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back to article Netgear Storage Central Turbo SC101T network storage box

Storage for digital documents has never been cheaper, but what's the best way to make it available to all the computers in your home or office? You've got a network - why not use that? Enter the network-connected storage box...and to tempt you to spend your hard-earned this week is Netgear's Storage Central Turbo SC101T. …

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Anonymous Coward

NetGear Experiece

I unfortunately did no research on the predecessor to the above product and sorely regretted it. And from the screen-shots this newer version is no different. The biggest issue is the proprietary file system format. I want to a solution for my Linux box but can't use it. Secondly, it's horribly slow. I mean, REALLY slow. From what I understand, it's the filesystem and drivers, not the hard-drive that is the bottle-neck.

Finally, the management software works about half the time. It frequently freezes. Even after I managed to get this installed, the drive doesn't always show up. I find myself constant re-installing.

Again, this was on the previous model, but it doesn't look much different and the author of this articles seems to avoid these areas.

I suggest something else.

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Anonymous Coward

Pants, Pants, Pants !

Way too generous a review !

Tried one for work and threw it away.

It uses a proprietary data transport protocol and drivers licenced from a big SAN manufacturer whose name escapes me. This makes it win 2k and XP only for goodness sake !!!

The disk format is proprietary too so if the device goes titsup you lose the data unless you have / get another unit !!!

Go for a cheap no-name LAN disk enclosure which runs SAMBA and FTP on FAT32 disks.

70% for this thing ? NO NO NO.

Reg review gets 20%. See me after class.

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JJ

Linux

No Linux driver and no promise of one either. The Vista driver has been promised since early 2007 and its release date has constently slipped through out this year.

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70% - you must be joking!

The fact that you did not perform speed test is absolutely appalling!

“Speed tests wouldn't yield meaningful information.”

When I bought the previous model of this device, I have expected it to offer transfer rates that are similar to NAS devices, but not in a million years did I expect the device to do 1.5-3MB/S! At this speed, it is only suitable as a backup medium that is seldom accessed

The difference in hard drives is completely irrelevant, one will do 40MB/S another will do 38MB/S – speed tests are meant for the transfer performance, and it is surprising to see this review missing the most important point!

Another huge issue is driver support – what use is a storage box that you cannot access over the network, from any OS, PDA’s or a media player connected to the TV.

70% - you must be joking!

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If it's like the previous version, the SC101...

...then forget it.

It seemed an ideal solution for me as a laptop user but the software and drivers are poor, mounted drives frequently disappear when machines return from standby (requiring a reboot of drives, computer and (often) the router to fix) so it's nothing but trouble.

I've given up on mine and switched to just buying some big drives for an old PC to use as a server. It's much less hassle.

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hmmmm

Hmmmm, Yes it doesn't have support for other OSes or streams stuff itself, but honestly, that doesn't bother me. That's not what I'm after. It sounds ideal for the network task that I'm after and its simplicity would mean I could even set it up at my parents place and I wouldn't have too many 'tech support' calls to fix it!

Speed is an issue for me though but the problem I have is the file system. I've had kit die before and if its not a nice decent file system, then there is little chance I could recover the data without getting another unit and that, for me, is a big issue!

It does have its uses, but I would get it to complement other devices on the network and have a decent backup setup too.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't waste you money!

Steer clear of this box - Its the most expensive and annoying door stop you'll ever buy!

It randomly refuses to remount drives on boot, the list of incompatabilities is ridiculous, and the support from Netgear on this is non existant - People were asking about Vista drivers back in Janauary and they're still not available.

Save your money and buy a quality product.

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was the score subject to the provision of the review unit?

The fact is that everyone here agrees – 70% is TOOO generous, alter the score, to retain whatever bit of professional integrity you have left.

Or was the score subject to the provision of the review unit?

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iSCSI?

How long before we see iSCSI units out there? There are initiators from Microsoft and initiators for most flavors of Linux. There's even an initiator for Mac OS X. And work going on right now for one for OpenBSD. You can get by with SATA drives or, if you have the bucks/pounds/euros you can go with the much faster SAS drives. Now, unless your really do have a gigabit network, it's a waste, but have you looked at the price of gig switches and NICs?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Various points

No, the score was not subject to the provision of a review unit. That's never the case, nor would we accept such terms.

I had no problems with the management software freezing, or random non-mounts of drives. That said, I didn't try to put the connected laptop to sleep, so I can't comment on failings there.

As I note in the review, the SC101T's ability to get data back after one of the drives is in a mirrored config is next to useless, so arguably the unit shouldn't be used for its claimed data-security properties. I didn't point it out - though some of you have - that the proprietary file system means you can't stick the drive in another machine to recover the data.

But then this box isn't aimed at people who are worried about that. It's for folk who want a single place to keep bucketloads of files they can then access from a variety of machines around the house. In that respect, it works admirably. Yes, data is slow to copy over, but that's the mirroring - switch that off (see the above para) and the performance is rather better. Read performance was fine, I thought.

As I noted in the review, what the SC101T sets out to do, it achieves. Most of the commenters' problems with the system would not be a problem with a NAS box. But then the Netgear isn't a NAS box.

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SAN is a bad idea for home use in general

Various manufacturers have been selling SAN boxes, and the weakness is always the file volume driver running on Windows. This is a mission-critical, hard-to-implement piece of code that is normally outsourced with the result that it is flakey, unreliable, and doesn't integrate well in all software/hardware configurations.

Server-room kit is priced to have more margin available to pay for high-quality software.

For the home, therefore, go for NAS.

The extra benefit is that network media players that will read from shared drives can play the stuff on the drive.

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Bronze badge

WTF?

"But unless all your wired network links run at that speed, Gigabit Ethernet is no advantage over 100Mbps."

Errr, what??? Tony, do you actually understand how Ethernet works? Based on this silly-false comment I have serious doubts...

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re: Various points

Tony, I think you've hit the nail on the head there with the defence of your review; home users would be far better served by a NAS box, and business users quite possibly have a server anyway, and wouldn't touch Netgear kit with a barge pole due to the absence of meaningful support. And as for a product that's aimed at non-technical people, but requires mirroring be turned off ["Mirror? I didn't know it had a mirror on it"] in order to perform adequately, well, I think that speaks for itself.

One way you could redeem this review is to put the SC101-T head to head with the ZyXEL NSA-2400 in a variety of scenarios and tell us which one comes out the best in each.

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Won't be going anywhere near this

I too threw out my SC101 after an appalling time with it. Frankly, it didn't work. I found the management system unusable (and having worked with Compaq SmartStart disks, I KNOW unusable), it was abhorrently slow, lacked feedback and consistency. Half the time the disks weren't there.

Worst of all though: it would simply crash my system if I tried to move more than 9GB data to it in one operation. Useless.

Incidentally, the 300GB drives I bought for it are now sitting in an old Dell Dimension I had lying around, running Ubuntu 6 and Samba. It's been running for 7 months now with no downtime.

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Anonymous Coward

Soooooooo

We have a device that is untrustworthy on every level. Has very limited compatibility and poor performance.

Yet it gets 70% ?

A quick google would have turned up the myriad of problems these boxes have.

What does it take for something to be scored low?

Mister Smith also unrepentantly rejects all the criticism from those more familiar with the device than he.

Thank you for your views Mister Smith we know what to do with them in future.

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Anonymous Coward

These netgear things are junk

they rely on the driver you install on the computer.

the driver is unstable and is a memory hog.

I first bought the original 101. never got it to work. heck it couldnt even format the drives i put in it ( maxtor 320 gigabytes )

I have good ( very good ) experiences using the Simpletech NAS drives ( not a bring-your-own drive box. comes preloaded with a seagate disc) , the ADs pyro NAS boxes ( plug in your own drive ) as well as the D-link DNS323 ( provided you use firmware 1.3 or later. )

ive got two simpletechs , a d-link and 2 ADS'pyros humming away very happily.

map them as a network drive and off you go. no drivers required.

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Guess it depends how you use it...

For me, it's a great device, sure it's a SAN, but it can be used as a NAS if you want... i installed it on our server (Win2K SBS) and shared it as a drive, then all clients (Mac OS X, XP, Win 2k) map the drive as you would a NAS and voila... it's fast, reliable (so far) the mirrored drive has an advantage from an integrity point of view.

The biggest plus point for me however, was that as it appears as a physical drive on the server, i can back it up using Backup Exec without needing an expensive storage system with an embedded OS and a client for BE installed on it.

For the cost of approx £200 to buy the unit and 2 Seagate 500Gb SATA II drives it's a bargain IMO

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Netgear SAN products are rubbish.

I bought the previous incarnation of this abomination, the SC101. Sure it's cheap, but you get what you pay for. I'm assuming that its increased size is due to its having better thermal management, which the previous device sorely needed -- with its "device as heatsink" device it would grow noticeably and uncomfortably warm not just during heavy use, but even when idling!

And the performance of the thing was absolutely abysmal. I actually tested copying a fair number of large video files from one of my PCs, first to the SC101, and then to the very same drives in the same mirrored configuration but connected to a 3ware IDE RAID card in a FreeBSD server. The SC101 took nearly 3 times as long to do this as the server-based solution. Pathetic. All in all you're much better off using a D-link DNS323, or just an old computer as a storage server.

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Anonymous Coward

Satan's Little Toaster

The SC101 AKA "Satan's Little Toaster" turned tits up one day with a broken RAID 1 mirror... (bad drive) after following the "recommended" software update process. This caused me to lose ALL my data thanks to the horrible proprietary Zetera Filesystem. A quick google search will provide deeper insight to what will happen if _anything_ goes wrong. Heck I signed up for a El Reg account just to warn people off this thing. Do some good, steer clear of this evil device.

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Anonymous Coward

I can only hope it's better than the SC101

Had nothing but trouble with the SC101 over the year or so that I had it and have finally got rid of thing. The software that comes with it is awful and the custom filesystem that is installed on the disks is sluggish.

Initial setup should have been straightforward but wasn't and seemed only to work after repeated attempts. Any attempt to upgrade or change settings caused the thing to stop working for days.

Glad to be rid of it and decided not to eBay the thing because I didn't want anyone else to have to suffer this awful piece of kit!

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I liked the SC101

When I got it, looks like a little toaster and stores all my files. Even told friends to get one.

Then I read the forums, My friends died and he lost all data. The silly file format is horrible and I am paranoid now that it is going to die so I don't use it as I can't replace the files.

Add in the fact it keeps dropping connections from windows explorer, even though it is mapped (g: and h: drives) The mapping goes and the only solution is go and pull the plug (It has no power button)

The screen shots in this review are identical and the pictures show this is a revamped product

Great idea, handled badly (Should be netgears sales line)

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what an unhappy bunch

I find many of the above comments interesting....

Linux support - Yes this is Windows only (XP really) but then you wouldn't go out and buy a petrol car and then moan it doesn't use diesel. Or would you? This is a cheap and cheerful Windows storage system that allows you to share your photo's and music across lots of PC's. You're starting to sound like Mac users....

The main difference with the review and users comments is that the review was done with an open mind and no preconceptions, the comments mostly seem to be about an earlier incarnation of the product using older software and firmware. Maybe the problems are fixed now? I know this is why the unit was delayed by netgear.

Just becasue the screenshots look the same doesn't mean the code behind hasn't been sorted.

Old SC101 users should try the new SW & FW on the netgear site and then see. Surely they've fixed the issues by now.

Performance, how can you comment on the performance of this unit by an experience with a previous model.

Anyway I'm now off to post complaints about the Honda Fireblades performance on a motorcycling website based upon my experiences with a Honda C50 moped!

Anyhow if folk want serious storage from netgear, they should look at Readynas.

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Dam

Thanks for your comments guys - I won't buy this

I was looking for a box that features:

-RAID 1

-100/1000 ethernet

-SATA

-open disk format (ie no zetawhatevertheycallit FS)

Instead of this netgear that seems very bloated I found this from Synology:

http://www.materiel.net/ctl/Serveurs_de_fichiers/27683-DS_207.html

Look, it's in french but you get the big picture:

-2 SATA drives (not included)

-10/100/1000 RJ45

-RAID 0 and 1

-SMB/FTP/apple

-users/groups/quotas

-program your http/ftp/torrent downloads, set the hours at which they can occur...

I'll slap 2 500gb drives in this baby and be very grateful to the posters here for their comments that helped me not choose a bad product.

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70% - You have got to be kidding!

Can't see it myself. This looks like a slightly updated SC101 which has got to be one of the poorest pieces of kit ever produced. It should be lucky to get 7%!

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Anonymous Coward

NETGEAR Technical Support Comments

Having read some of the comments featured in the review, I felt it was appropriate for me to post a response directly from NETGEAR. I have addressed each of the issues in turn below. Hopefully my comments should help clarify some of the issues raised….

I unfortunately did no research on the predecessor to the above product and sorely regretted it. And from the screen-shots this newer version is no different.

As the SC101T is part of the SC101 family and therefore both products look similar. NETGEAR's strategy is to maintain similar UI across their products lines.

The biggest issue is the proprietary file system format.

Despite the review's negative comments on the proprietary file system format (ZFS), NETGEAR has been using ZFS as it is far superior to NTFS or EXT2/3 Linux. A lot of NAS products prefer to change to ZFS as it is a pure network file system.

I want a solution for my Linux box but can't use it. Secondly, it's horribly slow. I mean, REALLY slow.

It is important to ensure the Gigabit connection is used as it is at least 3 times faster than 10/100 version. By using a Gigabit router with a PC that has a Gigabit interface, users can take advantage of the faster speeds.

From what I understand, it's the file system and drivers, not the hard-drive that is the bottle-neck.

ZFS has been proven by enterprise customers to be one of the fastest file systems, so it is unlikely to be the cause of any bottlenecks.

Finally, the management software works about half the time. It frequently freezes. Even after I managed to get this installed, the drive doesn't always show up. I find myself constant re-installing.

This is the first time that NETGEAR has heard of this being an issue but we will certainly look into it. NETGEAR has carried out extensive testing and beta testing on the SC101T without freezing occurring.

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N

Zetera software? No thanks, then.

Having suffered hours of assorted woes and seemingly endless system resets with the SC101, the Zetera service swallowing huge chunks of CPU time and RAM, I'll be steering clear of this one.

Once bitten? No. Many, many times bitten. All with help from Netgear support that doesn't know ar5e from elbow.

I'm a fan - across 3 offices I use 3 routers and 8 switches. All Netgear. Decent, solid hardware that I trust.

One comment asked (pleaded?), "surely they've fixed the issues by now." It's the software, not Netgear, that's the problem here.

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ZFS?

Is that the file system that Sun invented and use in Solaris 10?

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Re: ZFS?

"Is that the file system that Sun invented and use in Solaris 10?"

It isnt. It just happens to have the same acronym.

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