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Netgear ReadyNAS 2100 review: rack-mounted NAS

Netgear delivers a much needed upgrade to its ReadyNAS rack mount appliance and adds some interesting backup features along with way.

Vault is embedded in the appliance's OS so you just enable the service and log in to the Vault portal. We found Vault easy enough to use and created a job to constantly monitor the Backup share on the appliance. Once a full backup had finished we dropped some more files into this folder and after a few seconds they were automatically copied to the Vault.

Alternatively, you can create backup jobs for different shares and schedule them at daily, weekly or monthly intervals. The Vault data is accessible from a web browser so you can log on from another location, search for specific files or folders and restore them to another destination useful for disaster recovery.

Accessed from the Volumes menu, IP SAN target creation is easy enough as you choose a size in GB for your virtual volume and decide whether to secure access with CHAP authentication. We had no problems accessing our iSCSI targets with Microsoft's freely available initiator software. However, performance over Gigabit isn't particularly exciting with the Iometer utility reporting back a raw read speed of 78MB/sec.

To test general file sharing performance we called up a Broadberry CyberServe 1U rack server equipped with dual Xeon X5560 processors, 12GB of DDR3 memory and running Windows Server 2003 R2. Copying a large video clip over Gigabit Ethernet gave us average read and write speeds of 48MB/sec and 34MB/sec. FTP speeds were even better with the FileZilla client returning read and write speeds of 92MB/sec and 62MB/sec.

We compared these with a review of the ReadyNAS 1100 in our sister title PC Pro and saw that Netgear's performance claims were easily on the money as this couldn't muster more than 20MB/sec in any of our performance tests.

Netgear's NAS appliances won't be beaten on features and its backup facilities are second to none. It has excellent client support and a fair turn of speed as well but it's far noisier that the ReadyNAS desktop models.

Verdict

The new ReadyNAS 2100 is far superior in every way to the older 1100 and delivers plenty of valuable backup features including an optional online service. General performance is also good but if you’re concerned about noise levels then check out Netgear’s ReadyNAS NVX desktop model as it offers an identical feature set but is much quieter.

Chassis: 1U rack

CPU: 1.1GHz Intel SoC

Memory: 1GB 800MHz DDR2

Storage: 4 x hot-swap SATA drive bays

Hard disk: 4 x 500GB WD RE3 SATA

Ports: 3 x USB 2.0

Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet

Software: Netgear RAIDar, Memeo Backup Premium for Windows and Macs

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