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This review is from: NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 6-Bay Network Attached Storage Diskless (RN51600)
Pros: + Tool-less disk install
+ Solid – a hefty little box
+ Speedy performance
+ FlexRaid management of disk expansion
+ Easy discovery and set-up
+ Remote cloud access to NAS (files and some admin)
+ Synced files across multiple PCs and NAS (ReadyDrop)
+ Clean and flat UI for admin access
Cons: - Documentation could be more clear. Most of my complaints might be “How do I do X?” until I figured it out.
- Account/User based ReadyDrop? It would be nice to have separate synced folders for my wife and I; I can imagine small businesses wanting something similar.
- More set-up wizards to walk folks through the basic stuff (or skip steps they don’t need) - the entire experience doesn't match the ease of initial discover, setup, and Readycloud/Remote setup
- Please adopt the right click, left click convention for the admin UI. Left button to select, drag, double click to open, etc. Right click for other choices. Currently, it is all left click once for menu options (open, copy, etc.), then select.
Other Thoughts: The ReadyNAS 516 has been fairly painless to set up and has performed well without problems to date. I’m using the NAS as the primary repository for home media and backup for the home laptops. With the media volume growing at an increasing rate, I wanted a NAS that expanded easily, had plenty of bays – enough for RAID6. A secondary need was to manage personal projects that I often need to access and work on from work and home PCs.
My initial set-up was with two 3TB Seagate NAS HDD drives. The 516 supports tool-less installation, so it took just a minute to install the drives. Under FlexRaid, Netgear’s term for their flexible storage expansion, I should be able to add drives and seamlessly switch to RAID5 from the initial mirrored array, but I haven’t had need to test that yet.
ReadyNAS has a plug-and-discover method which works well. I connected the NAS to the router, turned it on, and went to the ReadyCloud web interface to discover the local drive. Despite my double NAT set-up, it worked quickly and led me through the set up of the initial admin user ID and password. Although not required, I assigned it a static local address to simplify later administration.
I set up users with different permissioning so I could segregate some shares used to back up more sensitive information (financial, medical) so I could give guests access to media if they needed it (movies, pictures, music) without exposing more sensitive stuff.
Finally, I downloaded ReadyRemote onto the PCs that I would be using most frequently to access the NAS, and made sure Readyremote and ReadyDrop were enabled. I can access my NAS from anywhere in the world as if I were on my home LAN (almost), which is nice. I specifically use the ReadyDrop to sync personal files from work to my NAS and to my home PC.
I’ll note that ReadyNAS has a fairly flat and clean UI for the admin interfaces, which I like. It is intuitive and doesn’t bury interfaces under layers of nested menus. I can’t be quite as favorable about the documentation. The user/software manual was a little confusing in places, and UI snapshots were either out of date or incorrect for my model (the manual covers a range of models). The 516 is my third NAS, so I figured things out, but it might be a little more difficult for the first time NAS user (yeah, I know, this isn’t an entry level NAS).