Sep 7, 2010

Netgear Stora MS2110 NAS Review

I hope you all had a great labor day weekend. I don’t know about you, but I spent the entire weekend working my butt off. My wife, kids and I moved into a house a year ago and we finally got around to hosting a house warming party. To get ready for it I did all sorts of landscaping, and other grunt work on Saturday. On Sunday we had the party, so I had to do a bunch of last-minutes stuff to get ready, then of course at the party I had to grill and entertain. On Monday, my wife traded my computer skills to her dentist so we could get some work done on her grill, and he could get backups working correctly. That is where this article stems from.

So on Monday (yesterday), I drove over to the Dentist’s office and checked out his current setup. He was using some program I never heard of called Backup 2005. Using Backup 2005 it would backup to an older Linksys EFG80 NAS (Network Attached Storage) device which only had 80GB of space. The amount of data he was backing up was only 17GB, so that would have been sufficient if it weren’t for two inherent problems. The first being that the drives had crashed. The second being that this device doesn’t have any RAID options. For those not in-the-know, RAID is necessary to protect data in the event of a hard drive crash. I told the doctor that we needed to get another NAS, one that at least. has the ability for RAID 1. He agreed, and sent me over to Fry’s to get something that supported RAID, and wasn’t terribly expensive.

Looking at all of the different NAS options at Fry’s, the least expensive was the Netgear Stora 1TB which has two drives and supports RAID 1 (Two 1TB SATA drives mirrored). Of course it only comes with one drive, so I also had to pick up another 1TB SATA drive while I was there.

Netgear_Stora When I got back to the office the setup was pretty easy. The only problem I had with it was that the manual didn’t tell you how to slide the front cover off so you could install the second drive. To do it just slide it  up slightly and off. After that it was pretty easy. You can either use the CD that comes with it to set it up, or if you find the IP address it picks up from your DHCP server, you can browse to the web interface and follow the prompts to get it going.

The only other problem I have with the device is that there is no Active Directory integration. That doesn’t surprise me because it is a lower end device designed for home use. It still works fine for a quick and easy backup solution though as long as you have a way to supply your backup software with credentials to the NAS because you can’t backup using anonymous connections for security purposes.

Some cool features of the Netgear Stora includes the ability to email you alerts when the device is malfunctioning (I.E. a hard drive crashes) so you can act when it happens, and not when you least expect it. Also the device allows you to share files over the internet easily using FTP, or via a website. This is not important for business use per se unless you want the ability to create a second backup offsite at your home or something. make sure that if you allow sharing that you use a secure password so people can’t hack your NAS and grab your data. The good thing is that if people want to try to hack your device they not only need to know your username and password, but also the device name.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this device for enterprise use, but for small businesses or home use it is adequate. It has plenty of storage for most people and small offices, and has redundancy in case of drive failure.

Do you have a Netgear Stora? Like it? Dislike it? Do you prefer a different NAS device for small office use? Let me know in the comments.

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