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Linux-based NAS devices move up to 6TB

Apr 28, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Blurring the line between SOHO and enterprise network-attached storage (NAS), Netgear has announced three appliances that each provide six drive bays in a small-format box. The Linux-based ReadyNAS Pro systems come in 1.5TB, 3TB, and 6TB versions, and use Intel Core 2 Duo processors, says Netgear.

(Click for larger view of the ReadyNAS Pro)

The new ReadyNAS Pro models target small- to medium-sized businesses, says the company, providing support for up to 200 users. At the same time, they also support consumer-oriented media streaming protocols, including:

  • UPnP AV
  • Logitech SlimServer
  • Network DVD player compatible
  • Windows MCE compatible
  • Apple iTunes server
  • Sonos music player
  • SONY PlayStation3
  • Microsoft Xbox, Xbox 360
  • NETGEAR Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000 Series

Presumably, such features could be disabled by business users, via the web-based administration interface or certainly by the root ssh login shell provided.

The new “Pro” models provide more storage capacity than Netgear's earlier four-drive ReadyNAS NV+ models, which were announced last December, targeted at prosumers and small businesses. However, the Pro models are also larger and use more power — about 115 Watts on average for a model with six 500GB drives, compared to 55 Watts for the NV+ equipped with four 250GB drives. The new Pro models measure 10.0 x 6.7 x 11.2 inches, which is about two inches larger than the NV+ chassis in each dimension.

The new Pro NAS models support multiple SATA I or SATA II hard drives via six lockable, hot-swappable disk trays. The 1.5TB model comes with three 500GB drive pre-installed, whereas the 3TB models come with three 1TB drives and the 6TB model comes with six 1TB drives.

Unlike the ReadyNAS NV+, which is based on a homegrown SPARC-based IT-3107 system-on-chip (SoC), the ReadyNAS Pro is equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo processors clocked to 1.86GHz. It also offers far more memory and flash: 1GB to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, compared to 256MB, and 128MB of flash memory, compared to 64MB.

Typical ReadyNAS Pro environment
(Click to enlarge)

The devices share data with a mixture of Windows, Macintosh, and Linux desktops and support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6, the latter said to offer protection against dual simultaneous drive failures (belt and suspenders). Also supported is Netgear's proprietary “auto-expandable” X-RAID2 mode, apparently an upgrade to the company's earlier X-RAID technology that better supports mixing drive sizes.

Dual redundant Gigabit Ethernet ports offer network failover protection, says the company, and there are also three USB 2.0 ports for linking up USB drives and printers. An LCD display provides status readings and displays monitoring information on abnormal situations or part failures. The device also sends email alerts to the network administrator.

Netgear acquired the ReadyNAS line almost a year ago when it bought Infrant for $60 million. ReadyNAS devices run an Infrant-developed Linux distribution called RAIDiator.

Supported NAS protocols include:

  • 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
  • Rsync

Additionally, root ssh logins are supported, unlike on the NV+ models, and the storage API is also open, for enterprise application developers.

Here are the basic specifications listed for the ReadyNAS Pro:

  • Processor — Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory — 1GB DDR2 DIMM (expandable with additional slot, supporting up to 4GB)
  • Flash memory — 128MB embedded (for OS)
  • Drive support — 6 x serial ATA II channels with hot-swappable and lockable trays
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports with load balancing and failover
  • USB — 3 x USB 2.0 ports
  • RAID support — Multiple-volume, hot-swap, and hot-spare support for hardware-accelerated RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and X-RAID2 (proprietary) modes
  • Other features — DHCP server and print server; OLED display; GUI desktop interface; backup button and software
  • Power supply — 300W server-rated AC power supply; 100-240 VAC, 50/60Hz input
  • Supports lots of USB-based UPS (un-interruptible power supply) devices
  • Power consumption — 115W typical (with 6 x 500 GB disks)
  • Cooling — 120mm chassis cooling fan with failure alert and auto-shutdown option; 90mm CPU cooling fan
  • Dimensions — 10.0 x 6.7 x 11.2 inches (250 x 170 x 285 mm)
  • Weight — 16.5 lbs (7.5 kg) without disks
  • Operating system — embedded RAIDiator Linux; supports Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX desktop clients


The ReadyNAS Pro Gigabit Desktop Storage devices will be available in 1.5TB (RNDP6350), 3TB (RNDP6310) and 6TB (RNDP6610) versions in the third quarter, says Netgear. Available with a five-year warranty, the devices will be sold at prices starting at $2,000. More information may be found here.

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