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Client support is excellent as Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac systems are on the guest list and it offers FTP services on selected shares. For share creation, you provide a name, decide on the default access of read only or read/write and restrict access further to selected hosts if required. Share access can be controlled with the appliance's user and group lists and quotas can be applied as well.
Businesses will have a particular focus on backup facilities and Netgear doesn't disappoint. The Pro can run manual and scheduled jobs and supports a huge range of sources and destinations including other ReadyNAS appliances, local and network shares, FTP servers and local USB devices. Scheduled volume snapshots take regular point-in-time volume backups and you can even use the appliance as a destination for the Mac OS X Time Machine.
The new iSCSI feature is easily accessed from the Volume tab where you create targets, decide on their size and apply CHAP authentication if you wish. A useful feature is the option to expand them into available space allowing them to grow with demand. Netgear doesn't provide an automated connection tool as found in Buffalo's TeraStation II iSCSI but in reality, businesses that don't understand iSCSI shouldn't be using it.
To give the Pro a good workout in the lab we selected a dual socket, quad-core Xeon Dell PowerEdge 1950 equipped with 4GB of fully buffered memory, local SAS storage and running Windows Server 2003 R2. Firing up Iometer with eight disk workers assigned to a network share, we saw the Pro deliver incredible raw read and write rates of 108MB/sec over Gigabit Ethernet.
It breezed through our real world tests as accessing a 2.52GB video file via FTP saw the FileZilla client report read and write speeds of 90MB/sec and 82MB/sec respectively. Even standard file sharing didn't let the side down as drag and drop copies of the same test file returned read and write speeds of 62MB/sec and 60MB/sec.
For iSCSI testing, we assigned a 50GB virtual volume to the Dell server using the latest Microsoft iSCSI initiator. With Iometer on the rampage again we saw the Pro return raw read speeds of 109MB/sec. We've had many dedicated - and much more expensive - IP SAN appliances in the lab that haven't gone any faster than this.
The ReadyNAS Pro is master of the universe for performance as there is nothing else that comes even close to it at this price point. It's well suited to businesses as it offers plenty of backup and security features, has a huge storage potential and now supports IP SANs as well.