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on November 12, 2010
My use is probably pretty far out there - I am hosting a dozen servers via iSCSI (using Citrix XenServer) for a test lab. We needed an inexpensive iSCSI device with decent capacity for a 7x24 lab.
Well, the Netgear NeadyNAS Ultra 6 delivers.
I purchased it about 3 months ago and it has been rock solid - I started with 3 drives and added one more after a week and then another - five in use now.
It may be a quiet unit - in our datacenter there is so much fan noise from other equipment all I can is the Ultra can't be heard above other less-quiet boxes.
It runs cool, starts very quickly, and so far has had no hiccups with inexpensive Western Digital Cavaiar Black 1TB drives.
We don't use any of the Tivo or other options.
We do boot 4 XenServers (hypervisors) and load 12 virtual servers off of the shared storage on the ReadyNAS. We allowed the Netgear box to use its default storage configuration, a proprietary RAID architecture - and no problems there. Adding the additional drivers worked just as advertised - plug in the drive, and in about 24 hours (maybe less) the drive is a member of the RAID configuration.
Setup and connection with iSCSI was so flawless and easy we thought we were missing something. No, it's really "that easy". iSCSI allows server grade equipment to connect and use it as shared storage.
We were not expecting performance to challenge EMC or NetApp or Equallogic - we wanted fast and cheap. However, the performance is "very good" with one caveat - don't try to run a dozen servers *and* add a disk - we found out during the period where the additional drive is joining the array you will probably (we did) drop connections. Let the NetGear do it's thing, then reboot the devices on the shared storage.
This is a very high quality prosumer device that will deliver excellent value for your bucks. Recommended.
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on October 21, 2010
I work daily with high end NAS devices including NetApp, EMC and others. As a professional in this field I would say that a $1400, twelve terabyte NAS device with all these protocols, replication capability, raid options, and add-ons is a deal you can't pass-up.

The ReadyNAS not only has support for CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, FTP, HTTP but it also allows you to install a boat load of other add-ons. Some of the add-ons I have installed from the add-on community so far include: Cacti (to monitor the systems and keep logs for a year), ReadyNAS Photos (nice photo sharing program), SSH shell (allows you to connect to the console and run unix commands), eXtplorer, and xplorer. There are tons of applications already made for this system however, being that this is running a Linux OS with MySQL, Perl and Apache already installed there isn't much you can't do with this puppy.

I am not saying you have to be a techy to use the ReadyNAS system, it really is simple out of the box. However I am saying if you are a techy you can really have at this little device.

p.s. Living in San Francisco I used the XRaid with two parity drives. Nice to have the extra safety option.
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on February 7, 2011
An amazing product! I initially convinced my wife to let me get a NAS drive in order to help backup our pictures and research document, data, etc. After doing a week's worth of solid research, I settled on the Ultra 6 for a couple of reasons.

XRaid-2: Great configurations and ability to hot-swap, with auto-expanding makes it easy to use without having to baby-sit the system to transfer data back and forth once it completes long-duration striping

6-Bays: This gives great options for expandability in the future as I get more data plus the ability for RAID6/XRaid-2 with Dual-Redundancy is definitely worth the extra bucks especially when considering future-proofing larger capacity drives that increase failure occurrances

Compatibility: A brief review of their HCL (Hardware compatibility list) showed a variety of companies, types, and devices from hardware and memory, to USB UPS and Wireless. And that's just the stuff they've tested with

With the device, I bought (just for financial reasons) only 3 drives, just enough to get redundancy going and start storing data. One note to keep in mind, you should get 4 from the start so that you can activate dual-redundancy. If you don't, you have to perform backup's and start from scratch to reactivate dual-redundancy with >= 4 drives (more on that in a bit)

*** This has been updated recently, and thanks to their on-going support, you can do a dual-redundancy activation even if you did not start with it! Another testament to their continued support for their devices! ***

After getting this device, I immediately started transferring data, setup the TIVO connections (which is still not a very reliable feature for auto-transfers, but still great for storage ** This too was updated and now works great! **), the remote access, and the picture hosting. All worked great.

Being a software developer in a past (and semi-current) life, I also found some information in the forums (A WONDROUS resource by the way) to help me set up a Subversion (SVN) Revision Control system. Getting that all set up was easy and straight-forward, and still easily configurable.

After a couple of weeks, it struck me that it would probably be a pain in a couple months when I wanted to add more drives and switch over to dual-redundancy and have to backup and restore everything ** NOTE above update **, so I bought a couple more drives. I have to say, I was expecting quite the pain in backing up and restoring the data, but the entire process of backing up, installing, and restoring my data (with all settings in place) took about 12 hours for about 100 Gb's of data. I had started with 3 500 gb drives and ended with 6, and process was smooth and easy.

This device definitely has my recommendation for programmers, media-enthusiasts, and even general users looking for some common-access, easy-to-install, protected media. Don't forget that this is not a sufficient single backup system, but it provides easy to use options for conducting backups on the data shares you create on the device (or elsewhere connected for that matter). Only a few months in, but between the built-in features, the ability for new features created by 3rd party programmers, and the forum assistance, ReadyNas Ultra's got my vote!

** As noted with updates above, I'm currently 1 year into this product and I'm still loving it. Support has been great, I have had 0 problems, and continued development on the firmware and free software available for it makes this a great-future-proof device. Initially, I was hoping to get 3 years out of it...best case. At this point, I can say with high confidence I'll easily make it 5-7 years without having to get another device...A couple extra bucks for higher capacity drives and I'm set :)
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on December 16, 2012
I've been a long time and very happy ReadyNas user, since before they were acquired by Netgear. I have owned 1 ReadyNas X6 and 3 ReadyNas NV+ (the 4 disk version) for several years: they are still running and I have never had a problem with them.

I bought the Ultra 6 because I hoped to replace a couple of my older NAS units with it and save some space. Six-months and one replacement unit later, I'm still in tech support hell.

I purchased the diskless version and filled with 6 Hitachi disks, same brand and model found on Netgear's approved hardware lists. After a week, I found the ReadyNAS frozen and un-responsive -- only a power cycle would restart it. I'd restart the thing, get another 10/12 days of uptime and then the thing would freeze solid again. Then one day the device told me that two of my disks had died simultaneously. I replaced them with new ones (this time Seagate, again from the approved hardware list) and did a factory default reinstall. A week later, the device froze up again. I went through a few weeks of this and after going back and forth with Netgear support, I got a replacement unit and shipped back the old one. I reinstalled the disks. Everything was fine until a few days later the new replacement unit started behaving in the same exact way as the old one, freezing up solid and requiring a power cycle. When I rebooted it, the unit told me that 2 of the disks had failed (one Hitachi and one Seagate). Same behavior as the previous unit.

After taking the disks out and testing them elsewhere I found that this wasn't the case: the disks worked fine. But the Ultra 6 detected them as dead. I did another factory reset and reinitialized all the disks, and this time the device found them in perfectly fine working conditions. But of course the unit still keeps freezing up every 10/14 days of uptime.

As you can imagine, this kind of behavior is unacceptable for a RAID storage device, which is supposed to stay up even if one or two of the disks fail. And you can't rely on a product which randomly seem to think that your hard drives are dead even when they aren't.

I've been going back and forth with Netgear support on this and they keep going through the motions. Even they can't find anything in the device logs -- nothing shows up. Except for the fact that the device freezes solid every week or two. If I hadn't sent them screen grabs of the 'health' screen showing that the disks were being detected as DEAD by the SMART+ diagnostic, I'm not even sure they would have believed me.

The truth of the matter is that _two_ of these things, both brand new, with the most recent version of Raidiator firmware, thought that 4 our of 8 brand new hard drives had suffered a catastrophic failure even when they hadn't. And again these are expensive disks from Netgear's own list of approved/sanctioned hardware.

There has to be a structural software design defect in this product. I don't know what it is and what triggers it, but there is no way you should trust any data to it. After six months (I purchased this on June 3rd) and substantial time and money wasted on it, I haven't been able to use it. I'm currently trying to cut my losses and see if I can get Netgear to exchange it for a 4 disk NV+ because at least I know that those work flawlessly.

But I've learned my lesson and from now on I'm going to stay away from the Ultra 6 (and from new Netgear Readynas products: time to give Qsnap a chance).
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on October 2, 2010
I bought this purely for use with my TiVos. This review of the Ultra 6 is from a use-with-TiVo point of view. It does have full Network Attached Storage capability for storing any and all of your other computer files, music, etc.

Unfortunately, as shipped, the software it came with (4.2.12) did not work well with TiVos. Neither did 4.2.13.

Netgear has listened, learned, and responded. Software version 4.2.14-T14 (T14 is beta version just released the week of this review) works VERY well with TiVos. All problems that I have experienced have been fixed, and some useful backdoor features added.

Thus, I can rate it at 4 stars, despite previous problems.

The TiVo function of the Ultra 6 will automatically transfer TiVo shows flagged as Keep Until I Delete (GREEN circle) from your TiVo(s) to the Ultra 6.

If it would transfer non-KUID-flagged shows (YELLOW circle) as well, I would rate it at 5 stars.

It will not transfer shows that have the copy protection flag set by the broadcaster.

On TiVo series 3 models, the transfer is slow, due to the series 3 TiVo hardware, not the Ultra 6. A 1 hour high def broadcast show (~6 GB) will take about 1 hour to transfer.

A series 4 Premiere TiVo will transfer much faster, due to changes inside the series 4 hardware compared to the series 3 hardware.

The Ultra 6 appears at the bottom of the TiVo Now Playing list. Select it to display the shows on the Ultra. Select a show and transfer it back to your TiVo to watch it.

With all six drive bays of the Ultra 6 filled with 2 TB drives in a RAID configuration that allows a single drive failure, you get 9 TB of space for your TiVo shows and any other files.
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on October 24, 2010
Purchased the ReadyNAS Ultra 6 diskless device at the end of September 2010. Out of the box it was very easy to setup and configure. I already owned a ReadyNAS NV+ with 4 disks and thought I would go Netgear again. I was looking at the Drobo, but I thought the price was a little much for 5 disks.

In my home theater I am using a Playstation3 (PS3) for media streaming. The ReadyNAS Ultra was instantly visible to the PS3 and accessible. I moved over a large about of data and started enjoying the videos on the Sharp Aquos. The Ultra started out to be whisper quiet and hardly noticeable, but I ran into one issue. The device started to have a grinding noise coming from it that easily filled the house and became very concerning. I removed all disks, rebooted, restored the factory defaults and such with no success. I called tech support and after 2 hours on the phone, they agreed to replace the unit. The issue appears to be a fan that sounds like a radiation sensor. Apparently I'm the only person indicating this issue in the world. You can check out my recording at bit.ly/readynasfan courtesy of AudioBoo. This recording really helped to prove my issue via the iPhone4. I'm hopeful that the unit will be returned in the next two weeks so I can add to this review. Tech Support only pays for shipment back to you so after a $16 charge, it is off to the postal store.
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on April 26, 2013
I have owned three ReadyNAS boxes over the years. I first became interested in purchasing one to provide mass storage of media on my home network. I consider myself an advanced user, not a network engineer, so the NAS concept appealed to me more than building my own box. I purchased ReadyNAS over the others because I was familiar with the Netgear name and the positive reviews of the Infrant boxes, the company that Netgear bought. I have stayed with them because of "the devil you know" syndrome but I have never been really overjoyed with them. Finally two things happened recently that has made me make the switch to another brand.

1. Fans are not user replaceable - I owned a ReadyNAS Pro before this box. Recently the CPU fan started making a lot of intermittent noise. Knowing that the fan bearing is going and not wanting to have a fire hazard I searched the web for a replacement part. What I found is that Netgear considers this a non user replaceable part and I have to ship the whole box back to them for service. All that for a $4 fan! The boxes are very expensive and the idea of being down for an undetermined time and paying unnecessary fees to fix something so simple seems like very poor design planning.

2. Software on all current models is now obsolete - OK I am lazy so instead of researching other brands I solved my fan problem by buying another ReadyNAS, the ultra. Now I find out that Netgear is coming out with OS6 which supersedes ALL other operating systems for ALL of their NAS models and they are not providing ANY upgrade solutions for ANY models. Here is the announcement link([...]). Talk about feeling let down. So much for customer loyalty.

So now I am sitting here with an $700 box that is obsolete and can be taken down by a fan bearing. So considering "straws and camels backs" I am sending this unit back and saying goodbye to Netgear. It is times like this that I cannot say enough for the Amazon return policy. Amazon is the best in the business.

To replace the Ultra I just purchased and am in the process of installing a Synology DS1512+. The GUI is far superior to the Netgear products and the fans are not only easily replaceable but the box warns you when they are about to go. The transfer speed is far superior to the Ultra as well. In my setup, the Ultra was giving me a transfer speed of 20+ MB/sec. The same data over the same network is transferring at about 45 MB/sec. Both speeds are slow I know but remember I am no network engineer. Also from what I can tell Synology already has all of the upgrades that Netgear is proposing in OS6 so now i have a proven box that is state of the art.

In summary, the ReadyNAS is not a bad product and I know that a lot of people like it. However a NAS box is an expensive luxury so before you buy on name recognition alone, do your research and I think that you will find a better solution than ReadyNAS.
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on March 24, 2011
I have had the older readynas unit for several years and decided it was time upgrade mostly for both network connectivity (speed) and redundancy (dual 1G Ethernet ports). I decided to purchase 4 drives at the same time. This is where you have to be careful, make sure you follow the HCL provided at Readynas.com and this is where it gets really tricky, when I searched for the WD Green drives on Amazon, the data base popped up 2TB WD Green drives. I ordered these drives with the ReadyNas and qualified for a $100 rebate - All good stuff.

ReadyNas Arrived in perfect condition - I hardly ever have any issues with packaging or shipping from Amazon from either UPS or FED-EX. Drives arrived a little later via Fed-Ex. I let everything adjust to the inside temp, and mounted the drives to the included trays and powered on.

Everything looked good, system recognized the drives, and started initializing, as these were 2TB drives it took several hours for the system to configure it's self. I returned to find that the unit was in life support mode. The drives that were recommended by the amazon search and qualified for the rebate as a special purchase are NOT compatible ! I never had an issue in the past with amazon's recommendations - this is unfortunate but a show stopper for this combo of NAS and disks.

I recommend double checking the HCL before you press purchase.

I ordered the slightly cheaper but 100% compatiable Seagate drives, plugged them in and the unit works like a dream. Make sure you follow the instructions and press apply after each page on the setup wizard. In addition make sure you download the latest firmware from the ReadyNas site or let the system check for updates.

Apart from the issue with the wrong drives, Amazon recommendation let the side down on this one. I am very please with this new NAS system, and will use my older unit as a backup solution for my critical files using rsync - which works well !
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on November 4, 2010
The ReadyNAS Ultra 6 overall is good, I have owned a Duo for years and like the space upgrade and dual redundancy option on this unit. However, within 2 months, one of the originally supplied drives has died (Barracuda LP 2GB). Upon putting in a warranty request with Seagate, I discovered that the drives supplied by Netgear are much older than the units (July 2010) when this wasn't purchased until Sept 2010. Hence my recommendation that you buy the diskless version and your own disks separately which will likely be cheaper anyway.

Another advantage of buying the diskless version if you are setting up dual redundancy is this option is automatically available if you start with 4 disks at once. If you buy this half-filled version, you have to reformat the system once you add the fourth drive (even on initial boot) in order to get dual redundancy.
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on August 17, 2013
I have had three of these units and only one of them has worked. Netgear support loves to replace defective units with refurbished units that can, at times, be in even worse shape than the unit originally purchased. Their Level 2 support staff seem to think that repeating themselves instead of finding out what is wrong with their products makes sense and a Loss of user data doesn't seem to matter to them either. I now have three of these, only one of which actually works. And, all I do is continually answer Netgear support questions with no resolution to the problems. It is as if they are hoping I either go away or that the 5 year warranty period is reached.

Find something else that does not have Netgear in the name.
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