Though pricey and noisy, the NetGear ReadyNAS NVX has a strong set of professional-level server features, and is a good choice for small to medium sized businesses that need easy-to-use redundant storage.
The ReadyNAS NVX is the latest in NetGear's line of compact network-attached storage (NAS) devices aimed at small business users.
Although externally identical to the highly capable ReadyNAS NV+ (new charcoal paint job aside), the NVX has a faster 1GHz Intel processor, 1GB of memory (up from 256MB) and support for SATA II drives. NetGear reckons that this makes it twice as fast as the ReadyNAS NV+ and capable of transfer speeds up to 85MB/s.
The ReadyNAS NVX can house up to four 3.5in SATA hard disks but, while these can be hot-swapped, the drives must be screwed into a tray before slotting into one of the bays at the front of the device. The bays can be locked to prevent accidental (but not deliberate) ejection, but the only real nod to physical security is a Kensington lock slot at the rear of the device.
Although RAID 0, 1 and 5 arrays are supported, the ReadyNAS NVX works best with NetGear's custom X-RAID 2 technology. With two disks installed, this operates as a mirrored RAID 1 volume, but add a third disk and the volume is automatically expanded and converted to RAID 5, and the device stays online throughout. It's the same with a fourth disk, but X-RAID 2 also allows a volume to be expanded again by adding two larger drives, one at a time. This process can be repeated whenever larger drives become available, which means the ReadyNAS NVX need never run out of capacity.
Setting up the ReadyNAS NVX is simple. An internal power supply makes for a neat set-up and two Gigabit Ethernet ports provide flexible network connection options. The only hiccup is that, despite being described as "whisper quiet", the large rear cooling fan is actually quite noisy and this could be a distraction in an otherwise quiet home office. The ReadyNAS NVX can also serve as a hub for up to two USB printers, so it can at least consolidate the office noise-makers in one spot.
The faster processor and increased memory makes the ReadyNAS NVX's web-based user interface very snappy. Access can be controlled either by a Windows domain controller or on a per-user basis, and the latter also offers group accounts and disk quotas. Native file protocols for Windows, Mac OS and Linux are available, along with FTP and HTTP access, and both Bonjour and UPnP services allow the ReadyNAS NVX to broadcast its services over a network. Interestingly, the ReadyNAS NVX can also be configured as a network Time Machine drive for Mac OS X. Only one share can be set aside for this though, which means that backing up more than one Mac makes their archives available to all.
Barebones units aren't yet available, which means that the cheapest ReadyNAS NVX is the 2x 500GB model at around £700. The top-end 4x 1000GB model costs around £1,300. If compact, redundant networked storage is the key requirement, the ReadyNAS NV+ is a considerably cheaper option (a 4x 1000GB model costs around £850), but if performance is paramount the ReadyNAS NVX is worth the premium.