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Netgear Introduces Linux-Based NAS Devices

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the backup-and-archive-with-daring-and-whimsy dept.

Networking 128

drewmoney writes "A article introduces several of Netgear's Linux-based NAS devices, technology they acquired with the purchase of Infrant earlier this year. (Here is Netgear's product page.) There are models from 1.5 TB, at about $1,100, to 4 TB, topped by a 4-TB rack-mount version. They are geared towards the professional home user and small and medium businesses. The NAS devices come complete with the usual RAID features, file-system access, and a built in USB print server. All are controlled through a Web GUI and some even offer SSH access."

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specs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812000)

the specs on the devices can be found here []

spam (0)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812098)

not sure what the thing linked to is, but it's NOT relevant and needs to be modded down as such.

Re:spam (0, Offtopic)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812398)

as stated in a previous story...
slashdot needs to start following links and display the *resulting* domain if the link just forwards with a 301 or the like.

Re:spam (0, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812966)

We also need a kill file system for obvious ongoing trolls.

erm.... (4, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812002)

They are geared towards the professional home user...

Professional home user? How do I get such a job? I'd love to get paid for downloading porn, playing video games, and generally being lazy.

Re:erm.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812066)

become a slashdot editor?

Re:erm.... (3, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812196)

Marry a doctor, executive or heiress. Or heir, if that's the way you swing.

Re:erm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812476)

I forget what the name of that company is, but they do the research for RIAA/MPAA. Go get a job with them. They totally got a racket going. Sit around downloading warez all day long, and get paid for it. I gotta tip my hat to them that's pretty clever. I wonder if companies would start paying me if I let them know when I'm currently leeching their stuff for free?

dword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21814290)

grad school

Re:erm.... (1)

drewmoney (1133487) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816962)

Yeah, guess it should have said: "geared towards the self-employed-work-from-home-business-owner"

I'll try that next time.

But they're made for Windows users (1, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812006)

No NFS = No purchase.

It doesn't matter if they run Linux internally, if all they basically do is samba, for Windows users (and Linux users who have adjusted to a Windows environment). I want NFS, POSIX attributes and remote fam. Which is perfectly feasible and even easy to implement on a Linux device. But the market is of course Windows users.

Re:But they're made for Windows users (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812050)

I don't think you need someone else to build a server for you...

RTFA, asshat. (4, Informative)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812074)

"Supporting NFS, rsync, SMB, ftp, and http file access, the ReadyNAS devices have a featureful Web GUI and, apparently new in the Netgear models, SSH access (although SSH may, as in the past, be limited to use as an rsync tunnel)."

Re:RTFA, asshat. (2, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812122)

ftp, and http

I hope this means sftp and https -- insecure WebDAV and FTP over the public Internet is one thing we do NOT need. Or maybe they should include a VPN server since some OS's don't have good support for WebDAV over HTTPs (XP tsk tsk).


Re:RTFA, asshat. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812402)

the vpn server is an optional add on if that is your fancy []

Re:RTFA, asshat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21813574)

From the specs

* CIFS/SMB for Windows®
* AFP 3.1 for Mac OS 9/X
* NFS v2 / v3 for Linux and UNIX
* HTTP/S for web browsers
* FTP/S support
Which of course nobody reads here on /. All waiting for a foul to post them here.

Re:RTFA, asshat. (4, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812222)

Sorry, no, they don't have a workable NFS solution, despite what the sales blurb claims. NFS without basic features like famd and posix attributes would be about as useful as Windows 3.11 would be for sharing SMB -- useful only for a single user environment where users don't take advantage of built-in features like setting permissions on network files or do naughty things like accessing the same file at the same time. In other words, slightly less useful than nothing for a business environment.

Re:RTFA, asshat. (2)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812330)

NFS without basic features like famd and posix attributes would be about as useful as Windows 3.11 would be for sharing SMB -- useful only for a single user environment where users don't take advantage of built-in features like setting permissions on network files

Did you even bother to read the blurb? The devices are geared towards home users, not business environments. I couldn't care less if everyone on my LAN at home can read/write anything on my NAS. It's just there to store ripped DVDs, music, pornography, and other shit that is nice to store centrally.

Re:RTFA, asshat. (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812404)

Did you even bother to read the blurb? The devices are geared towards home users, not business environments.

TFA: "Targeted at "prosumers" and small to medium-sized businesses, [...]". Ahem.

No, not RTFA, but RTFM, they support NFS+posix (0)

Nonseq (1207700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812628)

It really did start out as Linux and NFS, and then they added on Samba. The speed didn't work out for me with 50+ users, but it probably would be fine with 10 or so.

Re:RTFA, asshat. (2, Interesting)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813526)

"Supporting" is a wonderfully vague word.

We bought a 1TB NAS (can't remember the model) that 'supported' NFS. We had it connected to our server via ethernet, and mounted it using NFS. Ooh look, I copied a file. Ooh goody, I copied it back. Now let's copy half a terabyte of our backups onto the NAS...

  Wakey wakey. Hello? Anyone in there? Oh dear it seems to have stopped after 200 megs. Try again. Pretty much the same...

  We upgraded the NAS box to the latest OS, we asked the supplier who was no help. I even hacked root on the box in order to see the log files to find out what was going on. But my conclusion was that the system was built down to a price that wasn't capable of supporting some real NFS thrashing, and that they hadn't tested it. We sent it back.

  These are probably fine for simple home use, but don't hammer them...


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812604)

What an idiot. I administer a few of these - they are used exclusively with Mac OS X clients using NFS, rsync, AFP, and webdav.

They don't even have CIFS turned on.

Re:But they're made for Windows users (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813496)

Unfortunately NFS shared to many hosts at once is a job for a real file server with a few real CPUs.

Re:But they're made for Windows users (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816138)

define 'many' in this context - 10, 100, 1k, 10k?

For even a large family, 10 simultaneous users would be extremely rare.

If they really want to stream something like five simultaneous HDTV channels, then yes, they'd need to move up.

Besides, do you seriously believe that any file access tasks will seriously strain any semi-modern CPU? At least until you start looking at dozens of hard drives.

So.., What you say'n Willis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21816580)

That this little Netgear SoHo storage box isn't enterprise grade?

That should have been clear to most people but then you ain't most people are you.

By the way, how you coming with that fiber backbone in your mom's basement?

Re:So.., What you say'n Willis? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816804)

I think you missed the point -- that this is device meant for Windows users, and spamvertised on /. with "OMG, it runs Linux!!1!"
What it runs behind the scenes is rather irrelevant for the target audience, which is prosumer Windows users.
Almost every NAS box out there runs Linux, so that's nothing new either -- had it been well suited for Linux users, it would have been newsworthy. It isn't, so it isn't.

OpenVPN (2, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812064)

I hope that they include something like OpenVPN that allows clients from almost every platform and is very flexible as far as setup. Secure remote access is very important.


Re:OpenVPN (2, Informative)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812560)

You could always throw a cheap router in front of your NAS and install DD-WRT [] , which has offered OpenVPN [] support for quite some time.

Re:OpenVPN (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814672)

You could always throw a cheap router in front of your NAS and install DD-WRT, which has offered OpenVPN support for quite some time.

I've found DD-WRT's implementation to be a pain to set up correctly -- far better to have it running on a server device IMHO.


Re:OpenVPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21815680)

Score 3: Insightful ???

We're talking about a NAS Box! This ain't no router asshole!

Fuck me to tears but for some of you dip-shits and those who vote it up.

Hell YES!!! Insightful!

Punk kids these days... Meh...

SPARC based? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812090)

I was assuming this would be ARM based (i love my linksys NSLU2!), but it uses the IT3107 which is apparently [] [warning: PDF] based on the SPARC core. If it wasn't so expensive, I'd buy one for that reason alone (ok, and because it runs linux).

A Slashvertisement by any other name (4, Informative)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812094)

There have been dozens Linux-based NASs for years now. Infrant sells bare-bones ones, Buffalo Technology sells them, heck, D-Link sells a (crappy) little NAS with a linux kernel. How is this news? Or was this ad sponsored? :).


Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (1)

ximenes (10) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812128)

This is what the Irfant system turned into, and I presume this article exists due to the 1996-style "oh look a major vendor is using Linux!" thinking that pops up at Slashdot fairly regularly.

As you've said, its not really news-worthy inasmuch as lots of companies embed Linux variants in their devices (including other NAS vendors). But hey, this major company is using Linux!

It's a slow news day (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812198)

I wondered about the article myself and checked how it had done on the firehose. It made it to red. Other articles on the main page only made it to orange. If you go by that, you would conclude that our fellow /. readers think this story is really newsworthy.

A more sinister interpretation might be that someone has found a way to game the firehose.

I agree with the other posters. This device doesn't seem that newsworthy. A quick check of my favorite online retailer shows that there are many such devices on the market.

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812324)

The newsworthiness of an article here on Slashdot is mostly based on how warm and fuzzy it makes free software freaks feel. With Linux in the title, this article is sure to meet the requirements.

*hides as AC*

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (1)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812410)

Lots of people here like Linux. Because of that, it makes sense to me that stories involving cool Linux stuff would interest them and should be posted.

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812808)

stories involving cool Linux stuff
GPP's point is that this is some pretty generic Linux stuff.

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (1)

tedric (8215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813488)

What do you mean by crappy D-Link NAS? I bought a D-Link DNS 323 (Gigabit Ethernet, 2*400GB SATA-HDDs) and am pretty happy with it. It also runs Linux and then you can of course install NFS etc. on it. Before that I was playing around with some USB-HDDs attached to my (also Linux based) router and a Trekstore NDAS device. Those two "solutions" were really crappy compared with the D-Link NAS. And that for a price of ~200 (without drives).

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (3, Informative)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813714)

I own a DNS-323 too. I loaded it up with two 500gb hard disks. It sucks. I still use it, but it sucks. The standard firmware only lets you update the device with D-Link digitally signed firmware. The D-Link firmware is buggy as hell, still, even after the thing has been out commercially for over a year.

- It has a bad version of Samba on it that will cause your files to magically disappear if you decide to copy files larger than about 20 gigs, or if you copy large numbers of files at the same time.
- It uses the ext2 filesystem, which not only lacks journalling, but has no nice way to fun fsck (only option is to enable telnet via a fun_plug and run fsck on your mounted filesystem...blech!).
- It *still* has piss-poor unicode support.
- The current firmware does funny things if one of your drives dies and you have a RAID-1 array, such as not rebuilding the array. Some users have reported that it won't even detect a drive failure in raid-1.
- Its user/group and volume management simply doesn't work. You can't set up multiple shares and give different users different permissions to the shares. User/group management is a mess.

All of these problems exist in the 1.03 firmware, which is the latest version. My unit has also been blessed with a common hardware problem -- one of the "drive okay" blue led's died. Quite a few folks are reporting this (probably cheap leds).

About the only way to make the 323 usable and safe is to solder a serial port on it so that you can use redboot and overwrite the stock firmware. IMHO, if you're going to take the trouble to solder and manage the thing via the command-line, you may as well just plunk down a bit of extra cash and have an actual warranty. Or save the money and put two hard drives in an old computer/install linux distro of your choice. It certainly shouldn't be considered a reliable nas, and I certainly wouldn't be saving copies of anything important on it (unless you're backing the data up somewhere else).

Re:A Slashvertisement by any other name (1)

Arellias (1122023) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816832)

I believe it is actually developed and built by Infrant. If you look at the site: [] it says to go to Netgear's website for purchases.

If a buy it, I legally can ask for the source code (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812150)

Will they provide it ?
Are they GPL-compliant ?

Re:If a buy it, I legally can ask for the source c (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812174)

Yes, they already have GPL code available for the older 3.0 release. 4.0 was just released this week, a GPL package should be available for it shortly.

Re:If a buy it, I legally can ask for the source c (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812206)

Yep... here's the code.... []

Fine and dandy but... (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812212)

... does it let me share my own media files instead of thinking it knows better than I do what I want to do with my own stuff?

Re:Fine and dandy but... (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812558)

Note: I purchased this product back when Infrant was still separate from Netgear, so the info may be a bit outdated.

From my experience with this product, it does exactly as it says. Its just a file server, nothing more. I have it mounted via NFS or CIFS on my linux boxes, CIFS on the windows boxes, and AFP on the mac mini in front of the TV. I encode my media on the linux boxes, and fire up front row on the mac, and it all works seamlessly.

Of course, I haven't taken firmware updates since Netgear took over, so they may have gimped some of the awesomeness. From what the product page describes, however, they couldn't have gimped much.

Infrant's ReadyNAS? (1)

swanky (23477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812228)

Well, maybe introduced as new models bundled with bigger drives, but haven't these been around for a bit even before NetGear bought out Infrant Technologies? []

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (2, Informative)

eagl (86459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812544)

Yes. These are re-badged Infrant ReadyNAS units. My NV+ works like a champ. You definately want to read the FAQs if you get one however... Depending on the firmware revision, they do not work well with certain hard drives and for a certain range of serial numbers, they recommend pulling out and reversing the fan to help with cooling.

Also, these do not provide terribly fast speeds no matter what kind of drives you use, so for drive selection you're better off going for the drives with the lowest heat and noise profile, vs. the absolute fastest drive on the market. I put 4 500 gig samsungs in mine and it runs quiet and cool, while performing within a percent or so of how everyone else's is running.

A popular mod for these is to drop in a higher capacity ram sodimm. I happened to have one lying around from a previous laptop upgrade, so it was a no-brainer for me. The extra ram supposedly can boost speeds by up to 15%, but I have not measured it either way. I just put in the bigger sodimm, ran the internal memory checker a couple of times, and haven't worried about it since.

Noise level? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813378)

Then maybe you can shed some light --the first thing I look for, before I even look at the price tag-- is the noise level, because I do not want to listen to another set of fans in my home office. The specs don't say. Can you?

Re:Noise level? (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816070)

It's barely audible. It's a low hum and a very slight whisper of air through the vent holes. Since I did the reverse-the-fan mod, I also removed the dust filter which was no longer doing anything, and that helped airflow a bit. The fan is throttled based on temperature so under heavy load the fan goes from completely quiet to that very low hum, and when idle you have to put your head right next to it to hear anything.

From 10 ft away, I can't hear it regardless of the fan setting, although I can hear the drive heads click when they park and wake up.

Re:Noise level? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816530)

Good news, thanks for replying!

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#21813976)

1) Your speed limitation will be either the network or USB connection. It doesn't really matter how fast the drives are, they will be faster than your connection (for transfer speed). Speed would only matter if it were connected internally on a much faster bus (like SATA, or SCSI), or externally with a much faster connection such as iSCSI or eSATA.

2) Extra RAM will do nothing for performance. See #1. And, as with internal RAID cards, using extra RAM on the controller is *MUCH* less effective than adding more RAM in the server, itself. Then the cache is as close to the applications as possible.

3) Hopefully the RAID (not the drives) it uses won't fail on you, because if it does, all your data will be lost if it corrupts the array. And if it doesn't corrupt the array, it still may be lost if you can't find an EXACT replacement for the NAS.

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 5 years ago | (#21815400)

Many of these devices (and many software RAID5 implementations for Windows) can't even reach single-drive maximum speeds in RAID5, which is well below the maximum throughput of Gigabit Ethernet.

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#21816156)

If you were talking about a system with surplus computing power, I would agree. However...

The infrant version I have appears to be held back by the embedded controller architecture. Adding memory does have a measurable positive effect according to a number of reports from people who are competent enough to take measurements, however I never bothered to do any benchmarking. In addition, adding memory may increase the number of simultaneous users who can stream media from the NV+ by boosting ram cache effectiveness within the NAS.

The speed of the device is still significantly lower than the native speed of my network, hence my previous comment about it not being terribly fast. Enabling jumbo frames can help by up to 20%, but it's still only around 7-12% network utilization on a gigabit ethernet setup with a gigabit switch that properly supports jumbo frames, transferring a large file one way to or from a powerful client. For a better comparision, it's quite a bit slower than simple transfers between my laptop and my desktop over the same network.

It is worth noting that netgear is touting an upgrade to the cpu, so it's very possible that the new version being sold (at an increased price) will be a lot faster.

Regarding the RAID crumping, I assume you're talking about the NAS itself failing. That's an issue with almost any NAS device and the only way a simple consumer like myself could get around that would be to build a regular computer using standard components that could be replaced individually in the event of a failure. The problem with that however, is that identifying the component that failed is not always easy. A RAID controller failure might not be obviously different from ram corruption, a bad cpu, bad cables, or a failing hard drive until it's too late.

In either case, the trick for someone like me (not willing to spend an enormous amount of time chasing the last 1% of reliability) is to continue to use multiple backup schemes. I used to do a monthly backup to an external USB drive. Now, I ghost my desktop to the NAS daily and dump the backup images to the same USB drive monthly. I don't think I'm any worse off than I was, and I'm certainly better off than I was when I had no NAS to use to share files around my lan and only a monthly backup on a single external USB drive.

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812556)

You missed the most important feature: they jacked up the prices 30% from Irfrant's old prices.

Re:Infrant's ReadyNAS? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813596)

But... But... But... It's got a cool name like netgear , isn't that my friend , worth 30% ? To know your getting high quality netgear products at a highly jacked up price !

Maybe we just found out the cost of netgear packaging ! Don't make money on the product make it on the packaging ! BRILLIANT !!!

*BSD's Final Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812308)

Outside this frigid tumble-down shack, dry leaves before the wild winter hurricane fly. Here within, at the corner by the cold hearth rests an empty stool. A crutch without a master stands perched against the wall. These forlorn and lonely objects serve as mute reminders of their once owner, *BSD.

This crutch and vacant stool have become orphans, not unlike the now dead *BSD. No longer will *BSD hobble about on its cripple's crutch. Like the empty hearth, and the vacant stool, *BSD lies cold and still. *BSD's corpse, lifeless beneath frozen earth and December snows, will see no more Christmas cheer. No, there will be no Christmas ever again for *BSD, for *BSD is dead.

Goodbye, *BSD. The pain of life forever stilled, sleep for all eternity in that long winter's nap. Fade gently into Earth's frozen bosom where in dreams even cripples walk and blind men see.

Re:*BSD's Final Christmas (1)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814994)

Really? I have a FreeBSD file/print/mp3 server. I use OpenBSD running on a Soekris 4801 as my home firewall/gateway and my main home workstation is also running FreeBSD. I almost forgot, I use a FreeBSD workstation at my office that serves me well so I can perform my system programming job duties.

I don't think I will be shutting everything down today :-).

Better than snap? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812348)

Man, I hope they don't suck as much as the SNAP appliances. I've got about 2TB of NAS (and I use that term loosely) on SNAP server. I'm never buying another one. Crap reliability, crap features, crap adminstration.

1.5 TB for $1100 ! (5, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812374)

That's $0.73/GB for this Netgear product. Almost a year ago I built a 2.5 TB OpenSolaris fileserver using ZFS for $950 [] , that's twice cheaper: $0.38/GB.

I understand Netgear market this product for endusers without the time or the ability to build and configure a NAS themselves, but this reminds me that some of us are privileged people, because we don't have to be victims of such horribly expensive proprietary gear... We have the choice to build it ourselves and save real, big bucks.

This also shows that the storage market really have room for more competitors. At a time where the raw cost of disks is $0.20/GB and where you can build storage servers for $0.36/GB (proof: I did it), the only explanation behind the high prices in the storage market is pure lack of competition. This is one of the reasons why Google build their servers themselves: they figured out all the "professional products" out there are overpriced.

Re:1.5 TB for $1100 ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812702)

A thousand bucks for a NAS that has no disks? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? It's cheaper to buy a small PC and run Linux or FreeBSD on it using ZFS.

No one in their right mind will buy this product. Netgear should be ashamed; that product should cost $200, or $300 at most.

This is the old Infrant NAS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21813084)

This is the old Infrant NV+
It has been out for about 2 years in its current form.
This is absolutely nothing new.
Infrant just got bought by NetGear and hence the PR push.
New brand, same old, same old device.

The minor tweak is the new 4.0 firmware, whose main plus is breaking the old 3TB limit.
Other than that, same hardware.

When NetGear bought Infrant they raised the price of the drives from $600 (diskless) to $800 (diskless
And made it tougher to get diskless systems.
You'll want to add your own drives as you'll notice their mark-up on the drives is high.
Adding drives is a main selling point of the NV+ with its RAID-X system

Other than a PR paper launch of an old product, the NV+ is pretty nice.
It does a lot of things easily, without a lot of effort.
RAID-X is cool, and the main selling point. You can dynamically add more drives to the RAID array, and it will automatically resize; both as drives are added and once all drives can support higher sizes (e.g. replace 4 0.5TB drives with 1TB drives your RAID auto-resizes to 2TB to 4TB).
The price is an issue, especially if you buy it with disks included.
Also, the NV+ is long in the tooth and really needs a model with >4 disks (ala the Norco DS-520; 5 SATA, 3 eSATA, 4 USB).

ZFS offers the same features + others (2, Insightful)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813388)

With ZFS you can also dynamically expand your pool by replacing drives one-by-one with larger ones, no matter what the current pool configuration is: combination of stripes, mirrors, raidz, raidz2. You can also expand a pool by adding a new "vdev" to it. A vdev can be a single drive or a N-drive mirror/raidz/raidz2. There is one thing you can't do (yet): dynamically reconfigure a N-drive raidz/raidz2 vdev to a (N+1)-drive vdev.

Also, RAID-X doesn't seem to implement snapshots, quotas, reservations, compression, end-to-end checksumming, etc. I fail to see how RAID-X would interest ZFS users, did I miss something ?

Re:1.5 TB for $1100 ! (1)

drgruney (1077007) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814780)

Don't forget that in commercial products there are expenses outside of materials. Your .38$ per GB system was cheap because you didn't have to mass produce it... and also didn't mind developing and configuring it for free. It's cheap to make a one-off or very limited production item. It costs a bundle to develop the *systems* to design and assemble a similar item for mass production (would your system have cost the same had you been contracted to build it?)... then achieving super cheap production costs.

Increased prices? (1)

dczyz (239366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812390)

That's a heck of a prosumer price, I think their new pricing is going to be a problem

I was getting ready to purchase an Infrant bare bones when I saw that they were bought out. I initially was happy with the idea that Netgear was picking them up - but they ended up raising prices. Maybe there are more niche users with that type of budget - but that at the price levels that they are offering, and the increases, I don't see it going to that large a market.

Consider you can get 4 320 GB 16 mb cache Seagate sata drives for $240 at Best Buy this week, adding a good nas and you're good to go. But at their entry prices...

Maybe we will see some generics going after their share. Another possibility is Thecus - that seems to be the better performance choice to compete against the new Netgears.

I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (4, Interesting)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812392)

Good grief, can someone please explain to me what the fetish is with four drives in every single freakin NAS system on the planet? And every vendor gets the same thrill annoucing it as a "4TB" solution when only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance.

Why not five drives, guys? It's not like we are back in the late 90s when every motherboard had two IDE controllers supporting two devices. I routinely see motherboards now with five or six SATA ports. There are even splitters and repeaters that can change one SATA port into two. So why not break out and distinguish yourselfs with five drives so I can actually get a 4TB (3.8 actual *sigh*) solution AND a spare drive for the RAID set or even hotspare (if i'm feeling nervous).

Why not an even eight? How about a eSATA port so you could connect two NAS units together for expansion or redundancy? How about something like iSCSI and then let me chain as many NAS units together on a gigabit switch as I want?

I finally had to stop buying NAS units and get my hands dirty and build my own so I could actually break the REAL 3TB ceiling. I went with a SAS RAID card and an enclosure that supports 8 SATA drives out of the box. Down the road, I can get a SAS repeater and add a second 8-drive enclosure, or a third, or a fourth. Online volume expansion folds new drives in like butter.

But it's ugly as sin. It's a cheap Dell server ($329 w 3yr warranty!) whose only purpose in life is to house the SAS card connected to this ugly black metal monolith with two very tacky plastic drive enclosure racks. I don't mind sticking it in the closet of my house but I really can't stand the idea of trying to sell something like this to anyone.

But until I can pop down to Best Buy and buy something that looks decent, or is modular or stackable, I guess I'm stuck with whatever FrankenRAID I can piece together.

Eight drives, guys, how 'bout it?


Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812686)

only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance.
Allow me to speak for the majority of morons: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's bad. It's risky. And cigarettes cause cancer.

Now, where's my smokes?

Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812846)

Because 4 3.5" drives is all you can fit in a 1U form factor?

Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (1)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813294)

Then 8 would fit in a 2U form factor, wouldn't it?

And most of these consumer/prosumer NAS devices are cubes meant to sit on a desk, not rack-mounted. You can fit five 3.5 drives vertically in three 5.25 drive bays, the same amount of space as most four-bay enclosures use. So five drives doesn't seem all that unreasonable.


Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (2, Informative)

stderr_dk (902007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813712)

You can fit five 3.5 drives vertically in three 5.25 drive bays, the same amount of space as most four-bay enclosures use.
Yeah, you could do that, if you don't care about the heat produced by the drives.

Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21814252)

That's why god invented drive fans and ventilation. I'm about to put together a RAID-6 array for my home theatre system and have been looking at 4 and 5 disc SATA cage modules. Some of the nicer ones have per-drive fans with audible and visual alarms for fan failures.

Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (2, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812984)

when only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance

RAID10 is a perfectly legitimate configuration for a great many applications; redundancy isn't the only reason people get RAID devices, you know.

Anyway, I think it's a fairly limited audience that wants more than 3TB in a cheap-ass desk-side thingy. Seriously, you'd want an 8x1TB RAID5 array on a single, "consumer grade" power supply? Might as well run it as JBOD (actually, that would probably be safer). By the time you get 8 drives in there, you probably want something along the lines of this [] , with crazy things like a real RAID controller, redundant power , etc. (and doesn't put your 8 drive array behind a dinky GigE interface). It's five times more expensive (sans drives), but you get what you pay for (all things considered, it's still cheap and far from "Enterprise").

Since those who want the maximum amount of space for the absolute lowest price can build their own so easily, who are they going to sell these to?

So, my guess is that they just can't make these things as expandable as you suggest and still be able to sell them for ~$500 to the majority of their customers.

Re:I'm sick to death of four stupid drives (2, Insightful)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813330)

RAID 10 *has* redundancy so I don't really understand that example as a counterpoint. Yes, there are some high-end desktops that come configured with RAID-0 arrays for performance but nobody could possibly want to do that with a NAS. I'm pretty sure the network would be a chokepoint well before you reached the performance level of unstriped drives.

I think there's a decent-sized audience that wants a *practical* way to get a couple of terabytes. Who wants to spring for three or four brand new 1TB drives to populate a NAS? Most people I know are swimming in 300-500GB drives. If there was a NAS that could support more than four drives, you could get a couple terabytes out of them. Power isn't a problem either. If you string devices together, chaining them or using eSATA, then they can all have their own consumer-level power supplies.

eSATA and SAS were built to be expandable, so I think it's really just a "640K is enough" attitude that because the first NAS devices were probably IDE and limited to four devices, every come-along company to jump into the NAS market decides to copy what's out there instead of realizing that with the switch to SATA, the four-drive limit just doesn't make a lot of sense.

These things also cost a lot more than ~$500 because most come with drives and not bare-bones. So, if someone is going to plunk down $1000-$2000, I think they might like to pay a few bucks extra to get an external expansion port or extra drive bay.


iscsi targets, cifs, afs etc $0.00: Freenas (1)

coldnight (12780) | more than 5 years ago | (#21815296)

Checkout the live CD runs from CD, with configuration in an XML on floppy or USB flash and all your disk interfaces (aside from the CD drive, sorry) are just that - for disks.

There are a couple of limitations, but hey, get your hands dirty and help fix them!

Letter to NetGear re: Linux devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812408)

I sent this letter to NetGear a few days ago:
--cut here--
I like the fact you are using Linux in some of your products, as seen here: []

A product I and I am sure many other enthusiasts are interested in:

A line of inexpensive, small, software-reconfigurable "appliance" computers
that can be easily repurposed by reloading different software. I would like a
vendor who provides a supported "image" for various applications but who allows
custom applications to be loaded at will.

Such an appliance would have one or more of the following options:
- a drive bay or bays, for use as a NAS server
- USB port or ports for printers, scanners, drives, or other devices, for use
as a device server
- 3 or more ethernet ports that can be put on separate networks or used in a
one-IP-addressable-port/two bridged ports for use as firewall device
- wireless network or networks for use as a wireless router, access point, or
- CPUs and support chips of various price points and capabilities to match
various loads. A typical home/SOHO configured as a WAP+firewall+printer
sharer+NAS would likely need a medium-performance board, a home/SOHO configured
for one of those purposes would need a low-performance board, and a gamer would
need a high-performance board.

I would expect a "bare bones" setup that only did one function with light duty
to start well under $50, with high-end systems going for several hundred plus
the cost of high-end wireless transmitters, drives and cases for drives, etc.

The most important feature of this line would be customization:

A user who needs features supported by the hardware but not the firmware should
be free to customize the firmware to his heart's content. The only exceptions
would be for the brick-recovery emergency-boot firmware which should be
read-only. Individual physical subsystems such as the wireless transmitter,
USB hardware, ethernet hardware, SATA hardware, etc. should of course enforce
regulatory and standards compliance.
--cut here--

Please send your own letter to NetGear thanking them for choosing open-source. Better yet, buy products that use embedded open-source.

What's better? (1)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812522)

I'm just not so sure what's better about these NAS devices than either just running your own simple Linux server or a super-simple configuration. I'm not sure I want to trust my data to some proprietary RAIDed solution.

Re:What's better? (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812566)

The "better" part is the simplicity. These suckers are small and require very little setup. Just pop in the drives, give it a few hours to format the array, go through the setup menus and turn on/off whatever features you either want or specifically do not want, and then you can leave the sucker in the closet and never worry about it.

Mine has been virtually trouble free since I set it up, although I'm not using even half of it's capabilities. It's a simple X-RAID backup box for me, but if I wanted to spend some time setting it up, it could be a media server or do any number of other things based on the built-in features.

Re:What's better? (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812630)

It saves you the build/configure time, the form factor is pretty convenient, and the power consumption of these little toaster boxes tend to be less than that of a rig most people are likely to build for a custom NAS. Of course, I am somewhat biased, as I bought one of these :)

Re:What's better? (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813666)

I'm just not so sure what's better about these NAS devices than either just running your own simple Linux server or a super-simple configuration. I'm not sure I want to trust my data to some proprietary RAIDed solution.
Every time one of these NAS stories come up, I just cringe. My experience with trying to buy a turnkey NAS like this was not good. Then I built my own [] for a whole lot more bang for buck. At the time, 500 GB drives were the right choice, but the 1TB might be a better deal now.

The point, though, is that with just a little bit of effort, you can easily build a system that is twice as powerful for less cost, and as you say, much safer as the data is in a completely open format the does not require any proprietary hardware or software to access.

So sad... (2, Informative)

TexNex (513254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812778)

Before Netgear bought them Infrant was the best NAS out there. Great price for what you got and some excelent support & firmware updates that truly enhanced the product. I was hoping Netgear would change their direction and move towards the Infrant product ideals but, it seems NG is no better than Microsoft in this regard and has chosen to buy & cursh the competition.

One of my clients has one... (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812834)

One of my clients has the 4x750GB model in production for storage of backups. It runs Debian Woody on a Sparc and has 512M of memory. Shares can be mounted via NFS or CIFS. The device has gigE, but writes are limited to around 50-60 megabit and reads at around 100 megabit. The status of the disks, fans, power, and temperature can all be monitored via SNMP.

All in all, it's pretty good for the price point.

Re:One of my clients has one... (1)

Radak (126696) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814998)

If your client is seeing 50-60 Mbps writes and 100 Mbps reads, something is wrong. I've got one of these boxes at home and see over 200 Mbps in each direction. Check that configuration, update the firmware, do something.

Infrant ReadyNAS (4, Interesting)

RedBear (207369) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813044)

Netgear hasn't "introduced" anything. They are just re-branding the Infrant ReadyNAS products that have been on the market for at least a couple of years already. I'm not aware of any actual changes they've made to the devices themselves, so handing them complete credit for this is ridiculous.

The ReadyNAS NV+ is a pretty interesting unit, by the way. I have been looking at it a lot lately. It's one of only a handful of midrange consumer NAS devices that include features like Gigabit ethernet (so it's not slow as molasses) and support for not only SMB/CIFS and FTP but also the native Mac file sharing protocol, AFS 3.1. (Yes I'm perfectly aware that Mac OS X has no problem with SMB/CIFS, but it's a more pleasant experience to connect with AFS, and it also works with the Classic Mac OS. Believe it or not, some people do still use Mac OS 8/9 for various reasons.)

The ReadyNAS can be configured in several different disk modes from JBOD to RAID 0, 0+1, 5, to some proprietary mode Infrant calls X-RAID which supposedly uses disk space more efficiently than RAID 5 (when you're using 3 or 4 drives). The last big positive I can think of at the moment is that it actually supports a list of UPSes so your home or office file/backup server will theoretically shut itself down safely rather than crashing hard when the UPS battery runs down after the power has been off for an hour in the middle of the night. How about that.

Unfortunately the ReadyNAS, like all the other NAS (and non-NAS) multi-drive RAID-type storage devices fails to impress me in one regard. The hardware itself that controls the drives is still a scary single point of failure. I may be protecting myself from a drive failure, but if the hardware fails you lose everything anyway! The chances of the important hardware failing is always greater than zero, and the probability that you will somehow be able to recover your data by sticking the drives into another identical device is much, much lower than 100%. So to be reasonably sure that you won't lose your entire array you need to get at least TWO of these expensive devices and keep them synchronized. This is tantamount to failure in my book.

So in the end I have kind of written off all these devices and I'm waiting for widespread ZFS support in Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, et al. It's coming soon (except for Windows, I don't hold out much hope for Windows ZFS support, third-party or otherwise). When that happens it will be possible to take some generic PC hardware and create a ZFS raidz2 array that can handle losing two drives without failing to protect the data, then if that PC hardware fails you can take that ZFS raidz2 array and hook it up to some other generic PC hardware and simply do a "zpool import" and go on about your business. No insanity like losing an entire RAID array because of some stupid little glitch in the RAID hardware. Eff-you-see-kay THAT, buddy.

Unless I am completely misunderstanding the capabilities of ZFS and raidz/raidz2, it would seem that we are currently on the threshold of the first and only truly resilient data storage method that won't cost a king's ransom to implement. Any supported generic PC hardware (cheap) with Gigabit ethernet, SATA and at least 1GB of RAM will be able to become a file server that will outstrip by a country mile the performance and reliability of all these regular RAID-based NAS devices that almost across the board have abysmal data transfer speeds. Even the very nice Netgear/Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ will be completely obsolete unless they jump on the ZFS bandwagon.

Mark my words. The entire data storage industry will be changing very soon. Most folks here don't seem to see it yet but I think ZFS is going to be big. Like, iPod big, or iPhone big. Everybody scoffed at those devices at first. Well, they aren't scoffing now. I think widespread ZFS support is going to do the same sort of thing. It seems like just another filesystem at first, but it ain't.

Re:Infrant ReadyNAS (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813704)

I have to agree , playing with ZFS at Sun was really quite interesting , seeing what can be done and still be recoverable made me quite honestly take note of the abilities of the file system.

ZFS is going to make quite a big impact , and Microsoft will have to take note and build in support, most big business will be swapping to ZFS and since that is where Microsoft's bread and butter is coming from they will have to add support for it sooner or later. With it's list of features it will have a home on the Microsoft server line and sooner then they think or they face loosing ground.

Linux in the bug business sector is relegated to servers at the moment and not many desktops. With ZFS support linux will close the server gap even more in big business and maybe some of the desktop gap.

I like the idea of ZFS and the revolution in storage it should bring , lets hope it doesn't get tied up in court until Microsoft can come out with a file system that has it's features and strengths but is completely closed off from the OSS community.

Re:Infrant ReadyNAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21816998)

With it's list of features it will have a home on the Microsoft server line and sooner then they think or they face loosing ground.

What's the difference between tight and loose ground? What do you mean by that?

Re:Infrant ReadyNAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21814686)

So, um, what's a small mom & pop business to do in the meantime? Do you really expect normal folks to devote their entire lives to learning how to run a full blown fault-tolerant server? Give me a break.

In the real world of small business, people have NO CLUE about any of this stuff. They're too busy doing their, um, *jobs*. They keep their data on their windows machine and maybe use file sharing if they have more than one computer. Maybe. More often than not they have a bazillion copies of their data spread about.

I picked up one of these with 4 500G drives for my folks' office. There's 3 full time employees and 4 computers. This little box has reduced my support time considerably. It's fast enough to serve word files all day long. It's got enough storage to see them through the forseeable future (500G is a LOT of space when you're not storing porn). It emails me when there's a problem. It has an UPS that tells it to shut down. It has a USB plug so they can back up to an external drive.

Given the alternative, this little NAS (and their ilk) are a godsend.

Re:Infrant ReadyNAS (1)

Doug Jensen (691112) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814722)

I'm educated and experienced enough to easily build my own NAS (and a large variety other things), but I have far more valuable ways to use that time (my research). So I bought two of the 4-750GB versions with 1GB of RAM. They are very compact, attractive, and are overall satisfactory to me.

No mention of FreeNAS yet? (1)

jerk (38494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813392)

I recently threw two SATA drives into an old Shuttle PC I had laying around and installed FreeNAS on a 128MB CompactFlash card. So far I'm quite impressed. And while I'm running it strictly as a JBOD right now, it has the capability for (software) RAID levels 0-5. I haven't delved into it too much, but it may support some hardware RAID cards. Can't beat it if you have an old PC laying about.

Re:No mention of FreeNAS yet? (4, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813508)

Can't beat it if you have an old PC laying about.
It's easy to beat. People often forget about the power usage of a PC. That thing is bleeding 100 to 300 watts and that probably makes the Netgear equipment much cheaper.

ahem (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813640)

I think you need one of these [] to install in that old beige box or if you crave a complete solution, one of these [] .

And let's not forget openfiler [] , since we're mentioning free NAS solutions. It's not lightweight, but it looks pretty cool.

Re:ahem (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814310)

Thanks for the links. I really like the Via. Just like you said, it could be a drop-in replacement for that beige box.

Re:No mention of FreeNAS yet? (1)

jerk (38494) | more than 5 years ago | (#21815240)

Does the Netgear run on fairy dust?

Wow, expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21813778)

Pretty expensive for a box that just holds a couple of hard drives, huh?

Netgear bought out infrant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21813862)

Then raised the prices by hundreds of dollars. For the exact same hardware.

I have two of the infrant barebones boxes. They are good. The barebones model is no longer offered.

The media sharing only seem to work with a few players. I am using it with a Buffalo media link, and that seems to work well. I can also browse to the media share with firefox on a Linux box and get it to work there too. But my PS3 doesn't see it. I am able to easily view videos and perform file sharing from multiple computers and media players at the same time.

I manually upgraded the RAM to 1GB, and threw in four 750 GB drives into both of them. It is important to use only hardware off the list of tested hardware. Otherwise you are hit and miss on the system working.

After they were configured each box had 2TB of usable space. I installed the beta upgrade and have a login now to the fully configurable debian based system.

To build the 3TB system I have with the 1GB of memory I paid $1700. A comparable system from Netgear is $2199.00 - $2399.95. And that is with only 256MB of RAM.

Check out FreeNAS (1)

ronys (166557) | more than 5 years ago | (#21813958) [] - FreeBSD based, a pleasure to install, configure and use.

Re:Check out FreeNAS (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#21814188)

See also OpenFiler [] for another option. Linux based, has a slightly different feature set. Supports snapshots, ldap and kerberos auth, which FreeNAS seems to be missing at this time (unless I missed something or the wiki is outdated). Doubtless missing a few things FreeNAS has; e.g. AFS.

THECUS N2100 for $360 (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 5 years ago | (#21813972)

Take a look at the Thecus N2100. For $360 or less it appears to have similar capabilities.

Comments please?

Dead end investment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21814404)

Talk about a dead-end investment.

Who in their right mind would sink money into a Linux NAS solution, when there's (Open)Solaris with kernel-implemented CIFS, NFS V4, and ZFS?


ZFS-based NASs will smoke everything else (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 5 years ago | (#21815484)

Having Linux etc. in a NAS is nice - but the features ZFS offers (almost no-cost snapshots, clones, RAID-levels, volume-expansion etc.pp - see the various articles on Wikipedia, OpenSolaris, and solarisinternals, if you have been living under a rock for the past years) will *kill* every other filesystem (or push it back into a niche).
It might also kill NetApp at the same time.
OpenSolaris even has an iSCSI-Target.
Yes, it needs a lot of RAM and a 64 Bit CPU to be useful - but in return, you get what was previously only available from NetApp , when you paid 6-figure sums.

Use of Linux will probably be relegated to little "NASlets" that for some reason can't or don't need to run ZFS/Solaris.
Currently, both the license and arguing about the design seem to prevent the use of ZFS with Linux.....

Qnap NAS already Linux based (1)

foxalopex (522681) | more than 5 years ago | (#21817114)

Nice try Netgear, this company [] already has some of the fastest Linux ARM based routers on the market. Tom's hardware recently reviewed their TS-209 Pro series which ranked as one of the fastest NAS's they've ever used. It also supports a huge variety of OSs and is probably closer to a micro server than a NAS.
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