Billed by Netgear as the world's fastest desktop NAS, the six-bay ReadyNAS 716 is deserving of this accolade by virtue of a quad-core Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon E3 processor and 16GB of RAM. But that's far from all as, in addition to a pair of Gigabit ports, you also get two 10GbE interfaces as standard. All of which puts the latest ReadyNAS on a par with a mid-range server in terms of specification.
It also attracts a similar price tag, starting at £1,666 ex VAT (around $2,800, AU$3,000) without any disks which is well beyond the budget of most small businesses. It could, however, be justified by larger SMEs looking for fast, enterprise-class storage in a desktop format.
Quietly does it
The ReadyNAS 716 certainly looks the part, housed in the same large desktop chassis as other six-bay Netgear appliances with a built-in power supply. Plus, just like the ReadyNAS 515, it has a door over the storage compartment that features a touch-sensitive LED display. Blue status LEDs for the disks complete the futuristic look and with just one very large fan and a smaller one in the PSU it's eerily quiet in operation.
Carriers to take 3.5-inch or smaller 2.5-inch SATA disks are included and these simply slide into a vertical stack of six slots behind the front door. A small catch on each carrier prevents accidental removal but there are no physical locks, either on the carriers or the door.
The review system came pre-populated with six 100GB Intel SSDs – to bolster the "world's fastest desktop NAS" claims – but, in practice, most buyers will opt for magnetic disks to maximise capacity. We found the ReadyNAS 716 bundled with a full set of six 4TB WD RED disks selling online for £2,609 ex VAT (around $4,330, AU$4,630).
With 4TB drives fitted the maximum capacity is 24TB, but yet more can be added by plugging Netgear EDA500 expansion units into eSATA connectors on the rear panel. There are three eSATA ports altogether and the EDA500 is a five-bay device which, using 4TB drives, enables a further 60TB of storage to be added at a cost of £388 ex VAT ($650, AU$700) per expansion unit, plus the price of the disks.
Two USB 3.0 and a further two USB 2.0 ports are also provided, primarily for local backup purposes. And lastly, there's an HDMI port too, which could be used for, say, streaming data direct to a video display, although we think this is an unlikely use for such a big and costly system.