Netgear ReadyNAS Duo

Not the most straightforward of computer hardware to configure but once you do have it configured it does all that it claims.

My Rating: yesyesyesyesno




The biggest problem area with this product is getting it configured correctly at the start. As I worked my way through the setup wizard filling things out in the order presented most of the early options refused to function correctly. I eventually worked out that it was because the entries on the first few screens are actually dependent on setting that you don't get to make until a later screen in the order presented by the wizard. The way that actually worked for me was to first change the setup to use a static IP address (which I intended to use anyway). That unlocked the DNS fields which had defaulted to incorrect values and allowed me to enter DNS values that gave the NAS access to the web (for some reason without specifying these values the NAS couldn't forward requests to the router and have it resolve the DNS). With a static IP address and the DNS in place I was then able to use the wizard to set up all the rest of the basic options that the NAS provided.

That wasn't the end of my configuration problems though as I discovered two further issues with how I tried to configure the NAS that took some effort to track down. The first of these was when I tried to use the "add backup" uption on the NAS to set up a backup of a partition from the hard drive of my computer. No matter what I entered into the NAS it refused to find the partition even though the partition was defined as shared on the computer. Once I changed the request to look for a shared folder on that partition instead of the entire partition the NAS then recognised it and allowed me to set up the backup (note that I used the IP address to identify the computer, to use the computer's name instead you'd need to set up the NAS as a WINS server first).

The last of the configuration problems I had was that I decided to set up folders on the NAS for each computer user that would provide each user with additional storage space. I thought that the most meaningful names to give these folders would be the names of the users that would be using them. This worked fine until I rebooted the NAS while my computer was turned on. As soon as I did that it was no longer possible to access the NAS from my computer. The issue apparently is that you cannot have users and folders on the NAS with the same name and rebooting the NAS once it was configured to be able to see my computer meant that it was then able to see the conflict which it hadn't been able to detect before. Unfortunately the error message wasn't all that meaningful and it took me quite a while to work out the cause - a search on the Readynas forum for the error message finally gave me the needed clue.

Once these issues were resolved the NAS worked perfectly in accordance with its specifications.

Backup jobs initiated from the NAS run when they are supposed to and send an email to a designated email address reporting the results of the backup. The only tweaks necessary are regarding backing up of computers that are only on some of the time where it may be necessary to set up more frequent backups so as to make it more likely that a backup will actually try to run when the computer is on. The alternative would be to install the supplied backup software (or some other backup software) onto the computer itself so as to run the backup from there. As the supplied software runs in the background without interfering with most programs I ended up setting up most of my data backups to run from the computer to the NAS. The one program I found that it did interfere with was my email program where it tended to lock out the email program from being able to download emails. Running that backup from the NAS resolved that problem.

I didn't test the photo service (but the media and torrent services work as expected and so I have no reason to expect that to not work as well) and I didn't test installing a second drive or attaching a backup drive or printer to the USB ports Again I have no reason to expect that they wouldn't function correctly.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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