Monday, April 05, 2010

#Netgear, #Stora & me - #Fail

I have been needing to set up some centralised storage for my family for a while now. But we run a mix of computers, mostly Linux, with one Mac laptop, so I have held off doing anything about it.

I confess - I have always liked Netgear equipment - their visual design looks clean, and their stuff I have bought has just worked - reliably. So when I saw a Netgear Stora on the shop shelves, and read on the label : "System Requirements" ... "OS X, linux" & "Give friends and family access to your files, or even give them their own disk space" I just reached for my credit card and walked out the door with one tucked under my arm.

When it came time to set it up I found no linux drivers on the enclosed disk: a quick search of their forums revealed that "Unfortunately Linux is not an officially supported OS".

So with a sinking feeling I move to the Mac, put the disk in and and installed the software. After a complex install the cable modem hung - and I found the next importan point out about the stora - "the internet is not *only* required for setup. We recommend an internet connection at all times".

In fact, "many of the Stora's features and administration require the internet. This includes creating local user accounts..." Something not mentioned on the box.

So if I understand this correctly, the Stora will only function through the continued good grace of Netgear. If they remove their web service, the Stora turns into a brick. If they decide to charge for their web service in future, I have to pay or lose the use of a piece of hardware that is on my premises? This was also not mentioned on the box.

And speaking of payment: It turns out that I can only create accounts for three of my family or friends - any more than that and I do, in fact, have to pay Netgear an annual fee. As we are a family of four who gets the short straw? And who loses out if we do infact take up the once in a lifetime offer to give Netgear our money  and then fall on hard times?

So tomorrow  I am going to take the Stora back and politely ask for a refund. And I am never going to buy another piece of Netgear equipment again. My trust in the company is now totally destroyed.


peter.airs said...

yeah you bought the wrong thing. Stora is for your Mom not you. Then you can manage it remotely for her.
You were probably seduced by the fact it's the lowest prices 2 bay NAS out there right now.
Netgear have made no secret that its an entry level box for novices and if you want proper NAS, you should head directly to their readynas range.

takisd said...

i had a similar experience with a netgear storage device. i bought the Netgear SC101 NAS storage. you attach 2 drives into it and plug it into the network - or at least thats how simple it was supposed to be. turns out that it needed windows only drivers on ALL client machines in order to write to the drives - useless! no mac and definitely no linux. i re-boxed it within 10 minutes. it sat under my desk for about 3 years before i just got around to selling it on ebay for $26.

Martin said...

peter.airs: if Netgear pull the plug on their web service, my mom is going to be pretty angry with her useless lump of "storage". Beside, she has a dial up modem...

Also, the box did not say "Entry level box for novices, does not run without internet access, and requires Netgears ongoing dedication.

BTW: are you by chance the peter airs who works for netgear: If so it would have nice of you to mention this.

timmyxaphan said...

Hi Martin, thought I'd resurrect the thread...

We've got a ReadyNAS Duo, and it works like a charm. No client drivers necessary. You can even unlock root access and put your own software on it - we're running Squid on it for a caching proxy so we don't use all the bandwidth on our Bigpond Mobile account too quickly. In short, we like it.

Martin said...

@timmyxaphan Yeah: I have heard that the Duo is a nice piece of gear.

But the Stora story broke my trust in the NetGear brand.

BTW, I reckon that rooting the Stora is about the only decent way to use it. But that probably contravenes the terms hidden in the license. I found the Western Digital World Book a great replacement.