function as an FTP server. Access controls are above average, as the appliance supports three security modes. You can restrict access to all shares with an optional password, or use local user and group membership, allowing read and write access to specific shares to be determined. In Domain mode, the appliance can use a designated domain controller and Active Directory services to authenticate users. Disk quotas can be applied to individual users or groups in any mode, and extensive alerting facilities allow emails to be sent when they’re being reached.
You can schedule volume snapshots and backup tasks that secure selected data to another location on the same appliance, a network share or another NV appliance. Users get a look in as well with the bundled Genie Backup Manager Pro, which allows them to secure their own data to the appliance.
The ReadyNAS NV is a very smart desktop NAS appliance. Its low price belies the level of features on offer and the X-RAID technology puts it in a class of its own.