A versatile do-it-yourself network storage system
Netgear’s Stora is a good option for home users who are buying a NAS drive for the first time, but for more experienced users the company also offers its ReadyNAS Ultra range.
There are several models in the range but we tested the Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4, a RAID unit equipped with four separate drive bays. You can buy the Ultra 4 as an empty chassis for about £450, and then install your own choice of drives as required. Alternatively, you can buy it for about £700 with two 2TB drives already installed and the remaining two drive bays left free for future upgrades.
Installing drives into the Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4 is a simple process, as the drive bays pop open with a press of a button. Netgear’s XRAID2 feature also allows you to hot swap drives at any time, automatically configuring the RAID options depending on the number of drives installed. Other hardware features include two Gigabit Ethernet ports and no less than three USB ports for connecting additional storage units, or devices such as a digital camera.
Setup is straightforward, with a Setup Wizard for newcomers or manual configuration for more experienced users. Some of the additional features built into the ReadyNAS are the ability to work with TiVo digital video recorders, and its support for DLNA networking. It can also act as an iTunes server, allowing you to use it as a central storage device for your iTunes music library on your home network.
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