Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra – What Is The Difference Between An Ultra 4 And an Ultra 6 Home NAS Device?

It will be tempting to think that the only difference between a Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4 and a ReadyNAS Ultra 6 home NAS device is that one unit houses a maximum of four hard drives for the RAID array and the other will allow you to install as many as six hard drives.

That is not the only difference, however, as there are a couple of other key distinctions between these two excellent selections for a home network storage system.

First is the CPU, which will affect the performance of the network storage device. The Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4 comes equipped with an Intel Atom 1.66Ghz single core processor. The ReadyNAS Ultra 6, on the other hand, has a more powerful dual core Atom 1.66Ghz processor.

While many home users will not notice the difference in these processors, keep in mind that these devices can last many years and are a versatile platform that can be expanded via Netgear approved add-on services. And with the high demands of high definition video, multiple users accessing the home NAS concurrently will put a load on the NAS that could become noticeable in time.

Second is the addition of RAID6 with dual redundancy that is available only on the ReadyNAS Ultra 6 and not the Ultra 4. While RAID6 requires a minimum of four hard drives and theoretically could be done on the Ultra 4, Netgear has chosen to reserve that feature for only six drive capacity and above network storage units in their product lineup.

If you are not familiar with RAID6 and the concept of dual redundancy, perhaps you have heard the term RAID “hot spare” before.

Put simply, RAID1 or RAID5 will protect your data in the event that a single hard drive fails. With a hot spare in place, the NAS device will immediately begin rebuilding the information from the failed drive on the new array member that was formerly the hot spare.

Unfortunately, this leaves your data vulnerable to a second drive failure during the time of the rebuild. While not extremely likely, a second failure is possible. Because today’s hard drives are so large, this rebuild time can be quite lengthy, especially if the NAS is continuing to provide resources to users who are reading and writing data during the rebuild.

With RAID6, the hot spare concept is the same except that the data is continuously updated so that if one drive fails, you still are left with a RAID array that is able to sustain an additional hard drive failure without losing data – and zero rebuild time!

In the case of a home NAS device, RAID6 may not be a critical feature in your buying decision. But since the ReadyNAS Ultra 4 and Ultra 6 are considered to be in the “prosumer” category of NAS device and are so very capable, they are often going to be found in business situations where data protection is absolutely critical.

The third difference between the two ReadyNAS units is simply size. Both are compact units, so in order to accommodate two additional drives it is necessary for the Ultra 6 to be somewhat larger than the Ultra 4.

Find other key feature and benefit information to help you choose between the two Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra models at our website