Netgear's ReadyNAS appliances have always been well respected as they have consistently offered a good range of network storage features at affordable prices. The latest ReadyNAS NVX on review fills the gap between the six-drive Pro Business Edition and the older NV+ appliances and is aimed primarily at small businesses of up to 100 users. Key features are an improved hardware spec, a greater range of backup features including Netgear's optional online Vault service and standard support for IP SANs.
The black chassis is the same as that used by the NV+ but we have no problem with this as it's extremely sturdy and very compact. The NVX is only available pre-populated with hard disks but Netgear offers enterprise models with the review system kitted out with a quartet of 1TB Samsung Spinpoint drives. We were pleased to see the push button release mechanism on the old style drive carriers replaced with a new design as these have an annoying habit of jamming if not used for long periods.
Processing power gets a boost as the NVX sports Intel's new 1.2GHz SoC (system on chip) and this is partnered by a decent 1GB of DDR2 memory on an SO-DIMM. Dual Gigabit ports are also included and these support load balanced or redundant link teams.
Installation is handled neatly by the bundled RAIDar utility and then you can move to the tidy web interface, which offers a quick start wizard that takes you through setting up shares and workgroup or Windows domain authentication. Client support is good as Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac systems can use the appliance and it offers FTP services on selected shares.
The improved hardware spec made its presence felt in our real world tests and to test the NVX we called up a Boston Supermicro rack server equipped with dual 2.5GHz L5420 Xeons plus 8GB of fully buffered memory and running Windows Server 2003 R2 x64. Copying a large video clip over Gigabit Ethernet gave us average read and write speeds of 52MB/sec and 43MB/sec - more than double that achieved when we tested the NV+.
FTP speeds were even better with the FileZilla client, returning read and write speeds of no less than 98MB/sec and 62MB/sec. We had no problems creating iSCSI targets as you access this option from the Volumes menu, enter a size in gigabytes for the target and apply CHAP authentication if required. Using the Iometer utility, we saw a single target return a raw sequential read rate of 105MB/sec - close to the maximum for a Gigabit connection.