RAID options on the Duo v2 include X-RAID2 and Flex-RAID (RAID0, RAID1, or JBOD). X-RAID2 is NETGEAR’s latest version of its X-RAID technology that allows for capacity expansion and RAID level migration without having to erase and reformat drives. X-RAID2 is a nice solution that allows you to deploy a Duo v2 with a single drive and later add a second drive for redundancy, without losing data.
The default RAID setting for the Duo v2 is X-RAID2. To use Flex-RAID, the device has to be factory reset. It’s best to do this on initial setup, as factory resetting the Duo v2 erases all data.
It took me a couple times to get to the RAID options menu, shown below. You need to have RAIDar running during the factory reset, and watch for it to prompt you to click Setup. According to the manual, “During the factory reboot process, you have a 10-minute window to choose a RAID configuration,” which I missed the first time I tried this process.
Once you’ve chosen the desired volume mode, the reset completes and the device then syncs the drives to the default volume setting, which is X-RAID2. It took my system about 20 minutes to complete the factory reset process, during which I received the screen below when I tried to log in.
RAID sync message
Once the factory reset completes, the Duo v2 presents a wizard that allows you to set the time zone, enter an email address for automatic notifications, configure the device host name, and change the admin password. It also allows you to register the device with NETGEAR for support. If you’ve reset a system with two drives, the Duo v2 will sync those drives, even if there is no data on them. The system will be accessible during that the drive sync.
Replacing disks and increasing capacity with X-RAID2 is a no-brainer. All activity can be performed while the device is running. All you do is replace one drive, wait for the system to complete the sync and copy operations, replace the second drive, again wait for the system to complete the sync and copy operations, and finally reboot the system so it can recognize the larger capacity. The system remains functional throughout the entire process, except during a brief reboot at the end.
I’ve had good experience with the original X-RAID in the Duo v1 for the past four years. I originally had two 500 GB disks in the Duo v1, which I replaced with two 1 TB disks to increase capacity. Recently, one of my 1TB disks failed, so I replaced both with 2 TB disks. Through all this disk activity, I have been able to retain all of my data without having to back it up externally and copy it back to the Duo. (I have over 10 years of family photos and videos stored on the Duo, so loss of data would be a disaster!)
Ed note: You've been lucky, Doug. RAID is not backup!
My test Duo v2 came with a single 1TB Seagate ST31000524AS drive. I hot installed a 1TB Seagate ST31000528AS drive to the second drive bay of the Duo v2. No configuration, power down, or reboot was required. The Duo v2 immediately began syncing the drive, yet remained fully functional during the process. According the log messages, it took about 4 hours, 15 minutes for the synchronization process to complete.
Once the sync was complete on the Duo v2 with a pair of 1TB drives, I had 1 TB of redundant capacity. Thus, a disk failure would not disable the NAS or result in loss of data. The first screen shot below shows both disks up and running.
The second, smaller screen shot shows the system is running X-RAID2 with a redundant capacity of 913 GB.
Basic use of the ReadyNAS Duo v2 is easy. Saving data to and from the device from Windows is a matter of mapping the drive. From Windows Explorer in Windows 7, simply click on Computer, select Map network drive, and enter \\IPaddress\media to access the default share on the Duo v2. Of course you can also just browse to a shared folder on the NAS using the Windows Network browser.
Security configuration is also straightforward. Out of the box, the Duo v2 allows access to all shares and files on the system. Users are created by name, email and password, and assigned to groups. Shares can then be configured to allow anonymous access, Read Only access, or Read/Write access to users as desired.
Other features from the Duo v1 is carried over to the Duo v2. The Duo v2 recognized my APC UPS when connected via the USB 3.0 port in the back of the device. The Duo v2 can also be configured with an email account to send notifications and status updates as desired.
One problem that carried over from the Duo v1 to the Duo v2 is the Kensington Lock Security hole recess remains too deep for my Kensington Security cable to connect to the device, as I reported in my review on the Duo v1.
The Duo v2 has extremely flexible backup capabilities—perhaps the most comprehensive of any NAS available. Any backup program that can recognize a network drive should be able to write backup files to the Duo v2. NETGEAR bundles a single-user license for Memeo Premium Backup software for backing up a Windows PC. I've been using Windows' backup utility (go to Control Panel, then Backup and Restore) to automatically back up files on Windows 7 laptops to the Duo v1 for years.
I found the Duo v2 to work equally as well as the Duo v1 for backing up my Windows' PCs. I setup a simple Windows backup job on a couple of folders on my laptop and directed Windows to write the backup to the Duo v2. I set the backup job to run immediately. I created a folder on the Duo v2, then created a backup job specifying the folders and schedule I wanted backed up to that Duo v2 folder.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Windows is performing a backup to the Duo v2 (identified as \\192.168.199.11\media\PCBackup\).