- Attractive design
- Solid build quality
- USB 3.0 support
- X-RAID2 disk management
- Improved web management UI
- Fewer add-on features than some of the competition
Netgear's NV+ range of NAS boxes is aimed at power users and home office workers — so-called 'prosumers'. The recently released v2 range runs the company's latest RAIDiator 5 OS on an ARM-based Marvell CPU and offers up to 12TB of storage, making it suitable for some small businesses too. However, if you want features like dual Gigabit Ethernet ports plus NFS and iSCSI support, you'll need to look to Netgear's more business-focused, Intel-based, ReadyNAS Ultra range. We looked at the 2TB model of the NV+ v2, which you can find online from £370 (inc. VAT; £308 ex. VAT).
The NV+ v2 is a sturdy and nicely designed 4-bay unit measuring 13.2cm wide by 20cm high by 22.2cm deep. A grille-like front door opens to reveal four lockable 3.5in. SATA II drive bays with an easy tool-free removal mechanism. Above the drives is a strip containing, from left to right, a USB 2.0 port, a backup button, status LEDs and the power button. Below the drives is a two-line (16 characters per line) LCD that displays detailed status information.
The front-mounted USB 2.0 port is the default destination for backup jobs initiated by the backup button, but you can also specify either of the two faster USB 3.0 ports at the back — a first for a NAS server — via the ReadyNAS web interface if required. Also at the back is a Gigabit Ethernet port, a large 92mm cooling fan and a useful carrying handle. The power supply is an external 90W unit.
The ReadyNAS NV+ v2 is based around a 1.6GHz single-core Marvell processor with 256MB of RAM, running Netgear's Linux-based RAIDiator 5 firmware (5.3.1 on our review unit). Our 2TB review sample had a pair of 1TB Hitachi (HDS721010CLA332) SATA II drives running at 7,200rpm, leaving two drive bays free for further expansion. These were configured by default in Netgear's X-RAID2 configuration: with two disks, as in our review unit, you get a RAID 1-style 'mirror' setup, which is why the NV+ v2 reported just under 1GB of available capacity after installation. As you fill up the four drive bays, the data is automatically reconfigured to a RAID 5-style arrangement, which uses block-level striping with distributed parity data, resulting in a 1TB redundancy overhead for a 4x1TB array, for example, with tolerance for a single disk failure. You can add or replace drives — one at a time — while the NAS box is running, but performance will be lower while the data is being reconfigured.
The NV+ v2 is straightforward to install and configure. After plugging the unit into the network and turning it on, you run the supplied RAIDar software, which automatically detects the NAS box and displays its vital statistics. Click on the Setup button and, once past a security warning and a username/password request, you're into the newly redesigned web-based management tool.
The web management interface for the ReadyNAS NV+ v2 has had a makeover
The Dashboard (above) provides a snapshot of the unit's status, and clicking on the Configure tab takes you to the settings area (below). Here, you can add or delete share folders, configure user access rights (read only, read/write) and specify whether the ReadyDLNA service (for streaming music, videos, photos to suitable players) is active.
The configuration section of the web-based management tool lets you configure share folders, browse the folder structure, manage users, create backup jobs, manage add-ons, and view system status
The backup feature can be configured to automatically backup shared folders on networked computers to designated shares on the NV+ v2, and/or to send copies of the data on the NAS box to other network destinations. Mac OS X's Time Machine backup software is also supported out of the box.
There are currently two add-ons available for the Marvell-based ReadyNAS NV+ v2: ReadyNAS Photos II and ReadyNAS Remote. ReadyNAS Photos II is preinstalled and lets you share photos stored on the NAS box over the internet, providing an alternative to public cloud-based services like Flickr or Picasa. You can set up multiple photographer accounts and get a multitude of options for viewing and uploading images.
ReadyNAS Remote was 'available' but not installed on our test unit. Having installed it (via the Add-ons tab), you need to load ReadyNAS Remote on the (Windows or Mac OS X) computers you'll be using remotely and give access to their remote IDs on the NAS box. This sets up a secure connection to the NV+ v2 and maps the designated shares to Windows Explorer or the Finder on the remote computers. Remote clients are also available for iOS and Android devices.
There are plenty of partner- and community-created add-ons for previous Intel- and SPARC-based ReadyNAS devices, but add-ons for the new ARM-based platform are currently thin on the ground. Hopefully that will change soon.
We tested the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2 in RAID 0 configuration using Xbench 1.3 over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to an Apple iMac running Mac OS X 10.6.8. The throughput results are impressive compared to competition from the likes of Thecus and QNAP, delivering 94.89MB/sec in the sequential read test and 57.39MB/sec in the sequential write test, with random reads reaching 62.73MB/sec and writes managing 55.45MB/sec.
Netgear's ReadyNAS NV+ v2 is nicely designed and built, and its X-RAID2 technology does a good job of managing the 4-bay array discreetly. The web-based management tool's redesigned UI is an improvement, but we'd like to see more add-ons for the new ARM-based platform. Home offices and small businesses should consider this well-priced NAS server, but bigger organisations will need to look further up the storage food chain to get features, such as iSCSI support, that they require.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||13.4 x 20.5 x 22.3 cm|
|Device type||external, Hard disk|
|Number of drive bays||4|
|Maximum capacity||12 TB|
|Installed capacity||2 TB|
|Networking / connectivity|
|Network / host interface||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Network protocols||CIFS, AFP|
|Other networking features||1 x USB 2.0 (front), 2 x USB 3.0 (back)|
|RAID levels||0, 1, 5, 01|
|Processor||1.6GHz Marvell (single-core ARM)|
|Operating system||RAIDiator 5|
|Other controller features||JBOD, X-RAID2|
|Memory (installed)||256 MB|
|System requirements / software|
|Software included||RAIDiator 5.3.1, RAIDar, ReadyNAS Photos II, ReadyNAS Remote|
|Service & support|
|Standard warranty||3 years|
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