Netgear's ReadyNAS 6.0 OS Targets SMBs, SOHOs

Netgear rolled out a new series of NAS appliances to go with a new version of its ReadyNAS operating system.

With the unveiling of its ReadyNAS 6.0, Netgear also finally standardizes on a single operating system rather than the three it had been using, said Matt Pahnke, senior manager of product marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based company's storage business.

With the ReadyNAS 6.0 operating system, the company also has simplified its product line in a way that finally lets customers decide which to buy based on the speed and capacity they require, Pahnke said.

[Related: Netgear Pushes Higher Into SMBs With Unified Storage Arrays ]

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"Our hope is to make NAS storage easier for home users who haven't used it before and bring enterprise NAS features to SMBs," he said.

ReadyNAS 6.0 includes several features differentiating it from Netgear's previous operating systems, Pahnke said.

These include the ability to take advantage of faster processors to allow multiple users to simultaneously access storage across PC, Macintosh and Linux environments; unlimited shapshots for disk-based backups; the ability to manage multiple copies of data for improved disaster recovery; thin provisioning; improved iSCSI support; and the company's new ReadyCloud platform for cloud-based discovery and management capabilities.

While Netgear has had cloud storage via its ReadyNAS Vault and online file access via its ReadyNAS Remote offerings, ReadyCloud is the first technology Netgear or any vendor has offered for cloud-based management of SMB storage, Pahnke said.

ReadyCloud is aimed at home users and SMBs with little or no storage deployment experience to get their new Netgear appliances ready to use.

"With ReadyCloud, you open the box, plug the appliance in, and go to a URL," he said. "Click discover, and it finds the device. Enter the user name and password, and you're up and running. You can go to a Web portal from Starbucks with a tablet and set it up remotely."

Small-business users can use ReadyCloud to access multiple boxes at once to do the management, set up file shares, browse to the file level, and access any file from a local device, Pahnke said.

NEXT: Advanced Storage Services For SOHO, SMB Users

ReadyCloud also brings advanced snapshot capabilities, including the ability to access unlimited snapshots, to NAS appliances costing only $200, Pahnke said. It runs on the open-source Btrfs (pronounced ButterFS) kernel that allows multiple snapshots to be tied to a single full data set to same capacity, he said.

"This is fairly advanced stuff for the home user," he said. "This is fairly advanced stuff for the business user."

Netgear also added thin provisioning, replication, real-time antivirus including encryption, and the ability to back up data to and restore from Apple Time Machine, he said.

On the hardware side, NetApp introduced three new members of its ReadyNAS family.

The ReadyNAS 100 series for prosumers comes in two-bay and four-bay models and can be purchased diskless or with hard drives already installed. Pricing starts at $199.

The ReadyNAS 300 series for small businesses or remote or branch offices come in two-bay, four-bay and six-bay models in a 1U rack-mount form factor. Pricing starts at $449.

The ReadyNAS 500 is a six-bay appliance the company said supports up to 250 concurrent users, with prices starting at $1,299.