The Netgear ReadyNAS series of network attached storage units serve as a prime example of how the industry has changed over the years. They were originally a product of Infrant Technologies, a veteran of mainframe disk subsystems that poured decades of serious storage experience into the small drive system for SMBs. Nearly four years into Infrant's acquisition by Netgear in May 2007, the ReadyNAS line now stretches from SOHO to enterprise NAS.
Although designed for the small to midsize enterprise, the ReadyNAS line remains true to its roots and its early success with vertical market integrators who wanted a platform that was both reliable and gave them wiggle room to customize. Instead of taking the high-level language route to extensibility (as competitor QNAP does, through support for Python add-ons), ReadyNAS has the ability to cross-compile the amazing collection of Linux applications to extend its capabilities. A look through Netgear's community forum reveals a dizzying array of developers who've embraced the ReadyNAS platform to offer specialized solutions and add-ons, such as continuous data protection over lossy WANs, streaming applications, SSH, rsync, and many others. I've even heard rumors of Asterisk being ported to this platform.