Like some sort of mildly advanced superhero, Netgear is swooping in with its new Stora network drive to bring serious RAID backup to the average PC user who is only slightly more terrified of network settings than they are about error messages containing the word ‘fatal’.
In a world where houses seem to have netbooks and laptop strewn all over them, network drives offer a useful backup solution. However, as anyone who’s ever had their backup drive fail on them will tell you, one backup is less safe than you might hope.
What Netgear is offering is a drive designed to avoid being intimidating wherever possible. The styling is, unsurprisingly, pretty close to wireless routers from the same company and features a jet black exterior with curved edges and those blue lights that have become so fashionable.
The USB port on the front lets you transfer files from a USB drive, but more interesting is the ability to attach a printer for sharing over the network. Considering how difficult it can be finding a simple way to get your printer onto your network, this is a seriously welcome bonus.
Software-wise, the Stora is suitably stocked. There’s UPnP/DLNA-certified media streaming for sending compatible media to just about everything these days (TVs, Blu-ray players, games consoles, PCs… you get the idea). There’s also a premium service that offers remote access and playback of your various media, social networking compatibility and access from smartphones.
Around the back of the Stora you’ll find the hard drive bays. One is already filled with a 1TB drive for your file-storing delectation with the other sitting empty. Pop a second hard drive in and the Stora will take on the task of setting the two drives up in RAID 1 for you – meaning that you don’t get any extra storage, but everything is stored on both drives.
The cloud may be the next big thing, but this type of network drive offers a great halfway house for those who want to work wirelessly, but aren’t ready to entrust all of their files to the great ether.