Netgear's Stora MS200 is a good-value NAS. It's fast enough for most uses and has plenty of useful features, but it supports only RAID 1.
2 disk bays, 1TB storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Network-attached storage (NAS) devices that can accommodate multiple disks usually cost a lot more than single-disk models. However, Netgear’s two-bay Stora is surprisingly affordable at less than £180, and it comes with a 1TB hard disk fitted.
Fitting another disk is easy. The front panel slides off easily, exposing the empty second bay. A second disk simply slots in, with no tools required. To eject a disk, you just have to lift the lever on the back. Oddly, the Stora doesn’t support RAID 0, so it can’t combine the capacity of two disks, doubling the available storage. Still, we prefer the supported RAID 1 mode, which means your data should still be safe if one disk fails. It’s also very quiet in use.
Configuring the Stora is straightforward. The fiddly layout of the web configuration interface could do with some improvement, but creating user accounts and setting the folders each user can access isn’t difficult. By default, each user gets their own private folder as well as access to a Family folder that anyone can use.
We had no problem using the Stora to share a USB printer or the contents of a USB disk across our network. It also worked well as an iTunes server and an UPnP media server, although configuring the iTunes function was baffling until we referred to the manual. Photos stored on the Stora can be uploaded automatically to Flickr or Facebook; you can pick and choose which folders are uploaded.
Files kept on the MS200 can be accessed remotely from any internet-connected computer with a web browser using Netgear’s MyStora service at www.mystora.com. This costs $20 (around £12) a year, but it’s a good choice if you need to access files on the go, because it’s stable and has an excellent web interface. We didn’t need to adjust our router settings – it even worked on a router that didn’t support UPnP port forwarding.
The MyStora web interface, which also works over a local network, allows you to play music and video files remotely if your web browser has the appropriate plug-ins. It works reasonably well, but it’s a niche feature and depends on your broadband connection’s upload speed. Files can even be copied from a remote computer to the MS200 by dragging and dropping.
Although the Stora isn’t the fastest NAS we’ve seen, it’s still reasonably quick at copying files. Large files were transferred at an overall speed of just under 25MB/s, while small files were copied at an average speed of 22.5MB/s, making it a bit slower than a USB2 hard disk.
If time is critical and you intend to transfer large files to and from your NAS then the Stora MS200 isn’t the best choice. However, it’s full of useful features and is good value if you want a RAID 1 NAS but don’t have much money.
|Default file system||ext3|
|Price per gigabyte||£0.18|
|3.5in drive bays||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||1|
|RAID modes||RAID 1|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||1/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||yes|
|UPnP media server||yes|
|USB disk server||yes|
|Protocols supported||TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP|
|Ethernet cable included||yes|
|Additional features||remote access, photo uploading, media aggregator and browser|
|Power consumption active||12W|
|Warranty||three years RTB|