Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ review

£413
Price when reviewed

Netgear moved into desktop network storage in a big way last year when it acquired Infrant Technologies and its ReadyNAS appliances. It’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in this market, but it has taken until now to complete the transition by releasing its first firmware revision. This heralds a new web interface and more than a few new features.

The ReadyNAS NV+ on review here hasn’t undergone any physical changes, although none were necessary as this is still one of the best desktop appliances in town.

You won’t find a smaller four-drive box than this either, and Netgear advised us that the internal power supply has enough grunt to handle the latest 750GB and 1TB SATA drives.

Netgear’s IT3107 storage processor still provides the processing power and is partnered by 256MB of memory; the Linux OS is loaded in its 64MB of Flash memory. The RND4000 model is supplied without disks, so you can add your choice of SATA drives.

The RAIDar utility aids installation by locating the appliance on the network and is now blessed with support for Windows Vista. The new web interface follows Netgear’s colour scheme but the design and layout have otherwise been left alone, so existing users won’t face a new learning curve.

The ReadyNAS NV+’s extra features aren’t so obvious but the Linux kernel has been upgraded to version 2.6, it now supports volumes larger than 2TB and online X-RAID expansion can be completed with a reboot.

FTP performance has also seen some major improvements. Using the FileZilla utility and a 3.2GHz Pentium D Boston Supermicro PC running Windows XP SP2 we saw read and write speeds of 19MB/sec and 12.5MB/sec respectively.

Running the same tests on a ReadyNAS NV with the older firmware produced speeds of less than 8MB/sec. Windows file-sharing speeds haven’t improved, although read and write speeds of 28MB/sec and 15.5MB/sec are quite respectable.

New users will find installation a cinch, as the setup wizard helps them choose between shared access, workgroup or Windows domain membership. The latter has also been polished as the appliance can join a domain without needing administrative privileges, and for Active

Directory it can be restricted to a single OU. Client support is still among the best, with Windows, Linux, Unix and Macintosh systems on the guest list, and the appliance functions as an FTP server on selected shares.

The iTunes service has been boosted too: the Firefly media server can now be accessed through a separate browser session, allowing you to change its configuration and create internal smart playlists.

The appliance has always supported volume snapshots – a feature Thecus had to remove from its NAS appliances because it couldn’t get it to work. You can use the appliance to run scheduled backup jobs for securing its data to local location, a remote network share or another ReadyNAS appliance.

Netgear has also improved workstation backup by including EMC’s Retrospect Express 7.5, which is far superior to the lightweight utilities bundled by Netgear’s competitors.

With the ReadyNAS NV+, Netgear has taken a well-respected storage solution and made it even better. It’s got the looks, the quality and the features to make it one of the best desktop NAS appliances on the market at this price.

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