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Netgear ReadyDATA 516 with ReadyRecover review

An expensive system that didn’t work smoothly for us – if you’re seeking peace of mind, look elsewhere

  • Fast, incremental snapshots
  • Confusing setup; Limited recovery options

Netgear's SMB backup and recovery solution pairs ReadyDATA appliances with StorageCraft's ShadowProtect 5 software to deliver image-based backups and fast block-level, incremental snapshots. 

While the ReadyDATA 516 on test offers six hot-swap SATA bays, there's a catch: they accept only Netgear-signed drives, with 4TB models costing an exorbitant 600 each. With the appliance priced at more than 1,000, you're looking at nigh on 3,500 fora 16TB unit. You also have to buy a ShadowProtect licence for each server, workstation and virtual host, costing 649, 60 and 268 respectively.

Netgear has done a reasonablecjob of integrating the hardware and software. To get started, we logged in to the appliance's web interface and created a RAID5 array from the four 1TB signed drives provided. From here, ShadowProtect takes over. Only one system requires the full product, which includes the management console and agent. For the rest, an agent must be manually installed and a reboot is required. The user guide fails to mention that the custom install option must be selected.

For our Exchange 2013 and SQL Server 2014 systems, we chose the custom install and selected the agent, snapshot driver and mount service components. Using the backup wizard, we picked the drivesto be secured and chose the predefined ReadyDATA 516option as the network location.

After connecting, the console displayed our RAID volume, asked for login details and let us decide when snapshots should run, which can be asoften as every 15 minutes.

ShadowProtect created a dedicated network share on the appliance for each system and got on with the full first backup. Performance was good: the two drives on our AD server were secured at an average of 43MB/sec, with further incrementals taking less than four minutes. Next, we manually declared our other servers to the console using their domain names and administrative accounts. We used the same procedures to create backup strategies for each. 

The appliance's web interface shows how much storage each client is using and whether their agents are connected. All recovery points onthe appliance are made available as network shares, so you can browse within Windows Explorer using UNC paths.

From a Windows 7 client, we selected a VHDX file, mounted it using the ShadowProtect Quick Mount menu option and restored data using drag and drop. The ReadyDATA's own deduplication feature isn't enabled on these shares, but compression is, so there are space savings to be made.

We achieved the same results from the management console on this client but we hit problems when trying to access the recovery points from our Windows Server 2012 R2 systems. All attempts to mount the VHDX files failed with corruption errors; Netgear said the only solution was to repair the ShadowProtect installations on all clients, requiring further reboots.

There are no options for the swift recovery of SQL databases, and the optional Granular Recovery for Exchange tool isn't easy to use. It runs on any system other than the Exchange host, and opens ShadowProtect image files, allowing you to browse mailboxes and restore items using drag-and-drop.

Netgear's ReadyRecover didn't impress us enough to justify its cost. Indifferent documentation hampered setup, and the errors we encountered made us wary of using it to protect data on critical systems. 

This review first appeared in PC Pro magazine issue 251


Netgear’s ReadyRecover didn’t impress us enough to justify its cost. Indifferent documentation hampered setup, and the errors we encountered made us wary of using it to protect data on critical systems.

Desktop chassis

3.3GHz Intel Core i3-3220


6x hot-swap 2.5/3.5in SATA drive bays

Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, hot-spare, JBOD

2x Gigabit Ethernet

Internal 200W PSU

Web browser management

192 x 288 x 259mm (WDH)

5yr RTB warranty 

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