Netgear's Marvell Based ReadyNAS NV+ v2 Reviewby Ganesh T S on November 9, 2011 8:30 AM EST
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- IT Computing
In addition to the raw performance numbers, there are a number of other features which prospective customers might care about. These include the one-touch backup features, extensibility with the help of add-ons and mobile apps availability. Power consumption and noise are important factors too.
One Touch Backup
Backup jobs can be created in the web interface. Source and destination options include folders in the internal volume as well as the various USB ports in the system. These backup jobs can be scheduled at pre-determined intervals or even just disabled.
The one-touch backup button can be configured to execute one or more of the configured backup jobs. We set up a backup job to copy over the contents of the drive connected to the rear top USB 3.0 port to a backup folder in the internal volume. One touch backup was performed for 100 GB of data (with multiple small files and folders) on a OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 SSD. As can be seen in the gallery above, the backup jobs use 'cp' internally. The WD MyBook Live uses the rsync command which gives more flexibility in the backup process. This is something Netgear should probably look at in future firmware upgrades. The transfer rates for the NV+ v2 (with various volume configurations) are recorded below.
|ReadyNAS NV+ v2 One-Touch Backup Transfer Rates over USB 3.0|
|2 x 1TB RAID-1 Volume||26.53 MiB/s|
|3 x 1TB RAID-5 Volume||16.15 MiB/s|
|4 x 1TB RAID-5 Volume||23.79 MiB/s|
The backup transfer rate seems to be fundamentally limited by the RAID array itself, as evident from the NASPT / robocopy benchmarks and the results above.
One of the big plus points of the ReadyNAS lineup is the wealth of community developed add-ons available. A visit to the ReadyNAS website reveals that almost every add-on has two versions available, one for x86 and the other for SPARC. With today's introductions, ARM versions need to be added too. As of now, the number of add-ons available for the new platform is quite limited.
Netgear assured us that the porting process for the add-ons would be simple and available to end users / developers with access to the SDK. For the purpose of this review, we used the EnableRootSSH, ReadyNAS Photos II and ReadyNAS Remote add-ons. Except for the EnableRootSSH add-on, the others needed quite a bit of poking around to get them up and running. I am quite sure that things will improve as the ARM based platforms go out to more developers / end-users.
The ReadyNAS Photos II add-on helps users manage photographs on the NAS and access to it over the Internet. With uPnP forwarding set up, each photographer account on the NAS can be accessed through photos.readynas.com. The add-on also provides very fine grained access control for the photographs. Other NAS vendors also provide similar add-ons (like Synology with their Photo Station app). Due to the large number of options available, the usage of the add-on is not as straightforward as I would have liked. That said, it does manage to get the job done.
Mobile Apps / Remote Access Add-On
The ReadyNAS Remote solution allows access to the NAS volumes from a PC / Mac / mobile device in an external network. This needs the FTP service to be enabled on the unit (Netgear indicated that a non-FTP based version is currently being developed for mobile devices). The PC client installs its own network adapter on the system. I was unable to get the client to install on my Windows 7 Ultimate x86 based laptop, but it installed fine on another PC running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (albeit, with an unsigned driver warning). Once logged in, the client mapped the NAS volume onto a network location. This way, the NAS volume is integrated quite nicely with Windows Explorer. All said, this setup is much more complicated compared to the PC WD2go solution provided by Western Digital in their MyBook Live lineup.
Mobile apps to replicate the remote access functionality are available for both Android and iOS. One of the quirks I observed during the testing was the fact that the PC client would log out whenever I logged into the Android client. In most situations, this is not desirable, but it is not a showstopper. Users can always create separate accounts for access via mobile devices. All in all, the mobile apps / remote access add-on seem to be unnecessarily complicated. Hopefully, things get better in the future.
The web interface allows the various folders to be configured with the ReadyDLNA service. The unit is still pending certification, though. I am not a big fan of DLNA and its certification program. So, I will leave this sub-section with just the fact that DLNA services can be configured on a per-folder basis in the ReadyNAS NV+ v2.
The table below presents the power consumed by the unit in various stages of operation. Note that these are typical numbers and can vary in the field depending on the type of hard disk being used in the system.
|ReadyNAS NV+ v2 Power Consumption|
|Power Off||0.9 W|
|2 x 1TB RAID-1 Volume with High Network Load||24 W|
|3 x 1TB RAID-5 Volume with High Network Traffic||28.3 W|
|4 x 1TB RAID-5 Volume with High Network Traffic||34 W|
|4 x 1TB RAID-5 Volume Rebuild||36.8 W|
|Idle (4 x 1TB RAID-5)||12.3 W|
Since the unit happens to be based on a dedicated RISC based RAID / NAS controller, the power consumption is quite low. The hard disks contribute to the bulk of the power consumption. The temperatures never exceeded 40 C, and the fans rotated at less than 2000 rpm even during periods of heavy activity.
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sunbear - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkIf it was formatted as ntfs, this could explain the low 20MB/s backup performance. Netgear slumps by using the free ntfs-3g driver whereas qnap licences a ntfs driver from paragon which provides 3-4 times the performance. At this level of performance it would seem that USB 2.0 would have sufficed to handle that low level of performance.
It might be worth retesting with ext3 format to see.if performance at USB 3.0 levels is achievable or whether the bottleneck is the weak Marvell CPU.
ganeshts - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linksunbear, Thanks for the note! Yes, it was a NTFS drive.
Let me retest with ext3 formatting.
ganeshts - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - linkI retested with ext3, and the results are actually slightly worse than NTFS. But, as you say, NTFS performance could probably get an additional boost with a better driver. We can't say for sure whether that is the case without actually trying out another NTFS driver on the ReadyNAS. I will ask Netgear to analyze this further.
sunbear - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - linkThanks very much for EXT3 the retest. On a NAS that is designed for the budget consumer who will most likely want to backup their NAS via USB (rather than over Ethernet) it's particularly disappointing to see Netgear provide USB3 with the potential for speedy backups, but leave bottlenecks elsewhere effectively nullifying the whole point of having USB3 in the first place! It might be worth asking Netgear why they added the additional cost to include USB3 but then completely failed to utilize it.
Regarding the NTFS vs EXT3 performance question - A year or more back it was the case the NTFS backups were slower on Readynas platforms than EXT3 backups, but it seems that the situation may have now reversed due to an update to the ntfs-3g driver to version 2011.1.15 (http://www.tuxera.com/community/release-history) in the most recent versions of the RAIDiator firmware. It now seems that Readynas Ultra 2 users are even finding similar results to your results (http://www.readynas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2902...
MTN Ranger - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkNo NFS, no sale. I have a Synology DS210j at work and a DS210+ at home and they provide fast transfers and are reliable.
ganeshts - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkSince we have SSH access, it is possible that NFS could be enabled by end-users. I will also put in a word with Netgear :)
QChronoD - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkI currently have a 6x 1.5TB drives running on an older Adaptec raid card (in RAID5). Unfortunately it's from right before auto-expansion became popular, so to increase my array I'd have to back it all up, add the new drives, make a new array and then copy everything back over.
My question is whether it would be "better" to look into migrating to a NAS (that supports at least 15TB) or a newer RAID card that does support auto-expansion?? A quick look on Newegg showed that once you get over 4bays for the NAS, the cost jumps to $800-1K, and there isn't much thats larger than 6. However I've seen some 16ch RAID cards that are about the same price, and that would give me much greater future expansion.
(I'm not concerned with using a NAS to save power, since my computer is running 24/7 and I'm probably going to upgrade to a Ceton card next year.)
ganeshts - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkThe Synology DS1511+ fits your expansion criteria, but it is pretty costly at > $800. unRAID solutions will also work (you can bring your own machine or look into the MD-1510 series). But, all of these are costly.
From what I have heard, it is better to go with NAS solutions compared to RAID cards when it comes to 'set it up and forget it' scenarios.
JHBoricua - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkFor the $399 asking price of a NV+ v2 diskless unit, I can get a HP Proliant Microserver with a dual core 1.5Ghz low voltage CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 250GB HD, Broadcom gigabit adapter and 2 expansion slots. An additional $99 gets you 8GB of RAM from Crucial. Fill it with 2TB Samsung F4 drives for another $300, slap Solaris 11 with napp.it as the front end and you'll have a much more capable device than the ReadyNAS that can do CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, FCoE, Rsync, WebDav, and much more.
ganeshts - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - linkThe issue will be power consumption + customer support. For tech-savvy users, I do suggest going the self-build route, but many SMBs / SOHOs don't have time to build or maintain a NAS themselves.