Netgear announced its new Storage Central product today, which is networked storage, but not like the network-attached storage devices we've seen so far. It's more like a storage-area network device. It comes without drives (it's the casing plus software), and you can add either one or two 3.5-inch IDE hard drives of any capacity. After you connect the Storage Central to your router via an Ethernet cable, a wizard helps you set up your volumes, which you can change at any time, and the drive immediately shows up as a letter drive on every PC on your network; you don't have to map the drive. You can set up striping or mirroring to protect your data, and the storage capacity is almost infinitely expandable, either by swapping out larger hard drives or by adding more Storage Centrals to your network. While this sounds like an expensive proposition, the cost of two IDE drives plus $129 for the Storage Central (MSRP) will almost always work out to be less than the cost of a NAS box.
How well does it work? We can't say just yet, but we're going to have a full review of the Storage Central, so check back soon.