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Netgear ReadyNAS NVX
The <a href="http://www.netgear.co.uk/rndnvx.php">ReadyNAS NVX</a> is the latest in a line of similar units from Netgear, aimed at home and small business use. The ReadyNAS NVX takes up to four Serial ATA drives in a number of configurations, and supports most common file serving protocols as well as several streaming media protocols. We reviewed the <a href="http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/storage/0,1000000999,39419831,00.htm">ReadyNAS NV+</a> around a year ago and were impressed with it, and this new unit continues that trend.
The ReadyNAS NVX is the latest in a line of similar units from Netgear, aimed at home and small business use. The ReadyNAS NVX takes up to four Serial ATA drives in a number of configurations, and supports most common file serving protocols as well as several streaming media protocols. We reviewed the ReadyNAS NV+ around a year ago and were impressed with it, and this new unit continues that trend.
Drives are fitted into the unit in sleds, so if you're populating it yourself you'll need to screw the drives in beforehand. The sleds themselves have a pop-out handle released by a catch, which itself has a sliding lock, so used correctly there's no chance of accidentally removing a drive. A hinged door covers the drives. We were supplied with a pre-populated unit fitted with four 1TB drives configured as an X-RAID volume.
Drives are fitted into the ReadyNAS NVX in sleds that are removed via a well-secured pop-out handle.
A USB socket on the ReadyNAS NVX's front panel allows you to attach external storage for backup, either of the external device or of the NVX's contents. A button next to the port, which can be configured with a number of actions, does this simply. The unit can also be configured to copy files from a USB flash drive when inserted.
The rear panel of the NVX carries dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, a pair of USB ports and a Kensington lock point. The unit has an internal power supply. As with previous Netgear NAS boxes, the cooling fan is quite noisy, so you wouldn't want to put this unit in a living room at home.
You manage the ReadyNAS using a web interface. A Wizard guides you through the initial setup, with an Advanced mode available after that. You can switch back to the wizard if needed. A simple status display along bottom of the page shows you what's working and what's not.
The ReadyNAS NVX supports a wide range of protocols, including CIFS, NFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP and HTTPS and Rsync. This means Windows, Linux and Mac clients can all connect using their native protocols.
In addition some media-sharing protocols allow you to access music and video files stored on the unit. Supported clients include SqueezeBox devices, iTunes and any clients supporting DLNA protocols. The iTunes support is provided by Firefly Media Server, and has its own separate configuration interface.
Client discovery of the unit is via UPnP and Bonjour discovery services, including AFP over Bonjour if enabled.
You can also use volumes on the ReadyNAS NVX as iSCSI targets. Special volumes are needed for this, since any clients of the service will access the targets as block devices, not file shares.
The ReadyNAS NVX's access control system is pretty standard. User accounts are created and added to a primary group, and can also be added to any number of secondary groups. You have the option to create a home share for each user when creating accounts. Each user can have a quota assigned, and groups can also have quotas attached.
You create shares on the ReadyNAS NVX directly through the web interface, which adds the share with default permissions. Access control can then be changed for each protocol enabled on the unit separately. You can't set a size limit for individual shares, so unless you use quotas your disk space could quickly get used up.
The NVX can perform some maintenance tasks on schedule. These include taking snapshots of volumes, a disk consistency check and what Netgear calls 'parity check & scrub', which repairs any parity errors in the RAID array before a drive fails.
The ReadyNAS NVX can back up other devices on the network using any of its supported protocols. The unit also support's Apple's Time Machine utility, allowing you to back up Macs. To back up the contents of the unit itself you can use Netgear's ReadyNAS Vault, a paid-for service that can hold a portion of the contents of your NAS.
One or two USB printers can be attached to the ReadyNAS NVX and shared with Windows and Mac clients. Note that the unit doesn't support automatic driver installation on Windows clients. If you've enabled Bonjour support, any attached printers can be advertised and a connection made over Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). The NVX also supports a USB uninterruptable power supply, and will shut down automatically when the power fails. It's also possible to monitor a UPS attached to another ReadyNAS unit across the network.
The ReadyNAS NVX is a well-designed and richly featured product that's suitable for use in small or medium-sized businesses. Its cost and noise make it less appealing for home use, but if that's not an issue it's also capable of supporting any entertainment and home storage needs.