Netgear ReadyNAS 312 2-bay SMB / SOHO NAS Reviewby Ganesh T S on November 11, 2013 1:00 PM EST
Setup and Usage Impressions
The Netgear ReadyNAS 312 is bundled with a 60W (12V @ 5A) adapter. Despite having two GbE links, only one network cable is supplied. The power cord is customized to the country of sale. Our evaluation started with a diskless system. After connection to the network, the unit could be discovered by RAIDar (offline discovery tool that has been around since the first generation ReadyNAS units). In addition, Netgear has also incorporated cloud discovery using the ReadyCLOUD service. Discovery worked well, and, as the steps indicated, starting off with fresh disks would have been straightforward too. Unfortunately, I put in a single disk with existing partitions (fresh from another NAS unit) and ended up with more problems than I bargained for. I still can't understand why NAS vendors (Netgear is not alone in this) refuse to format the disk after providing sufficient warning to the user. In any case, even with pre-formatted disks, it is possible to fully re-initialize the NAS unit by following some key press sequence after a factory reset (outlined in the supplied setup guide).
Netgear has completely reworked the UI for ReadyNAS OS. While it is not a very fancy desktop-like environment or mobile app-like interface, it already appears ready for use on touch-oriented operating systems. The interface is minimal, yet functional. One doesn't get fancy 'multitasking' features in the interface, but, for a business NAS, this is hardly an issue. The gallery below presents some screenshots from the ReadyNAS OS 6.0 UI.
One of the interesting aspects about the ReadyNAS OS 6.0 is the integrated snapshot facility. You can read Netgear's marketing whitepaper here (PDF). While btrfs has a COW (Copy-on-Write) snapshot mechanism, Netgear opts for a pointer-based one. This allows minimal performance impact. Snapshots can also be setup at frequent intervals due to low performance impact. The clincher, in our opinion, is for Windows clients. Files on a CIFS share mounted in Windows can use the snapshot copies as previous versions directly. The usage of this feature is outlined in the YouTube video here.
The ReadyNAS 312 is a 2-bay unit. Users can opt for automatic X-RAID protection or manually set the RAID level to 0 or 1. We benchmarked the unit with the RAID level manually set to 1 (same as X-RAID 2). Both network ports were bonded with dynamic link aggregation. We used two Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.
|AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration|
|Motherboard||Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB|
|CPU||2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L|
|Coolers||2 x Dynatron R17|
|Memory||G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30|
|OS Drive||OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB|
|Secondary Drive||OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB|
|Tertiary Drive||OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid (1TB HDD + 100GB NAND)|
|Other Drives||12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)|
|Network Cards||6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter|
|Chassis||SilverStoneTek Raven RV03|
|PSU||SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evoluion 850W|
|OS||Windows Server 2008 R2|
|Network Switch||Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200|
We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:
- Thanks to Intel for the Xeon E5-2630L CPUs and the ESA I-340 quad port network adapters
- Thanks to Asus for the Z9PE-D8 WS dual LGA 2011 workstation motherboard
- Thanks to Dynatron for the R17 coolers
- Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsZ 64GB DDR3 DRAM kit
- Thanks to OCZ Technology for the two 128GB Vertex 4 SSDs, twelve 64GB Vertex 4 SSDs and the RevoDrive Hybrid
- Thanks to SilverStone for the Raven RV03 chassis and the 850W Strider Gold Evolution PSU
- Thanks to Netgear for the ProSafe GSM7352S-200 L3 48-port Gigabit Switch with 10 GbE capabilities.
- Thanks to Western Digital for the eight WD RE hard drives (WD4000FYYZ) to use in the NAS under test.