Netgear Storage Central - Beware

by Gordon Meyer

On a recent business trip to California I made a hasty technology purchase that I regret. Hopefully by writing about it I can spare someone else the same mistake.

The Netgear Storage Central SC101 seems to be a network storage device (NAS) but it is not. It's actually a storage area network (SAN) device. That's neat, but the packaging never uses the word "SAN" and instead touts that it uses "standard TCP/IP-based" networking. It also says that its provides storage to "all PCs on your network."

The latter statement is false. It only works with recent versions of Windows. If "all your PCs" include Mac, Linux, or older Windows system stay far, far away from this product. It requires special drivers that are not available for other platforms. And without these drivers, your systems simply cannot communicate with the box.

I sure did feel like a sucker when I realized all this. Then I took a closer look at the package and realized that the wording was purposefully vague about exactly what the product is. It's really pretty neat that they are selling a SAN for such a low price, and one that works with an ethernet connection, so it's odd that "storage area network" never appears anywhere. Just to confirm my mistake, and see if there was any workarounds available, I went online and did some searching. (Yes, I should have done this before I bought the thing. My bad.)

What I found was that I'm not alone in feeling deceived and disappointed. There are a few who like the Storage Gear SC101, and many who share my view. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon to see the diversity of opinion.

As they say, buyer beware.

Sunday; January 29, 2006 Update

Case in point, today's CompUSA newspaper ad circular lists the Storage Central for a good price, $99, but identifies it as a Network Attached Storage device. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

7 Comments

Dan The Man
2006-03-10 13:02:37
I hate this device so much. I really do, it was the wrost purchase I have ever bought and I regret it. But, I don't get mad I get even... pledging to never buy anything from netgear again.
Ben Hobbs
2006-04-08 13:27:20
I almost fell for this today, again with a netgear - I'm intending to use the NAS I do buy alongside some of teh Sonos systems we install (we are a smart home automation company in Phuket, Thailand).


If I would have bought this NASD as I think it liked to call itself I would have ended up throwing it away, from what I found eventually on the box - each PC trying to access it would have had to have loaded the special software first. Cant see me being able to do that on a Sonos somehow.


Its a shame, This will 'trick' some people who will end up with a bitter taste in their mouths from the experience.


Can anyone think of a reason for this/these products to be on the market?

PJ
2006-05-24 14:18:00
I have the netgear storage central and think it is superb, I have been using it with both PC and wait for it.......MAC!!! Because I use my PC as a server, its always on - so I just share the drives from the PC - not ideal for everyone I know but it suits me fine and the supplied backup software is good also
Gordon Meyer
2006-05-24 14:25:40
Well, PJ, glad you're happy. Hanging it off a PC is certainly an option for some, but that's not exactly what I'd consider an elegant solution to the problems with this product.
Matt
2006-05-25 08:18:30
Yea i got nailed too should have done some reaserch. I, like PJ, have a Windows based server so I run it throught that and it works fine (as long as I have the storage I am good) but I would have much rather used it the way it was marketed. I agree that this is not the ideal solution but my response would have been to take it back if I had no way to get it to work on all of my systems, since most places have 30 day return policies that is ussualy ample time.


Also in reading the package I notice it dose say PC and most people refer to PC as being a windows based system, Mac being a Apple based system and a Linux Box as being a linux based system so PC works for their marketing. By those widely used distinctions "all PCs" would not include all your Macs....


Also I would point out that it dose not say directly on the package that it works with Macs like other Netgear products I have purchased in the past that do (example: my wireless print server)


Anyway not defending Netgear, not disagreeing with you on the fact that its shady but just my .02c

Matt
2006-05-25 08:19:15
Yea i got nailed too should have done some reaserch. I, like PJ, have a Windows based server so I run it throught that and it works fine (as long as I have the storage I am good) but I would have much rather used it the way it was marketed. I agree that this is not the ideal solution but my response would have been to take it back if I had no way to get it to work on all of my systems, since most places have 30 day return policies that is ussualy ample time.


Also in reading the package I notice it dose say PC and most people refer to PC as being a windows based system, Mac being a Apple based system and a Linux Box as being a linux based system so PC works for their marketing. By those widely used distinctions "all PCs" would not include all your Macs....


Also I would point out that it dose not say directly on the package that it works with Macs like other Netgear products I have purchased in the past that do (example: my wireless print server)


Anyway not defending Netgear, not disagreeing with you on the fact that its shady but just my .02c

Markus
2006-05-26 15:24:00
Just about got one of these. Thanks for the warning. I run a Linux and Mac network--not a single piece of Microsoft garbage, so this product certainly isn't for me.