NetGear Expands Entry-Level Network Attached Storage

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted November 11, 2011

Storage boxes that deliver content sit at the very heart of the cloud. When it comes to building out your own personal or small business cloud, having enough storage performance is a critical component. That's where networking vendor NetGear aims to help, with a new generation of its home and small business network attached storage (NAS) devices.

The new two-bay ReadyNAS Duo v2 and four-bay ReadyNAS NV+ v2 systems expand on their predecessor devices with improved performance and cloud features.

"We are empowering home users and small businesses to have a private cloud," Matt Pahnke, senior product marketing manager told InternetNews.com.

The ReadyNAS Duo and NV v2 boxes both now include the ReadyNAS Remote mobile app that runs on Apple iOS as well as Android to deliver secure remote access. Pahnke noted that capability to create a cloud has a lot to do with the capability to access data anytime and anywhere, and that's what the mobile app provides.

"This is not a Web interface-based approach, these are native, optimized apps," Pahnke said.

The capability to expand storage capacity as needed is another key attribute of the new NetGear boxes. You can add new drives to the ReadyNAS in a hot-swappable manner, by inserting a new drive into the drive-bay.

"Without any complicated configuration or clicking through a wizard, the ReadyNAS automatically recognizes the additional storage," Pahnke said. "If you're adding a second, third or fourth drive, with our proprietary disk management software, it will automatically replicate data for redundancy."

NetGear is also updating the user interface for the ReadyNAS with the new RAIDiator 5 UI. According to Pahnke, RAIDiator 5 lets you get a new ReadyNAS device up and running in eight clicks or less. He noted that the interface has been redesigned and now has a more intuitive drag-and-drop display dashboard.

The term RAIDiator 5 does not necessarily imply that both of the new ReadyNAS devices are using RAID 5. RAID 5 is a storage replication approach where data is striped across multiple drives. Pahnke said that the ReadyNAS Duo only supports RAID 0 and RAID 1, which provides drive mirroring. ReadyNAS NV+ v2 with its four bays does support full RAID 5.

RAID 5 also is a technology that does not instantly replicate the data, but rather stripes data -- which takes time.

"Unfortunately I don't think there is a way to get around the time that is required," Pahnke said. "The benefit, however, is that once you plug in a new drive, the replication happens in the background, so it doesn't preclude you from using the NAS."

The new ReadyNAS devices are also updated to provide USB 3.0 support, which provides up to 5 Gbps of transfer capability. In contrast, previous iterations of the ReadyNAS supported USB 2.0, which delivers up to 480 Mbps of transfer.

While the external USB interfaces have been updated to the latest specifications, NetGear has not advanced to the latest internal specification for hard drives.

"Both the Duo and NV+ v2 support SATA II natively, but are compatible with SATA III," Pahnke said. "Unfortunately, when using SATA III the drive will function at SATA II speeds."

SATA III provides up to 6 Gbps of access for drives while SATA II delivers 3 Gbps. Additionally, the ReadyNAS currently only supports traditional spinning disk drives as opposed to the next generation Solid State Drives (SSD).

"There is some talk about how we will embrace Solid State in the future, but that's not something that these devices handle," Pahnke said.

NetGear uses the open source Linux operating system for the ReadyNAS. "The OS is Linux-based and we've been actively building our own flavor of Linux since 2001," Pahnke said. "As a company, we actively support and adhere to open source guidelines."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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