Netgear’s products do not pretend to be functionally advanced. Instead, they focus on a proper implementation of the basic features.
The ReadyNAS Duo has two disk bays, so you can set up fault-tolerant configurations. Besides JBOD, RAID0 and RAID1, this NAS series supports the exclusive X-RAID technology although the latter cannot show its very best with only two disks. From the end-user’s point of view, X-RAID means the lack of manual configuring and setting up when adding or replacing HDDs because everything is done automatically. If you have one HDD and then another (same-capacity or larger), you will end up with a fault-tolerant array similar to an ordinary mirror. Afterwards, the HDDs can be replaced one by one with larger disks without losing data. If you are interested in how this technology works, you can visit www.readynas.com and watch a few videos illustrating the operation of X-RAID.
If you use the FleX-RAID mode, you can create disk volumes manually (including two volumes of different sizes) or a RAID0 array out of two disks. Switching between the FleX-RAID and X-RAID modes is only done with data loss through the RAIDar utility. In the FleX-RAID mode, you can create multiple disk volumes on a single HDD using a part of the whole capacity for each. The NAS has one Gigabit Ethernet port with support for Jumbo Frames (if turned on, the MTU parameter is set at 7936 bytes). You can find the usual network settings here: IP address (specified manually or obtained from a DHCP server), network name, workgroup name, DNS and WINS servers. By the way, the ReadyNAS Duo can itself work as these servers, which may be handy for small LANs or nonstandard applications.
Access control is implemented using the traditional mechanism of users and groups. You can specify five of them on one page. If you need more, you can import and export user lists. You can specify disk quotas (for each volume independently) and home folders, export the latter via NFS or FTP, enable network recycle bins for deleted files and specify their maximum capacity and time to store data.
But of course, files are usually stored not in private folders but in shared network resources. For each of them you can individually specify access rights not only for particular users but also for protocols (SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, HTTP). This is implemented in an unusual way, though. You specify the default access type and keep lists of users and groups that have access rights other than the default ones. Additionally, there is a field to specify hosts that can access the resource. Folder-specific settings are available with some protocols. For example, with SMB/CIFS you can hide the folder in the network browser, set up a recycle bin for deleted files, and enable OpLock. With NFS, you can enable the synchronization mode which makes the system more reliable but lowers its writing performance.
As for performance, there is a whole page with such parameters as using the disks’ cache for writing, choosing the file system’s journaling mode, enabling additional write caching for CIFS and deferred writing for USB devices. These parameters are going to help you optimize the NAS’s performance for different types of tasks and applications. According to the manufacturer, if you turn the journaling off altogether, which is safe enough if you use an UPS, you’ll enjoy a really nice performance boost at writing.
There is only one group of parameters left for us to discuss in this section: file access protocols. Here they are: SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP(S), HTTP(S). This is enough for all home applications. Each protocol can be turned on and off independently. User-defined parameters are available for some of them. For example, you can specify the number of threads for NFS, or the ports (a control port and a few passive ones) and whether or not downloads can be resumed for FTP.
For the NAS to be easily found from other LAN devices, it supports UPnP and Bonjour.