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NETGEAR Stora Reviewed

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Update 01/19/2009: Premium features clarified


At a Glance
Product NETGEAR Stora (MS2110-100NAS)
Summary Consumer-oriented 2 bay NAS appliance
Pros • Easy to set up
• Media files playable through web browsers
• Automatic RAID 1 configuration upon second drive insertion
• Easy remote web access
• Quiet and low power consumption
Cons • Can't use second drive to expand storage
• No backup of internal storage
• Subscription required to expand beyond 3 user accounts
• Lacks media import application
• Browser-based media players don't play everything

Let’s face it.  When shopping for a NAS, some of us with more geekish tendencies want a product that has virtually every feature, bell and whistle available.  But for many consumers just looking for a place to share files and to back up treasured digital memories, the smorgasbord of features available on products like those offered by Synology, QNAP and others can be a bit overwhelming. 

NETGEAR felt this pain, too with its fully-featured ReadyNASes. Although they have a fairly understandable user interface, ReadyNASes' array of options is just too much for general consumers to deal with. So NETGEAR decided to take a simpler approach, turning to Axentra's HipServ 2.0 platform to create the Stora.

The Stora's target audience is similar to that of Cisco's Linksys Media Hub, which was introduced last year with considerable fanfare at CES. But with a current price of $350 -$400 for a single-drive 1 TB model, simplicity on the Cisco product carries a significant premium.  With street pricing of around $200, and significantly better read performance, the Stora could be a better choice.

Measuring 6.90 x 5.91 x 5.74 in, the Stora is housed in a simple black plastic case wrapped around a sheet metal chassis.  The front panel has a power LED that doubles as a status indicator, as well as individual LEDs for each drive.  A single USB 2.0 port, which can be used to attach additional storage or a USB printer, rounds out the front panel. 

The front panel slides open easily by just applying a little upward pressure on the bottom of the panel.  Figure 1 shows the Stora with the front panel removed to reveal the two drive bays.

Netgear Stora with front panel removed

Figure 1: NETGEAR Stora with front panel removed

Unlike most NASes , the Stora has a fan that’s mounted horizontally and circulates air from the top of the case through the bottom of the case.  The device is very quiet, so it would make a good companion either in an office or a living room. 

On the rear panel (Figure 2), you’ll find the single Gigabit Ethernet port, power connector, power switch, recessed reset button, and two latches to eject the hot-swappable SATA drives. LEDs on the Ethernet port indicate link speed and activity.  Since the Stora is intended for home use, the lack of a rear panel security slot shouldn’t be a problem.

Netgear Stora rear panel

Figure 2: NETGEAR Stora rear panel

On The Inside

The hardware platform (Figure 3) uses the 1 GHz version of Marvell's popular 88F6281 Kirkwood SoC, 128 MB of RAM, 256 MB of flash and a Marvell 88E1116-R for the 10/100/1000 Ethernet port (which doesn't support jumbo frames). Drives are formatted using the XFS filesystem.

NETGEAR Stora board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: NETGEAR Stora board

The Stora ships with a single low power Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB SATA drive.  When a second 1TB drive is installed, the Stora automatically configures itself for RAID 1 (mirroring) to provide you with fault tolerance.  

The device draws 11 W with a single drive and 18 W with two drives installed.  Although you can’t control drive spin down time, you can schedule daily on/off times as shown in Figure 4.

Stora power schedule options

Figure 4: Stora power schedule options

Related Items:

NETGEAR Rolls Out "Home Media" NAS
New To The Charts: NETGEAR Stora
Seagate GoFlex Home Reviewed
LAN Section
Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar Reviewed

User reviews

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Average user rating from: 22 user(s)

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Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Akos
February 29, 2012
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Really terrible slow over wifi. I use with 2 2TB HDD, when i first moved some couple of hundred Gb data to it, it lasted some days and had to do 2-3 hard resets during the process because of freezing. I have some other extrenal HDDs and never faced any similar problem with any of them. However, i like the design and the noise is quite low in my opinion - although stopping spin the discs after a specific time would be a good solution, as my one is running idle at least 80% of a day.


Previous reviewers are whingers!

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Luke
January 06, 2012
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I have been using this close to a year now at first yes not happy, but then i discovered hey gig router would help for speed all my issues went away.

Also for remote access on iphone or anroid no app required just go to your phones browser works fine check upload speed on your connection.

the guy backing up 250gb 30 hrs yes that was the case with 100mb router but with the change i am transferring writing 30MB per sec plus.
for the small business guy, cleary you got no idea about your enviroment i am using to host VOIP Pabx of 20 lines you know sip in/out plus host of other stuff. Also the CD worked fine for me on Mac/Win7/Xp note they are different pcs, user issue even it was damaged jump on the website download no big teary. Firmware issue more like you fiddled when your not ment to or flaky connection.

like the original review simple plug and play for the average joes, remote access via web you need
help a bit.

My setup I got two of them both running in JBOD 2x 3tb HDD so 12tb in total. for the small business thats 3+3+3+3=12. I use 1 to store uncompressed blurays which stream fine to YAMAHA BD-S671 plus other devices throughout the house and internet, My partner being a photographer needs to back up her photos off MacBook while on the road drag drop done.
Also i am running as mentioned earlier 20 VOIP lines off the box as well configs, voicemail, faxmail
theres host of other things as well ps3/360/Apple tv/Linksys Media extendors/scanner{printer}

Basically guys it comes to this establish what your needs are first, look at network next then buy.
Wired enviroment is better for high traffic flow.
Note for $120 its a steal.



Overall rating: 
Reviewed by C
December 20, 2011
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Slow. as. dead. snails. Forget using it as a media server, it can't even navigate folders in a timely manner.
Have to upgrade to Premium Paid features to see it on your iPad, even if it's only used on your home network.
Advertisements on your own device!
Have to log in via the web to use your own device on your own network!
Not silent. Spins up the disks randomly,which can wake me up from another room.
No power button to turn it OFF (must be done via software!!)
Software is challenging to use and navigate (slow response time contributes to challenge).
Even what is seems to do well doesn't work; Album order, slideshow settings...none of the features they think are complete work well enough to market out of an Alpha trial level of software, and this after years of updates!


Terrible perf & support

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Claudio
July 17, 2011
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Poor performance and even worse support. Good to see that one guy is pleased, but he assumes the rest are retards. Maybe it works under his network conditions. Not mine.

Arrogant support. When an update finally came I was blocked out of the server after an installation error. Now I'll change SW.

I regret not bying an ext disk, half the money.


Stora - no thanks!

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Paul
May 31, 2011
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I decided that a small business network running from home should invest in some simple NAS as a backup should a major problem occur. On paper the Stora looked a winner with simple interface and setup and reasonable costs. It also appealed as I have only an average level of understanding about software and this looked simple to use.

The Stora 2110 was ordered from Amazon and arrived and was unpacked. First impressions looked good. Nice appearance and well packaged item easy to connect with a setup CD included. From here on in things took a turn for the worse! The initial software proceeded ok but the Stora failed to show up on our network. After loads of trials and tribulations it turned out to be a problem with the setup disc. Several calls later to the tech support (free for the first 90 days only) and the Stora was running well. Things stayed this way until I was prompted to do a software update. Now the car wreck began.......

The Stora has a simple traffic light system of LED's on the front panel that tell if things are going wrong. The number of different combinations of which light is blinking and for how many blinks and for how long each series of blinks lasts is bewildering. Finally I deduced that the Stora had a faulty drive This turned out to be wrong its just the lights that were blinking in the wrong order..ggrrrrrrr. I have spent hours trying to get this box to work and have given up. The problem is unstable software. The Stora forum (which is more use than the Stora tech support) is littered with stories of pain and frustration from folk better at solving problems than I am. Bottom line is buy a hard drive enclosure like Linksys, Buffalo etc and use some reliable software like AlwaysSync. This will cost less in the long run and be more reliable than the duffer Netgear Stora software.

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