Netgear Expands ReadyNAS Storage Appliance Line

Networking and storage expert Netgear has released a new range-topping addition to its popular ReadyNAS line of network-attached storage (NAS) appliances. The ReadyNAS 3200 features 12 hard drive bays in a double-height (2U) rack-mountable chassis. Each bay can accommodate a 1-terabyte (TB) drive, with 2TB drives available later in the year, for up to 24TB of storage. With that range of scalability, the ReadyNAS 3200 is a good fit for larger small businesses as well as those in data-intensive industries, including architectural and engineering firms, graphic arts and marketing shops, and so on.

Thanks in large part to its ReadyNAS family, which the company acquired from Infrant Technologies in 2007, NETGEAR is now the third-largest purveyor of SMB storage solutions (those priced under $25,000) in terms of revenue, behind NetApp and HP and ahead of EMC and Dell, according to data from Gartner Group. In addition to copious storage capacity, the ReadyNAS 3200 delivers software enhancements that make the platform more than a static file server.

For starters, the Netgear-developed RAIDiator embedded operating system is a secure Linux-based operating system that needs no additional anti-virus software to protect your stored data. RAIDiator supports the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), which lets you use native Mac files without restrictions or limitations. The operating system also supports Apple’s Time Machine real-time backup and recovery feature found in Mac OS X Leopard. The ReadyNAS 3200 also offers support for file services (NAS) and application services (iSCSI) for Windows, UNIX/Linux and Mac systems.

Netgear also offers ReadyNAS Vault, an embedded software agent that provides automatic backup to off-site storage hosted by NETGEAR partner ElephantDrive. Intelligence for the “set-it-and-forget-it” disaster-recovery service is preloaded on the ReadyNAS 3200, so there’s no additional software to download and install.

The ReadyNAS line also includes the built-in ReadyNAS Remote solution, which provides simplified remote access to stored files without the VPN, firewall and port-forwarding hassles typically associated with remote access. “With ReadNAS Remote, you have drag-and-drop access to your ReadyNAS server from anywhere,” noted Drew Meyer, director of storage marketing for Netgear’s Network Storage Business Unit. “It lets you leverage your investment across all of your staff, whether they are in the office, traveling or working remotely in a home or branch office.” ReadyNAS Remote supports both Windows and Mac PCs, and makes it easy to offer remote file access to businesses with limited IT support.

In addition to supporting up to 12 hot-swappable drives, the ReadyNAS 3200 features redundant power supplies, so if one should fail the appliance will remain operational. Netgear claims a maximum 100MBps (megabytes per second) of rated throughput for the server, and backs the device with a five-year warranty and 24/7 tech support. If 24TB is more storage than your business is likely to ever need, Netgear also offers the ReadyNAS Duo appliance, a SmallBusinessComputing 2009 Excellence in Technology award winner, as well as the ReadyNAS NV+, ReadyNAS NVX, ReadyNAS Pro and ReadyNAS 2100.

The ReadyNAS 3200 will be available in early July, with prices starting at $4,999 for a configuration populated with six 500GB drives. Plans for the ReadyNAS Vault off-site storage service start at $5.95 per month for 5GB of storage and $199 per year for 50GB.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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