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Netgear ReadyNAS RR2312 Review

Netgear has been steadily building up its portfolio of business NAS products and proudly claims its ReadyNAS RR2312 is the industry’s first 12-bay 1U rack appliance. Ideal for businesses that want to maximise their rack space, the RR3212 is certified for Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf hard disks allowing it to deliver a maximum capacity of 144TB.

Netgear has achieved this impressive drive density by fitting a micro-ATX motherboard at the back leaving room up front for three rows of four LFF SATA drives. Loosen the two thumbscrews on the front panel and the main lid slides off to provide easy access to all drive bays.

The motherboard sports the popular quad-core 2.1GHz Atom C3538 CPU as favoured by vendors such as Synology. It comes with 2GB of embedded DDR4 memory and although there’s a spare standard DIMM slot, Netgear doesn’t support memory upgrades which you do at your own risk.

At the rear, you have dual USB 3 and quad Gigabit ports but 10GbE upgrades are not supported. Don’t be fooled by the spare backplate at the rear as the motherboard doesn’t have a PCI-Express expansion slot.

You’re gonna need a bigger rack

During share creation you can enable copy-on-write and scheduled snapshot protection

The RR2312 measures a very lengthy 934mm and we initially couldn’t get it to fit in the lab’s standard 42U 1,000mm deep rack cabinet as the power cable sticking out the back stopped the rear door shutting. To overcome this, we used a power cable with a short L-shaped connector but you may need to adjust your front vertical rack mount posts to accommodate it.

Hard disk installation is a simple tool-free affair. We inserted our four 8TB Seagate SATA drives into the trays and pushed them back onto the combined SATA/power connector until a small thumb-wheel in front locked them in place.

Drive removal is equally simple and the bays are all the hot-swap variety so you just lift the locking thumb-wheel and pull the drive forward to release it. Netgear doesn’t offer drive spacers for the RR2312 so it can’t support SFF SSDs.

Good Gigabit performance

Netgear supports a good range of cloud providers for off-site data backup and file syncing

The Atom CPU performed well with a share mapped to an E5-2600 v4 Xeon Windows rack server returning Iometer sequential reads and writes of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec. Real world speeds were on the money, with drag and drop copies of a 25GB file averaging read and write rates of 112MB/sec and 109MB/sec.

Our general backup test was handled well with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files secured at an average of 87MB/sec. The CPU’s embedded AES-NI engine delivered good performance as our 25GB file copy to a folder on an encrypted volume averaged 112MB/sec.

IP SAN speeds are equally good with a 500GB target returning sequential Iometer read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 104MB/sec. We also liked the facility to place multiple iSCSI targets in different groups and decide which hosts are allowed to access them.

To test maximum NAS performance, we mapped separate shares to four Windows Server hosts over dedicated Gigabit connections. With Iometer running on all four servers, we recorded impressive cumulative sequential read and write speeds of 452MB/sec and 397MB/sec.

Data protection

A key feature of Netgear’s ReadyOS software is its five-point data protection plan. Along with plenty of RAID options, it supports BTRFS copy-on-write protection, unlimited snapshots, cloud backup and on-appliance virus scanning.

We created an X-RAID2 array which supports a single volume that can be automatically expanded by plugging in more hard disks. For more choice, you can swap to Flex-RAID which allows multiple standard RAID5 or 6 arrays to be created.

During NAS share and iSCSI LUN creation, check the ‘bit-rot protection’ option to enable BTRFS copy-on-write. Next, tick the continuous protection box which allows unlimited snapshots to be created and scheduled to run at regular hourly, daily or weekly intervals.

There’s more as ReadyOS provides access to Netgear’s free ReadyDR remote replication and recovery service. This uses snapshots to take point-in-time copies of selected NAS shares and secure them to local ReadyDR shares or those on remote ReadyNAS appliances.

Cloud features and apps

The MileStone Arcus app costs extra but provides plenty of IP camera recording and monitoring features

Netgear has improved its cloud offerings with options to secure local data to Amazon S3 and Drive, Microsoft Azure and OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Wasabi cloud repositories. The appliance can also be managed and accessed remotely via the free ReadyCloud service.

ReadyCloud is simple to set up as you join the appliance to your account and then access it from anywhere using a web browser. Netgear also offers its Vault cloud service for off-site backups with a Business subscription costing $39.95 per month for 2TB.

ReadyOS also offers a built-in backup app which we found very flexible. We defined sources and targets which could be any local NAS share or folder on another network system and ran backups between them at scheduled intervals.

Avoid the flaky ReadyNAS surveillance app as its Live View doesn’t support Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. The MileStone Arcus app is superior although its live view only works with Chrome and Firefox and it supports two cameras for a free 60-day trial after which you buy licenses that must be renewed every five years.

Conclusion

The ReadyNAS RR2312 packs an impressive storage density into its 1U rack height and is good value with prices starting at $1,599. It’s easy to deploy although due to its extreme length, be prepared for some rack cabinet adjustments to get it to fit.

It’s disappointing that the appliance doesn’t support 10GbE upgrades which are fast becoming a must-have feature for business NAS appliances. Even so, we found it delivered a good performance over its Gigabit ports and the ReadyOS software offers improved cloud provider support and a fine range of data protection features.

7.8 Total Score

The ReadyNAS RR2312 packs an impressive storage density into its 1U rack height and is good value with prices starting at $1,599. It’s easy to deploy although due to its extreme length, be prepared for some rack cabinet adjustments to get it to fit.

Performance
7.5
Features
7
Build quality
8
Usability
8
Value
8.5
PROS
  • Unbeatable storage density
  • Great value
  • Top data protection features
  • Easy drive installation
  • Good performance
CONS
  • 10GbE upgrades not supported
  • Rack cabinet may require adjustments
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