Friday, March 13, 2009

Netgear ReadyNAS Duo - Enterprise-Level NAS at a Consumer-Friendly Price

I just picked a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo after struggling for months with finding enough hard disk space to store all my backups, media files, etc. We have a ReadyNAS NV+ at the office, so I was already familiar with the ReadyNAS product line and its setup and UI. The Duo is nearly identical to the NV+ except that it supports only 2 drive bays and has a few less security options - for example, it doesn't support Windows domains or Active Directory....no big deal for most home users. Setup is fairly straightforward, although there are so many bells and whistles that it's often difficult to find what you're looking for using the built-in Web UI. On the other hand, most users won't need all of these features and so the default settings should be fine.

The unit came with one 500 GB hard disk, so I purchased an additional 1TB Seagate Barracuda disk for redundancy. Adding the 2nd disk was simple...just screw the drive into the supplied mounting bracket, plug it in and away you go. No fuss, no needing to turn the unit off...pure plug and play. I now have instant RAID in the home!

For those of you tech geeks, the platform is built on top of Linux and is hackable/extendable. It supports a plethora of file access protocols, including CIFS, AFP, FTP and HTTP. It also comes with a few built-in services to handle multimedia - for example, there is an iTunes server that your PC or Mac running iTunes can easily connect to. Finally, there are a variety of "add-ons" available to do all sorts of cool things with the device. The unit came pre-installed with an internet photo-sharing app as well as a Bittorrent client, and there are a number of other add-ons that people have written which you can find by visiting www.readynas.com. This site is a terrific place to find most everything you want to know about the ReadyNAS product line, and then some. I've already found a few tips and tricks on the site that I used to improve the performance of the device, and fairly soon I think I'll upgrade the memory card to give it another performance boost.

It wasn't so long ago that you had to spend thousands of dollars in order to get this type of performance and capability. Now, for just a few hundred dollars you can get something that is truly enterprise-class for your home!
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