Like most computer companies, Netgear has decided to make finding the version number of their ReadyNAS devices a fun guessing game rather than just printing it on the case. If you need to upgrade the firmware on your ReadyNAS you will find the below blog post extremely helpful.
Software (build your own) NAS
- FreeNAS – My favorite because it is based on FreeBSD and uses ZFS.
- Openfiler – NAS distribution based on Linux.
- Synology – Huge fan of the DS712+ since it lets you start small with a 2 HD RAID and then expand it to 7 HD via a DX510.
- NETGEAR ReadyNAS – They aren’t beautiful but they are solidly built and the ReadyNAS NV+ is one hell of a bargain for a 4 HD data backup/archival solution where high IO performance isn’t super important.
- Drobo – The consumer models are like a Mac. They do one thing and do it very well but, you are out of luck if you want to customize/hack them like crazy. The Drobo Mini looks pretty sweet though.
- QNAP – Haven’t tried these but they seem to compare favorably to the Synology NASs.
I originally wrote this post back in early 2011 but never got around to posting it. So keep in mind that there are newer versions of most of the devices listed though the ReadyNAS NV+ is still the best bargain last I checked. A co-worker was asking me about NAS options so this post finally gets to see the light:
Recently, my TimeMachine backup drive died. I didn’t loose any data except some older versions of files that I don’t really care about but, the annoyance of being forced to do without those files was enough to convince me that some form of RAID was a good idea. Previously I had priced out a basic PC that could run FreeBSD and a ZFS RAID-Z array for my network storage needs. While it still sounds like a fun project I need something now so a commercial NAS it is.
There are three main products that I have been reasearching and considering.
1. Drobo FS
The Drobo initially seemed tempting due to its famed ease of use. Upon closer inspection it is very limited in what it can do.
- Can accept any combination of disks
- Data is always available
- 2 disk redundancy
- SLOW read and write speed ≈30MBps
- No redundancy, single power supply and NIC
- Rsync is an addon app
- No block level devices, only AFP and other file level protocols
This was looking like the way to go until I saw the Synergy.
- Great performance ≈100MBps
- Rsync is built in
- 2 disk redundancy
- Memeo® Premium Backup for continuous versioned backup of up to 3 computers
- Power on/off scheduler
- Wake on LAN
- UPS safety shutdown
It’s a little pricy but this baby has everything a home user could want in a NAS.
- Amazing performance via link aggregation ≈200MBps
- Expandability up to 15 drives
- Optional monitor and keyboard connect for troubleshooting
- Media sharing apps
- Easy to use and comprehensive web interface
- Only 1 disk redundancy possible with SHR
Final Choice: ReadyNAS NV+
Though the DS1511+ had me drooling I realized that I would be using the NAS mostly for data archival and thus cost warranted stronger consideration than speed.
- Cheap, around $300
- 4 disk bays
- X-RAID technology allows for different sized disks and gradual expansion
- Built-in rsync, since this is the main way I plan to do backups remotely this is a huge plus
- Hot swappable drives makes it easy to add or replace HDs
- UPS integration for graceful shutdown
- Snapshot functionality to ensure consistent backups
- Slow, only around 30MBps compared to 100-200MBps for other comparable models