10 April 2008

Infrant/NetGear ReadyNAS NV+

Just picked up one of these last week. The plan is to use the box as a shared storage resource to back up family data (pictures, etc.), and to back up other systems, and the grid machines in the rack.

I was originally going to build a box to handle the task, but a friend of mine recommended the ReadyNAS server as a cost effective (and less labor intensive) alternative. This box is basically plug-and-play...the operating system is delivered in firmware, and you configure and operate the box via a web interface and with a program called RAIDar. The box speaks a variety of protocols and can talk to Windows, Linux, Macs, and streaming media players so it should get along well with all the servers, workstations, etc.

I bought a diskless version, and populated it with 2x500G Western Digital drives. Initially nothing worked and for a brief time I thought the server was DOA. After a bunch of trial and error I concluded that one of the WD drives was DOA. I brought the box up on 1 drive, configured things, and it just worked. NewEgg RMA'd the bad drive (and even gave me freebie shipping label to send the bad device back...good stuff).

I've got 2 more 500G drives arriving tomorrow - the box is hot-pluggable so in theory installation is simple. It should be interesting to get the box up to 2T with X-RAID and do some performance testing.

Product reviews of the ReadyNAS have been widely varied, but so far all things look positive. I'll post more about the box once I get my bad drive issues sorted out...


Jon said...

I love my ReadyNAD NV+, but I had to accept its limits first. Tried running it in RAID 1 (mirroring pairs of disks)Over 100Mb ethernet, it was painfully slow when trying to access files off of it (RAW photos, around 5-15MB each - AFP to Intel Macs). Better over GigE. But still only around 30MB/s for random reads, and < 10MB/s for writes. Now I just do backups to it and the users all access primary copies of the data on similar drives (no RAID) in a Mac Pro. Backups from those drives to the ReadyNAS each night using SuperDuper!, which will write to sparse disk images mounted on networked drives. I wouldn't trust XRAID - what are you going to do when you hit a bug in their code? No way to recover your data. Just mirror and recopy everything when you buy new pairs of drives every couple of years.

Don Jackson said...

Here is what happened to me with the Infrant/NetGear ReadNAS: After a couple of years, the controller/CPU started having trouble. Since it was out of warranty, NetGear would only sell me a replacement at almost full cost. No matter that your data is RAIDed on redundant drives, if you can't read any drive, you are hosed. Vowed never again to buy/use a proprietary RAID box. Very happily using homebrew ZFS-based NAS (Solaris, FreeBSD), also see FreeNAS.