The MV is HP's initial entry into the consumer-level NAS market, and they've come out strong. The device performs well. It has expansion capabilities via its USB ports and for more secure backups, it supports RAID 1 mirroring. The UPnP AV server on the device was a nice feature that allowed me to stream media to my entertainment center.
Besides being pleased with having the standard Windows network filesharing available, I appreciated the support for NFS and FTP so my Macs and Linux computers could play along. HP didn't include any backup software for systems other than Windows, but the software they did supply had the unique disk restore feature that could be a lifesaver in the event of a catastrophic disk failure.
As far as a comparison to its peers, the most direct comparison would be to the Thecus 2100 which is also a two-disk NAS device or D-Link's new DNS-323. As shown above, the Media Vault "bested" the 2100 in performance. Unfortunately, complete results from DNS-323 testing weren't available at the time of this review, so I wasn't able to include that product in the throughput comparison plots. A check of the NAS Charts shows the two products to be comparable in performance with the DNS-323 having a bit of an edge. The Media Vault also has a more extensive feature set than the 2100.
In terms of price, you can purchase the 2100 without any drives online for around $275, whereas you can purchase a Media Vault with a 300GB drive from HP's online store for $350. The 2100 was quite a bit smaller and more attractive to my eyes than the MV.
Overall, the Media Vault has the upper hand in the comparison, and I have no problem recommending it if you're looking to wrap up a home network storage device to put under the tree this holiday season.