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Review: Netgear's ReadyData makes a splash with flash

Paul Ferrill | March 10, 2014
Netgear's better, faster rack-mount NAS and iSCSI SAN makes the case for enterprise workloads with read and write caching and unlimited snapshots

Setup and configuration
By default the ReadyData will attempt to establish an IP address using DHCP. A utility program called RAIDar (available from the Netgear support website) will probe a network subnet from a workstation looking for a specific hardware MAC address range. It will present all discovered Netgear NAS products in a menu and allow you to connect to any device through the Web admin interface. Once connected, you can change any number of default settings on the system, including the IP address.

The ReadyData standard configuration includes two 1GbE plus two 10GbE ports. These must be configured individually using the Web-based admin tool if you don't want them to have DHCP assigned addresses. Each physical NIC (eth0 through eth3) shows the status of the device, including speed and physical (MAC) address. One virtual NIC is associated with each physical interface card by default.

My test system came configured with one 50GB SSD devoted to log files, one 200GB SSD configured as a write-optimized drive, and a second 200GB SSD configured as a read-optimized drive. The remaining nine slots contained 7,200-rpm 1TB SATA drives: eight configured as a RAID 10 array and one as a hot spare. Default configuration for all new volumes is to have continuous protection.

One ding against Netgear's management GUI is that you have to know what the color codes stand for in order to tell how a particular SSD has been configured. Although the drive status display clearly labels RAID arrays, log drives, cache drives, and hot spares, it does not provide the key to distinguishing read cache from write cache. According to the manual (page 33), yellow is used for Write Boost and orange is used for Read Boost.

Hardware and software options
Available disk types include SATA (7,200 rpm), near-line SAS (10,000 rpm), SAS (15,000 rpm), and SSD. You can also attach up to two 4U disk enclosures to scale out to 180TB of storage. Individual disk volumes can be configured in RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, or 10. Any number of available disks can be configured in different RAID settings, so you could have both a RAID 1 volume (mirrored) and a RAID 5 volume (striped with parity) in the same box.

Creating new SMB or CIFS shares includes the option to enable compression and deduplication. These two features work in tandem to reduce the footprint of the files stored on individual volumes. While this might not be a good idea for a database volume, it would make sense for backups or users' files. Be aware that the deduplication feature works outside the purview of any client operating system. You wouldn't want to do something like enable the Windows Server 2012 deduplication feature at the same time.


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