Backup - more
Note that you don't even have to run a backup program on your computer. The backup features on all ReadyNASes are bi-directional. So you can create a backup job on the Duo to automatically copy data from any networked share to the NAS. The file selection options aren't as granular as you get from a backup program and the options aren't as complex. But you can create full and incremental backups that in many cases will get the job done.
The Duo v2 also makes it easy to back up data from your MacOS computer using Apple's Time Machine software. Simply enable the Time Machine backup feature on Duo v2 and create a password. Then use Apple's Time Machine software to configure and start the backup.
I enabled the Time Machine feature on the Duo v2, then enabled a Time Machine backup on a Mac Book running OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard). As you can see in the screenshot, Time Machine is writing backup data from my Mac to the ReadyNAS Duo v2.
Time Machine backup
NETGEAR provides multiple options to create backups of the data on the Duo v2 itself. Those options include writing a backup to a local USB hard drive, to another network drive, or to ReadyNAS' Vault cloud based data backup service.
The Vault service is run by Elephant Drive. This service provides cloud based storage services for PCs, Macs, and various NAS devices. You can try the Vault service free for 30 days. After that, personal storage options start at $9.95/month for 100 GB storage and go up to $169.95/month for 2 TB of storage. There are different rates for business storage options based on number of users.
I used a local USB hard drive to back up data on the Duo v2. Backups on the Duo v2 are managed via “jobs.” A Duo v2 backup job allows you to specify the backup data source and destination. Backups can then be scheduled to run automatically at various times or immediately. The screen shot below shows the log messages of a completed backup I ran from the Duo v2 to my USB hard drive connected to the Duo's front USB port.
The Duo v2 has a button on the front to simplify backups. Once a backup job has been created, you can configure the Duo to manually start configured backup jobs with the push of the front backup button.
Finally, backing up the ReadyNAS Duo v2 configuration is equally straightforward. You can backup your configurations for shares, services, users and groups, network, and miscellaneous settings. Configuration backups are a manually operation that takes a few seconds by choosing the configuration options to backup and then clicking the button to download the configuration to your PC.
The ReadyNAS Duo v1 and v2 enable remote access to your files for devices running ReadyNAS Remote software. ReadyNAS Remote is now part of the base software in version 5.3.6, as opposed to being an Add-On in previous versions.
The ReadyDROP feature, new to firmware version 5.3.6, works in conjunction with NETGEAR's ReadyNAS Remote Access feature. NETGEAR advertises ReadyDROP as providing“unlimited, free and private cloud storage (that) automatically sync files between PC's, Macs and mobile devices.” When NETGEAR announced this feature a few months ago, they made no bones about it having the potential to replace cloud-based file-sync services like Dropbox and SugarSync.
The value to ReadyDROP is files placed into the ReadyDROP folder on any ReadyDROP-enabled device are automatically synchronized in real time between the Duo v2 and all devices running the software, in the background, as long as the devices have Internet access.
I had problems getting ReadyNAS Remote and ReadyDROP to work with my Duo v2. I worked with NETGEAR's tech support who had me downgrade my Duo v2 to firmware 5.3.5 and re-install the ReadyNAS Remote application. After multiple reboots and configurations, we still couldn't get the ReadyDROP feature to function. At that point, NETGEAR tech support told me there are “on going issues” with ReadyNAS Remote and ReadyDROP on version 5.3.6.
I did get ReadyNAS Remote to work intermittently and was able to remotely access the shares on my Duo v2 from a Windows 7 PC, Mac OS X Leopard PC, and an iPhone running iOS 5. The screenshot below shows remote access to my Duo v2 shares from my Mac. I proceeded to play around with it a bit, and found the ReadyNAS Remote feature useful for remotely accessing the shared folders on the Duo v2.
ReadyNAS Remote in action
The ReadyDROP feature on the other hand, didn't work for me. The ReadyDROP feature is supposed to create or allow creation of a ReadyDROP folder on the Duo v2, as well as the devices enabled for ReadyDROP. I was able to create a ReadyDROP folder on my Windows 7 PC, but not on the Duo v2, thus limiting the use of the feature. Hopefully, NETGEAR will sort out the issues with this feature.
After the review, NETGEAR product specialists reached out to try to help with the features I encountered with ReadyNAS Remote and ReadyDROP. Long story short, we were not able to identify a reason for the initial problems. But we were able to get both working by doing a full factory reset. This has a big downside of requiring a complete reformat of the drives, so you lose all your data unless you have backed it up. So my recommendation on ReadyNAS Remote and ReadyDROP is to enable and test them before you start loading data.
You can use ReadyDROP from a Windows or MacOS computer, but there doesn't seem to be support for this feature (at this time) on tablets or handhelds. Note, ReadyDROP is also accessible via a web portal, which allows access to the DROP folder without installing a client on your computer.
To test ReadyDROP, I copied a file to the DROP folder on my Windows PC. Once the sync completed, I was able to verify the file was saved to the Duo v2. Note, ReadyDROP files are stored in a hidden directory on the Duo v2, viewable only via the SSH add-on.
I ran an additional test where I uploaded a file to the DROP folder via the web portal and observed my Windows client detect the new file and sync it to the Windows DROP folder. I was able to verify this file was also saved to the Duo v2's hidden directory.
A final note is that NETGEAR just released RAIDiator 5.3.7 that includes a Enhance ReadyNAS Remote & ReadyDrop support fix. This is not shown on the main NETGEAR support site, so hit the link above if you want it.
The Duo v2 supports streaming media to DLNA-capable devices. DLNA is enabled by default on the Duo v2 and can be disabled. I like the fact that the Duo v2 DLNA feature will stream media from any folder, whereas the Duo v1 requires you specify folders for DLNA streaming. I loaded a few .mpeg videos and .jpg photos on the Duo v2 and had no problem playing them on a DLNA-capable LG TV and via a Sony PS3.
ReadyDLNA is a free app available on both iTunes and Google Play to allow Apple and Android devices to stream media from the Duo v2 as well. ReadyDLNA relies on the user name and password you create for the ReadyNAS Remote function.