Netgear needs little introduction as a network hardware brand that straddles consumer and business markets. Its ReadyNAS Pro 6 sits more squarely in the latter camp, bristling like the Iomega with features to let it integrate into business environments. Read more storage reviews.
The Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 distinguishes itself from most NAS drives that rely on lower-power processors, by fitting a regular desktop PC-class Intel chip.
Most models we see up to SMB class will use an ARM or netbook-class Intel Atom. While the choice may seem extravagant, it should afford the Netgear decent performance, at the cost of higher power consumption.
Like the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d, a door swings out, hinged at the left, to allow access to a horizontally stacked array of six drive bays. But like a two-bay Netgear ReadyNAS unit we reviewed earlier this year, the solid all-metal construction is let down by poor craftsmanship – in this case, a warped door that refused to stay closed.
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6: Hardware Features
Netgear offers a choice of storage bays across the same ReadyNAS Pro line (two-, four-, and six-bay). That’s not so unusual, but here you can also select between standard enterprise hard disks, or cheaper desktop consumer-grade disks.
The latter models are identified in the product code with a D suffix, such as RNDP6610-200D. But for sysadmins and power users looking to configure their own storage, note that Netgear does not supply the Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 in diskless form.
On the Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6’s dark front is one USB 2.0 for impromptu data dumps, joined by a USB 3.0 port on the back. Keeping disks and processor temperatures low are two fans – a large 120mm above and smaller 80mm type fixed below on the rear panel. Two gigabit ports are available for either failover or link aggregation to enhance throughput.
The Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 is the only NAS drive we've tested recently to feature an internal power supply, adding to its professional credentials.
A front-mounted display adds a touch of class not seen elsewhere – this is an OLED panel whose light-blue glow is complemented by an LED-lit main power button.
Our test sample of the Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 was fitted with Western Digital enterprise-class disks, six 1TB WD RE3 (WD1002FBYS) drives.
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6: Software Features
Netgear has the most old-fashioned admin interface we've seen lately. That’s not an issue for any experience sysadmin, but it is less inviting to network newbies.
Netgear's NAS interface is workable but lacking in the charm of some modern NAS units.
And even experienced users may have to dive into documentation to understand Netgear’s misdirected attempts to simplify disk configuration, which actually muddies storage waters.
The default setup is Netgear X-RAID2, which allows disks to be added to expand capacity; or you can use Netgear Flex-RAID, which is just a posh way to say standard RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10 modes, with an option for volume expansion. In effect, we can’t see how this differs from, say, QNAP’s standard RAID setups with options for RAID migration.
The setup process for Netgear is unusually complex as you cannot configure RAID through a standard web browser interface along with all other parameters. Instead you must use a special app, Netgear RAIDar Utility, available for Mac, Linux and Windows platforms and coded in Java.
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6: Performance
Six Western Digital disks driven by a full-fat Intel dual-core processor did not disappoint in the performance stakes. The Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 was the leader in maximum write speeds out of four NAS drives we tested recently.
Like all other NAS drives, it could comfortably meet gigabit speeds for large file reads. And in write performance, the Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 proved a fast unit too – at 1MB it could write at around 17MBps, rising to 50MBps for 10MB data and a leading 86MBps for 100MB data.
For power consumption tests, we stressed NAS units with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, where we noted that even larger data chunks (1-5GB) could sustain 110MBps, in both directions – a good result.
When idle, the Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 6 slurped 40W (5W more than a QNAP TS-419P II under full load, for instance) and up to 84W when in active use.