Categories: More Electronics
Over four years ago, I reviewed my beloved ReadyNAS Duo--one of the early ReadyNAS products made by NETGEAR. It has performed flawlessly over the years and has never failed. After many years of streaming and storing, it was time to upgrade to a newer, faster unit. The RND2000 is the successor to the original ReadyNAS and is also known as the v2; it improves upon the original in every way while retaining the design cues and intended uses of the original.
Unboxing the NETGEAR ReadyNAS v2
You don't really want to see an unboxing, do you? (Personally, I like them, but they've been given such a bad rep lately I fear I'd get ridiculed for posting one.)
I'm betting that you do, however, want to know what it looks like. Fortunately, the ReadyNAS v2 is easy on the eyes, sporting a sleek, metal exterior and a simple, straightforward design. Unlike the original, the finish is more grey than black, but it still looks great. While it's appearance won't be strutting down the catwalk of any avant-garde gadget fashion shows, it will integrate itself nicely on your shelf or desktop without offending anyone or clashing with your other peripherals.
Setting up the ReadyNAS Duo v2
There are several models of the ReadyNAS Duo v2, all of which are the same, with the exception of the drives that are included and their storage capacity. I'm using an RND2000, in which I installed 2 750GB drives. (Having two drives enables you to protect your files with redundancy; if one disk fails, simply swap it.) Other models include the RND21100 (1 X 1TB drive) and the RND2210 (2 X 1TB drives).
The first step is to install the RAIDar software (which can be downloaded here). This software allows one to easily detect and access ReadyNAS devices on the network. It also makes it simple to connect to the ReadyNAS (just use the "Setup" button) for the initial setup; networking geeks who are comfortable figuring out which IP address it grabbed can log in directly.
The setup wizard will guide new owners through some basic steps, including setting the time and date, alert contact (the ReadyNAS can email you upon major events such as a disk failure), password setup, registration, and so on. This only took me a brief few minutes, and I was ready to go. I expect that setup for most users will be just as quick and easy.
How to Configure the ReadyNAS Duo v2
I feel that the configuration process is really where the Duo v2 shines the brightest. The new Dashboard improves upon the original in every possible way that I can think of: it's faster, more attractive, and most importantly--significantly more intuitive. In the previous UI, it wasn't always clear where (or how) a change would be made. I never had any problems, per se, but this new interface is far superior to its prior layout and appearance.
When first logging in, users will see a nicely laid out "intro" screen which shows the shares available on the drive, a ReadyNAS Photos II widget (which we'll get to later), another widget showing your installed add-ons (the ReadyNAS can be expanded with new add-ons; see the ReadyNAS Community for more info) and some additional status messages about the device. The animated spinning fan and blinking Ethernet cable, while useless, is a nice touch.
The "Configure" link at the top of the screen is where most users will want to go when first getting things settled in. Via this panel, a section with three options can be accessed: Overview, Settings, and Info. Overview does just that--it gives the user an overview of which settings are enabled/disabled, general network status, the state of the installed disk volumes, and so on. One of the best features of this panel is that each of the running services--such as FTP access, ReadyDLNA media sharing, and others--can be turned or off very easily. It also allows users to see at a glance which are on or off.
Settings gives the user access to several "under the hood" options such as checking for updates; many of these options are configured during setup.
Info displays an activity log, which is useful for troubleshooting problems or to check if a job was completed properly. One of my favorite aspects of the ReadyNAS product is that it's easy to see what's going on at all times.
How to Set Up Shares on the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Duo v2
Probably, the most important thing to know when setting up a ReadyNAS is the Shares screen. This panel is also vastly improved from the original. I found the original ReadyNAS's share interface to be clunky and difficult to work with. While it got the job done, the new panel makes adding and configuring a share much, much easier.
All the user has to do is click the little "plus" icon at the top, enter a name and description for the share, and the dashboard will automatically create it with default settings. Then, upon clicking the share in the graphical display, all of the options are then neatly laid out in the panel to the right, allowing the user to select one of many options such as the file sharing protocols, who can access the share (user accounts can be added via the Security tab), whether it can be accessed by media servers using ReadyDLNA, and a whole host of other settings.
Backing up Files with the ReadyNAS Duo v2
First off, it's important to remember that any files you copy to the ReadyNAS--assuming that you have two drives installed--will be protected with the X-RAID2 system. This essentially keeps redundant backups of your files on both drives; in the event of a drive failure, simply replace it and your files remain intact on the other drive.
To this end, the v2 includes several methods built-in to help users back up their files automatically. (Of course, it will also support backup software that may already be in use.) The Backup tab allows configuration of these methods--including local backup automation jobs, creating an Apple Time Machine drive, or online backup via ReadyNAS Vault.
Using the ReadyNAS Duo v2
All of these features and easy setup options sound really great, you say, but how does it actually work? I'm happy to report that it's every bit as stable and reliable as its predecessor (which, if you forgot, served me well on a daily basis for over 4 years with no failures whatsoever). When I finished setting up the Duo v2, the shares simply appeared in my network shares on all of my machines--both Windows and Mac--and were accessed easily.
I mostly use the Duo v2 for automated backups (which I do with third party software) and occasional media streaming, and for both it has worked flawlessly. I did have a strange issue in the beginning that required a hard reset, but this was quickly accomplished. (Note that the procedure for doing this isn't necessarily straightforward, and users will need the manual to learn the steps and proper reset codes, but it's easy enough to do if there is a need for it.)
Wireless (2.4 GHz) (ASUS G55VW running Windows 7)
- Write: ~12.5 Mbps (~1.56 MB/s)
- Read: ~18 Mbps (~2.25 MB/s)
Ethernet Wired 10/100 (Mac Mini, Intel Core i7)
- Write: ~72 Mbps (~9.1 MB/s)
- Read: ~72 Mbps (~9.1 MB/s)
Powerline Ethernet 10/100 Wired (Homebuilt Windows 7 PC w/ AMD Phenom x4)
- Write: ~23 Mbps (~2.9 MB/s)
- Read: ~22 Mbps (~2.75 MB/s)
Expanding the ReadyNAS Duo v2 With Add-Ons
If the built-in functionality isn't enough (it sure isn't for the average MyOpenRouter user, I bet!) there are a number of official and community submitted add-ons available that can be installed. The functionality of these add-ons varies greatly, from adding a BitTorrent client, to TiVo support and more. Most of these add-on packages can be snagged from the ReadyNAS Community.
ReadyNAS Photos II, an add-on which is pre-installed with the ReadyNAS Duo v2, allows users to create albums that can be shared with family and friends, and is an ideal solution for those looking to keep their photos in-house while retaining the ability to show them off.
I love the ReadyNAS. After years of reliable service with a much older version of this product, I was happy to see that the v2 retains what was great about the original while applying polish in every spot it was needed. The updated hardware (1.6 GHz Marvell processor and 256MB RAM) and shiny new Dashboard make it powerful and speedier than the original. There are alternatives available, but for under $200 (if you already have drives to use) I feel it's difficult to find a nicer and more reliable data storage and protection solution that also offers some geeky customization.