Netgear Stora Review / Tips

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Netgear Stora from Futureshop. 1TB RAID enabled backup unit

Just got a Netgear Stora from FutureShop for $200 (which seems to be a good deal if I compare it with tigerdirect.ca which has it marked at closer to $300).

First impressions, slick little box, hotswap dual bay drives. I had to purchase another 1TB drive to go with it (only comes with one drive with which of course you cannot do mirroring – which is the whole point of a box like this). So $300 total spent on it. Its a NAS unit (network attached storage). Never tried a NAS before, my currently external is a USB 2.0 unit, single 3.5 inch 7200 rpm drive.

Some quick points:

  • Nice flash webbased interface for accessing files
  • Accessible via FTP on the internet – cool option
  • 1000Mb capable on LAN – too bad my router is only 10/100. Causes slow backups… transfer rates around 7.5megs a second on 100Mbit connection. Initial backup of a large drive would easily take all night but incrementals shouldn’t be so bad.
  • Love the auto RAID 1 configuration (mirroring). Excellent disaster recovery backup unit! No questions asked, you puting a drive and it starts syncing. There are options to do JBOD (just a bunch of drives) but that of course would defeat the purpose of such a unit, ie, ensuring backed up data is safe.
  • Config on Mac for time machine is a bear 🙁 They ship it with a tool to configure it for you – the manual is hard to follow here – especially when its not working as they say it should.  The tool can be found using spotlight, go into the Stora Apps folder and click ComputersBackup.app. This app is key, it will setup the ComputersBackup special / secret location for Time Machine to use. The manual doesn’t spell this out, or mention this app I don’t even think…Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 8.00.44 PMTIP: Ensure you have ALL the updates downloaded and applied to the unit, thats what finally worked for me after literally hours googling, trying to set it up etc. There is a bug there only fixed by the updates that is need for Time Machine. Once the tool is able to complete, Time machine sees it. Great!
  • When time machine is not using the drive, its not marked as a time machine drive on the desktop, which is a pain because you can’t easily do manual backups.
  • Trying to backup my time machine files from my single drive to this new one which is not all formatted  in Apple Journal format is also a brutal task. Lots of ‘format not correct for backups’ errors. (I just want to duplicate the file just in case!)
  • Backup from a windows machine on the network to the storage is flawless! Just works, very nice – and goes as fast as your little router will carry the packets
  • USB plug on the front allows direct backup of memory sticks, or even plugging in a printer to share it over a wireless network – now that is a great extra feature to have!
  • Quiet. So far, when backing up you can hear the standard whirrrrrr of the drives but its not bad at all

If you’ve looking for a unit that just WORKS on mac, no questions asked, get a firewire or USB. If you want to put a bit of effort into your backup, get cool network backups and printer sharing and in theory a more secure backup, then a NAS is a great option.

For electronics, drives, routers etc, they don’t often ‘just work’ so this is par for the course in my experience but once running it seems to do its job nice and neatly!

If you’re looking for assistance on getting one of these going on your mac, feel free to comment and I’ll try to help or at least detail what I did in my situation to get it running. I couldn’t find any other posts or forums telling you to get the latest update on it, that was my issue so I’m posting this one for the next guy!

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2 thoughts on “Netgear Stora Review / Tips

  1. NAS units are pretty good. The most important thing for me is having RAID-1. I’ve had so many hard drives die on me I know better now. I have a DNS-323 with 2x1TB drives in it. I can upgrade to 2TB if I want but I haven’t used it all up.

  2. that unit, dns323 looks pretty similar, does all the same stuff, even looks the same on the back. Mirroring is the way to go if you’re serious about backup. Now that you can get 2tb drives and larger, a 2 disk mirror should be plenty for most.

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