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Networking Linux

Netgear Introduces Linux-Based NAS Devices 128

Posted by kdawson
from the backup-and-archive-with-daring-and-whimsy dept.
drewmoney writes "A LinuxDevices.com article introduces several of Netgear's Linux-based NAS devices, technology they acquired with the purchase of Infrant earlier this year. (Here is Netgear's product page.) There are models from 1.5 TB, at about $1,100, to 4 TB, topped by a 4-TB rack-mount version. They are geared towards the professional home user and small and medium businesses. The NAS devices come complete with the usual RAID features, file-system access, and a built in USB print server. All are controlled through a Web GUI and some even offer SSH access."
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Netgear Introduces Linux-Based NAS Devices

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  • erm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by flewp (458359) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:55PM (#21812002)
    They are geared towards the professional home user...

    Professional home user? How do I get such a job? I'd love to get paid for downloading porn, playing video games, and generally being lazy.
  • No NFS = No purchase.

    It doesn't matter if they run Linux internally, if all they basically do is samba, for Windows users (and Linux users who have adjusted to a Windows environment). I want NFS, POSIX attributes and remote fam. Which is perfectly feasible and even easy to implement on a Linux device. But the market is of course Windows users.
    • I don't think you need someone else to build a server for you...
    • RTFA, asshat. (Score:5, Informative)

      by jay-be-em (664602) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @12:05AM (#21812074) Homepage
      "Supporting NFS, rsync, SMB, ftp, and http file access, the ReadyNAS devices have a featureful Web GUI and, apparently new in the Netgear models, SSH access (although SSH may, as in the past, be limited to use as an rsync tunnel)."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        ftp, and http

        I hope this means sftp and https -- insecure WebDAV and FTP over the public Internet is one thing we do NOT need. Or maybe they should include a VPN server since some OS's don't have good support for WebDAV over HTTPs (XP tsk tsk).

        -b.

      • Re:RTFA, asshat. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @12:32AM (#21812222) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, no, they don't have a workable NFS solution, despite what the sales blurb claims. NFS without basic features like famd and posix attributes would be about as useful as Windows 3.11 would be for sharing SMB -- useful only for a single user environment where users don't take advantage of built-in features like setting permissions on network files or do naughty things like accessing the same file at the same time. In other words, slightly less useful than nothing for a business environment.
        • NFS without basic features like famd and posix attributes would be about as useful as Windows 3.11 would be for sharing SMB -- useful only for a single user environment where users don't take advantage of built-in features like setting permissions on network files

          Did you even bother to read the blurb? The devices are geared towards home users, not business environments. I couldn't care less if everyone on my LAN at home can read/write anything on my NAS. It's just there to store ripped DVDs, music, porno

          • Did you even bother to read the blurb? The devices are geared towards home users, not business environments.

            TFA: "Targeted at "prosumers" and small to medium-sized businesses, [...]". Ahem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bazman (4849)
        "Supporting" is a wonderfully vague word.

        We bought a 1TB NAS (can't remember the model) that 'supported' NFS. We had it connected to our server via ethernet, and mounted it using NFS. Ooh look, I copied a file. Ooh goody, I copied it back. Now let's copy half a terabyte of our backups onto the NAS...

        Wakey wakey. Hello? Anyone in there? Oh dear it seems to have stopped after 200 megs. Try again. Pretty much the same...

        We upgraded the NAS box to the latest OS, we asked the supplier who was no
        • It's not hard to hammer a home server, if you're like me and have a ton of recorded video files say. Besides, in this day and age 200 megs is nothing, even for Joe Average.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Unfortunately NFS shared to many hosts at once is a job for a real file server with a few real CPUs.
      • by Firethorn (177587)
        define 'many' in this context - 10, 100, 1k, 10k?

        For even a large family, 10 simultaneous users would be extremely rare.

        If they really want to stream something like five simultaneous HDTV channels, then yes, they'd need to move up.

        Besides, do you seriously believe that any file access tasks will seriously strain any semi-modern CPU? At least until you start looking at dozens of hard drives.
  • OpenVPN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @12:04AM (#21812064)
    I hope that they include something like OpenVPN that allows clients from almost every platform and is very flexible as far as setup. Secure remote access is very important.


    -b.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcpkaaos (449561)
      You could always throw a cheap router in front of your NAS and install DD-WRT [dd-wrt.com], which has offered OpenVPN [dd-wrt.com] support for quite some time.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        You could always throw a cheap router in front of your NAS and install DD-WRT, which has offered OpenVPN support for quite some time.

        I've found DD-WRT's implementation to be a pain to set up correctly -- far better to have it running on a server device IMHO.

        -b.

  • I was assuming this would be ARM based (i love my linksys NSLU2!), but it uses the IT3107 which is apparently [kaltech.co.il] [warning: PDF] based on the SPARC core. If it wasn't so expensive, I'd buy one for that reason alone (ok, and because it runs linux).
  • by giminy (94188) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @12:09AM (#21812094) Homepage Journal
    There have been dozens Linux-based NASs for years now. Infrant sells bare-bones ones, Buffalo Technology sells them, heck, D-Link sells a (crappy) little NAS with a linux kernel. How is this news? Or was this ad sponsored? :).

    Reid
    • by ximenes (10)
      This is what the Irfant system turned into, and I presume this article exists due to the 1996-style "oh look a major vendor is using Linux!" thinking that pops up at Slashdot fairly regularly.

      As you've said, its not really news-worthy inasmuch as lots of companies embed Linux variants in their devices (including other NAS vendors). But hey, this major company is using Linux!
    • It's a slow news day (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I wondered about the article myself and checked how it had done on the firehose. It made it to red. Other articles on the main page only made it to orange. If you go by that, you would conclude that our fellow /. readers think this story is really newsworthy.

      A more sinister interpretation might be that someone has found a way to game the firehose.

      I agree with the other posters. This device doesn't seem that newsworthy. A quick check of my favorite online retailer shows that there are many such devices
    • by tedric (8215)
      What do you mean by crappy D-Link NAS? I bought a D-Link DNS 323 (Gigabit Ethernet, 2*400GB SATA-HDDs) and am pretty happy with it. It also runs Linux and then you can of course install NFS etc. on it. Before that I was playing around with some USB-HDDs attached to my (also Linux based) router and a Trekstore NDAS device. Those two "solutions" were really crappy compared with the D-Link NAS. And that for a price of ~200 (without drives).
      • by giminy (94188) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @07:01AM (#21813714) Homepage Journal
        I own a DNS-323 too. I loaded it up with two 500gb hard disks. It sucks. I still use it, but it sucks. The standard firmware only lets you update the device with D-Link digitally signed firmware. The D-Link firmware is buggy as hell, still, even after the thing has been out commercially for over a year.

        - It has a bad version of Samba on it that will cause your files to magically disappear if you decide to copy files larger than about 20 gigs, or if you copy large numbers of files at the same time.
        - It uses the ext2 filesystem, which not only lacks journalling, but has no nice way to fun fsck (only option is to enable telnet via a fun_plug and run fsck on your mounted filesystem...blech!).
        - It *still* has piss-poor unicode support.
        - The current firmware does funny things if one of your drives dies and you have a RAID-1 array, such as not rebuilding the array. Some users have reported that it won't even detect a drive failure in raid-1.
        - Its user/group and volume management simply doesn't work. You can't set up multiple shares and give different users different permissions to the shares. User/group management is a mess.

        All of these problems exist in the 1.03 firmware, which is the latest version. My unit has also been blessed with a common hardware problem -- one of the "drive okay" blue led's died. Quite a few folks are reporting this (probably cheap leds).

        About the only way to make the 323 usable and safe is to solder a serial port on it so that you can use redboot and overwrite the stock firmware. IMHO, if you're going to take the trouble to solder and manage the thing via the command-line, you may as well just plunk down a bit of extra cash and have an actual warranty. Or save the money and put two hard drives in an old computer/install linux distro of your choice. It certainly shouldn't be considered a reliable nas, and I certainly wouldn't be saving copies of anything important on it (unless you're backing the data up somewhere else).
        • The D-Link firmware is buggy as hell, still, even after the thing has been out commercially for over a year.

          Don't worry, D-Link will stop producing buggy firmware for your hardware model soon enough.
    • by Arellias (1122023)
      I believe it is actually developed and built by Infrant. If you look at the site: http://www.shop-infrant.com/readynas.htm [shop-infrant.com] it says to go to Netgear's website for purchases.
    • by rawg (23000)
      I purchased a USB2.0 1TB drive the other day that didn't work at all for me. So I pulled the drives out and build a FreeNAS.org server. Works perfect now.
  • Will they provide it ?
    Are they GPL-compliant ?
  • ... does it let me share my own media files instead of thinking it knows better than I do what I want to do with my own stuff?
    • by Nataku564 (668188)
      Note: I purchased this product back when Infrant was still separate from Netgear, so the info may be a bit outdated.

      From my experience with this product, it does exactly as it says. Its just a file server, nothing more. I have it mounted via NFS or CIFS on my linux boxes, CIFS on the windows boxes, and AFP on the mac mini in front of the TV. I encode my media on the linux boxes, and fire up front row on the mac, and it all works seamlessly.

      Of course, I haven't taken firmware updates since Netgear took ov
  • Well, maybe introduced as new models bundled with bigger drives, but haven't these been around for a bit even before NetGear bought out Infrant Technologies? http://infrant.com/products/products.php [infrant.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by eagl (86459)
      Yes. These are re-badged Infrant ReadyNAS units. My NV+ works like a champ. You definately want to read the FAQs if you get one however... Depending on the firmware revision, they do not work well with certain hard drives and for a certain range of serial numbers, they recommend pulling out and reversing the fan to help with cooling.

      Also, these do not provide terribly fast speeds no matter what kind of drives you use, so for drive selection you're better off going for the drives with the lowest heat and
      • Then maybe you can shed some light --the first thing I look for, before I even look at the price tag-- is the noise level, because I do not want to listen to another set of fans in my home office. The specs don't say. Can you?
        • by eagl (86459)
          It's barely audible. It's a low hum and a very slight whisper of air through the vent holes. Since I did the reverse-the-fan mod, I also removed the dust filter which was no longer doing anything, and that helped airflow a bit. The fan is throttled based on temperature so under heavy load the fan goes from completely quiet to that very low hum, and when idle you have to put your head right next to it to hear anything.

          From 10 ft away, I can't hear it regardless of the fan setting, although I can hear the
        • by bartle (447377)
          The only moving component (other than the drives) is a standard size case fan. It's variable speed and completely replaceable though doing so will invalidate the warranty.

          One slight frustration is that though the box supports spinning down the hard drives, and it works quite well, the fan will never fully spin down. I believe this is fixable via the web interface but doing so will also invalidate the warranty.

          I bought the NV+ a few months ago and it was a great deal. Netgear has since raised the price

      • by markdavis (642305)
        1) Your speed limitation will be either the network or USB connection. It doesn't really matter how fast the drives are, they will be faster than your connection (for transfer speed). Speed would only matter if it were connected internally on a much faster bus (like SATA, or SCSI), or externally with a much faster connection such as iSCSI or eSATA.

        2) Extra RAM will do nothing for performance. See #1. And, as with internal RAID cards, using extra RAM on the controller is *MUCH* less effective than adding
        • by nxtw (866177)
          Many of these devices (and many software RAID5 implementations for Windows) can't even reach single-drive maximum speeds in RAID5, which is well below the maximum throughput of Gigabit Ethernet.
        • by eagl (86459)
          If you were talking about a system with surplus computing power, I would agree. However...

          The infrant version I have appears to be held back by the embedded controller architecture. Adding memory does have a measurable positive effect according to a number of reports from people who are competent enough to take measurements, however I never bothered to do any benchmarking. In addition, adding memory may increase the number of simultaneous users who can stream media from the NV+ by boosting ram cache effe
  • Man, I hope they don't suck as much as the SNAP appliances. I've got about 2TB of NAS (and I use that term loosely) on SNAP server. I'm never buying another one. Crap reliability, crap features, crap adminstration.

  • 1.5 TB for $1100 ! (Score:5, Informative)

    by this great guy (922511) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @01:08AM (#21812374)

    That's $0.73/GB for this Netgear product. Almost a year ago I built a 2.5 TB OpenSolaris fileserver using ZFS for $950 [slashdot.org], that's twice cheaper: $0.38/GB.

    I understand Netgear market this product for endusers without the time or the ability to build and configure a NAS themselves, but this reminds me that some of us are privileged people, because we don't have to be victims of such horribly expensive proprietary gear... We have the choice to build it ourselves and save real, big bucks.

    This also shows that the storage market really have room for more competitors. At a time where the raw cost of disks is $0.20/GB and where you can build storage servers for $0.36/GB (proof: I did it), the only explanation behind the high prices in the storage market is pure lack of competition. This is one of the reasons why Google build their servers themselves: they figured out all the "professional products" out there are overpriced.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      1)
      This is the old Infrant NV+
      It has been out for about 2 years in its current form.
      This is absolutely nothing new.
      Infrant just got bought by NetGear and hence the PR push.
      New brand, same old, same old device.

      2)
      The minor tweak is the new 4.0 firmware, whose main plus is breaking the old 3TB limit.
      Other than that, same hardware.

      3)
      When NetGear bought Infrant they raised the price of the drives from $600 (diskless) to $800 (diskless
      And made it tougher to get diskless systems.
      You'll want to add your own drives a
      • With ZFS you can also dynamically expand your pool by replacing drives one-by-one with larger ones, no matter what the current pool configuration is: combination of stripes, mirrors, raidz, raidz2. You can also expand a pool by adding a new "vdev" to it. A vdev can be a single drive or a N-drive mirror/raidz/raidz2. There is one thing you can't do (yet): dynamically reconfigure a N-drive raidz/raidz2 vdev to a (N+1)-drive vdev.

        Also, RAID-X doesn't seem to implement snapshots, quotas, reservations, com

    • by drgruney (1077007)
      Don't forget that in commercial products there are expenses outside of materials. Your .38$ per GB system was cheap because you didn't have to mass produce it... and also didn't mind developing and configuring it for free. It's cheap to make a one-off or very limited production item. It costs a bundle to develop the *systems* to design and assemble a similar item for mass production (would your system have cost the same had you been contracted to build it?)... then achieving super cheap production costs.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      That's $0.73/GB for this Netgear product. Almost a year ago I built a 2.5 TB OpenSolaris fileserver using ZFS for $950, that's twice cheaper: $0.38/GB.

      I understand Netgear market this product for endusers without the time or the ability to build and configure a NAS themselves, but this reminds me that some of us are privileged people, because we don't have to be victims of such horribly expensive proprietary gear... We have the choice to build it ourselves and save real, big bucks.

      No kidding.

      I picked up th

    • Your time has no value? How much time did you spend setting it up? How much time did it take you to assemble it, install and configure OpenSolaris, WA everything, and write the web-based administration tools?
  • That's a heck of a prosumer price, I think their new pricing is going to be a problem

    I was getting ready to purchase an Infrant bare bones when I saw that they were bought out. I initially was happy with the idea that Netgear was picking them up - but they ended up raising prices. Maybe there are more niche users with that type of budget - but that at the price levels that they are offering, and the increases, I don't see it going to that large a market.

    Consider you can get 4 320 GB 16 mb cache Seagate
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @01:10AM (#21812392)

    Good grief, can someone please explain to me what the fetish is with four drives in every single freakin NAS system on the planet? And every vendor gets the same thrill annoucing it as a "4TB" solution when only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance.

    Why not five drives, guys? It's not like we are back in the late 90s when every motherboard had two IDE controllers supporting two devices. I routinely see motherboards now with five or six SATA ports. There are even splitters and repeaters that can change one SATA port into two. So why not break out and distinguish yourselfs with five drives so I can actually get a 4TB (3.8 actual *sigh*) solution AND a spare drive for the RAID set or even hotspare (if i'm feeling nervous).

    Why not an even eight? How about a eSATA port so you could connect two NAS units together for expansion or redundancy? How about something like iSCSI and then let me chain as many NAS units together on a gigabit switch as I want?

    I finally had to stop buying NAS units and get my hands dirty and build my own so I could actually break the REAL 3TB ceiling. I went with a SAS RAID card and an enclosure that supports 8 SATA drives out of the box. Down the road, I can get a SAS repeater and add a second 8-drive enclosure, or a third, or a fourth. Online volume expansion folds new drives in like butter.

    But it's ugly as sin. It's a cheap Dell server ($329 w 3yr warranty!) whose only purpose in life is to house the SAS card connected to this ugly black metal monolith with two very tacky plastic drive enclosure racks. I don't mind sticking it in the closet of my house but I really can't stand the idea of trying to sell something like this to anyone.

    But until I can pop down to Best Buy and buy something that looks decent, or is modular or stackable, I guess I'm stuck with whatever FrankenRAID I can piece together.

    Eight drives, guys, how 'bout it?

    -JoeShmoe
    .
    • only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance.
      Allow me to speak for the majority of morons: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's bad. It's risky. And cigarettes cause cancer.

      Now, where's my smokes?
    • by Dice (109560)
      Because 4 3.5" drives is all you can fit in a 1U form factor?
      • by JoeShmoe (90109)
        Then 8 would fit in a 2U form factor, wouldn't it?

        And most of these consumer/prosumer NAS devices are cubes meant to sit on a desk, not rack-mounted. You can fit five 3.5 drives vertically in three 5.25 drive bays, the same amount of space as most four-bay enclosures use. So five drives doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

        -JoeShmoe
        .
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by stderr_dk (902007)

          You can fit five 3.5 drives vertically in three 5.25 drive bays, the same amount of space as most four-bay enclosures use.
          Yeah, you could do that, if you don't care about the heat produced by the drives.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glwtta (532858)
      when only a complete moron would run these things as a single JBOD volume without any fault tolerance

      RAID10 is a perfectly legitimate configuration for a great many applications; redundancy isn't the only reason people get RAID devices, you know.

      Anyway, I think it's a fairly limited audience that wants more than 3TB in a cheap-ass desk-side thingy. Seriously, you'd want an 8x1TB RAID5 array on a single, "consumer grade" power supply? Might as well run it as JBOD (actually, that would probably be safe
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JoeShmoe (90109)

        RAID 10 *has* redundancy so I don't really understand that example as a counterpoint. Yes, there are some high-end desktops that come configured with RAID-0 arrays for performance but nobody could possibly want to do that with a NAS. I'm pretty sure the network would be a chokepoint well before you reached the performance level of unstriped drives.

        I think there's a decent-sized audience that wants a *practical* way to get a couple of terabytes. Who wants to spring for three or four brand new 1TB drives t
    • Checkout www.freenas.org the live CD runs from CD, with configuration in an XML on floppy or USB flash and all your disk interfaces (aside from the CD drive, sorry) are just that - for disks.

      There are a couple of limitations, but hey, get your hands dirty and help fix them!
    • No, really, you don't.

      Even if you think you do.

      Companies making these devices know this to be true for 99% of home users (I would say 100%, but hey, you may actually need 3TB), and make sensible compromises about their offerings.
  • I'm just not so sure what's better about these NAS devices than either just running your own simple Linux server or a super-simple configuration. I'm not sure I want to trust my data to some proprietary RAIDed solution.
    • by eagl (86459)
      The "better" part is the simplicity. These suckers are small and require very little setup. Just pop in the drives, give it a few hours to format the array, go through the setup menus and turn on/off whatever features you either want or specifically do not want, and then you can leave the sucker in the closet and never worry about it.

      Mine has been virtually trouble free since I set it up, although I'm not using even half of it's capabilities. It's a simple X-RAID backup box for me, but if I wanted to spen
    • by Nataku564 (668188)
      It saves you the build/configure time, the form factor is pretty convenient, and the power consumption of these little toaster boxes tend to be less than that of a rig most people are likely to build for a custom NAS. Of course, I am somewhat biased, as I bought one of these :)
    • by mortonda (5175)

      I'm just not so sure what's better about these NAS devices than either just running your own simple Linux server or a super-simple configuration. I'm not sure I want to trust my data to some proprietary RAIDed solution.

      Every time one of these NAS stories come up, I just cringe. My experience with trying to buy a turnkey NAS like this was not good. Then I built my own [slashdot.org] for a whole lot more bang for buck. At the time, 500 GB drives were the right choice, but the 1TB might be a better deal now.

      The point, though, is that with just a little bit of effort, you can easily build a system that is twice as powerful for less cost, and as you say, much safer as the data is in a completely open format the does not require any propri

  • So sad... (Score:2, Informative)

    by TexNex (513254)
    Before Netgear bought them Infrant was the best NAS out there. Great price for what you got and some excelent support & firmware updates that truly enhanced the product. I was hoping Netgear would change their direction and move towards the Infrant product ideals but, it seems NG is no better than Microsoft in this regard and has chosen to buy & cursh the competition.
  • One of my clients has the 4x750GB model in production for storage of backups. It runs Debian Woody on a Sparc and has 512M of memory. Shares can be mounted via NFS or CIFS. The device has gigE, but writes are limited to around 50-60 megabit and reads at around 100 megabit. The status of the disks, fans, power, and temperature can all be monitored via SNMP.

    All in all, it's pretty good for the price point.
    • by Radak (126696)
      If your client is seeing 50-60 Mbps writes and 100 Mbps reads, something is wrong. I've got one of these boxes at home and see over 200 Mbps in each direction. Check that configuration, update the firmware, do something.
  • Infrant ReadyNAS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RedBear (207369) <redbear@redbearn e t . c om> on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @03:33AM (#21813044) Homepage
    Netgear hasn't "introduced" anything. They are just re-branding the Infrant ReadyNAS products that have been on the market for at least a couple of years already. I'm not aware of any actual changes they've made to the devices themselves, so handing them complete credit for this is ridiculous.

    The ReadyNAS NV+ is a pretty interesting unit, by the way. I have been looking at it a lot lately. It's one of only a handful of midrange consumer NAS devices that include features like Gigabit ethernet (so it's not slow as molasses) and support for not only SMB/CIFS and FTP but also the native Mac file sharing protocol, AFS 3.1. (Yes I'm perfectly aware that Mac OS X has no problem with SMB/CIFS, but it's a more pleasant experience to connect with AFS, and it also works with the Classic Mac OS. Believe it or not, some people do still use Mac OS 8/9 for various reasons.)

    The ReadyNAS can be configured in several different disk modes from JBOD to RAID 0, 0+1, 5, to some proprietary mode Infrant calls X-RAID which supposedly uses disk space more efficiently than RAID 5 (when you're using 3 or 4 drives). The last big positive I can think of at the moment is that it actually supports a list of UPSes so your home or office file/backup server will theoretically shut itself down safely rather than crashing hard when the UPS battery runs down after the power has been off for an hour in the middle of the night. How about that.

    Unfortunately the ReadyNAS, like all the other NAS (and non-NAS) multi-drive RAID-type storage devices fails to impress me in one regard. The hardware itself that controls the drives is still a scary single point of failure. I may be protecting myself from a drive failure, but if the hardware fails you lose everything anyway! The chances of the important hardware failing is always greater than zero, and the probability that you will somehow be able to recover your data by sticking the drives into another identical device is much, much lower than 100%. So to be reasonably sure that you won't lose your entire array you need to get at least TWO of these expensive devices and keep them synchronized. This is tantamount to failure in my book.

    So in the end I have kind of written off all these devices and I'm waiting for widespread ZFS support in Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, et al. It's coming soon (except for Windows, I don't hold out much hope for Windows ZFS support, third-party or otherwise). When that happens it will be possible to take some generic PC hardware and create a ZFS raidz2 array that can handle losing two drives without failing to protect the data, then if that PC hardware fails you can take that ZFS raidz2 array and hook it up to some other generic PC hardware and simply do a "zpool import" and go on about your business. No insanity like losing an entire RAID array because of some stupid little glitch in the RAID hardware. Eff-you-see-kay THAT, buddy.

    Unless I am completely misunderstanding the capabilities of ZFS and raidz/raidz2, it would seem that we are currently on the threshold of the first and only truly resilient data storage method that won't cost a king's ransom to implement. Any supported generic PC hardware (cheap) with Gigabit ethernet, SATA and at least 1GB of RAM will be able to become a file server that will outstrip by a country mile the performance and reliability of all these regular RAID-based NAS devices that almost across the board have abysmal data transfer speeds. Even the very nice Netgear/Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ will be completely obsolete unless they jump on the ZFS bandwagon.

    Mark my words. The entire data storage industry will be changing very soon. Most folks here don't seem to see it yet but I think ZFS is going to be big. Like, iPod big, or iPhone big. Everybody scoffed at those devices at first. Well, they aren't scoffing now. I think widespread ZFS support is going to do the same sort of thing. It seems like just another filesystem at first, but it ain't.
    • I have to agree , playing with ZFS at Sun was really quite interesting , seeing what can be done and still be recoverable made me quite honestly take note of the abilities of the file system.

      ZFS is going to make quite a big impact , and Microsoft will have to take note and build in support, most big business will be swapping to ZFS and since that is where Microsoft's bread and butter is coming from they will have to add support for it sooner or later. With it's list of features it will have a home on the Mi
    • I'm educated and experienced enough to easily build my own NAS (and a large variety other things), but I have far more valuable ways to use that time (my research). So I bought two of the 4-750GB versions with 1GB of RAM. They are very compact, attractive, and are overall satisfactory to me.
      • by RedBear (207369)
        This is a reply both to you and the AC above (who was being quite a jackass in his response). I might point out that I never said the ReadyNAS was a particularly bad choice, especially if you need a large amount of networkable storage right now. It's a great device, according to the reviews. It just doesn't meet my personal expectations for a device that's supposed to reliably keep data safe without ever failing in a way that would destroy data.

        Good on you both for buying the product if you need it. However
  • I recently threw two SATA drives into an old Shuttle PC I had laying around and installed FreeNAS on a 128MB CompactFlash card. So far I'm quite impressed. And while I'm running it strictly as a JBOD right now, it has the capability for (software) RAID levels 0-5. I haven't delved into it too much, but it may support some hardware RAID cards. Can't beat it if you have an old PC laying about.
    • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @06:09AM (#21813508) Homepage Journal

      Can't beat it if you have an old PC laying about.
      It's easy to beat. People often forget about the power usage of a PC. That thing is bleeding 100 to 300 watts and that probably makes the Netgear equipment much cheaper.
      • I think you need one of these [clubit.com] to install in that old beige box or if you crave a complete solution, one of these [zareason.com].

        And let's not forget openfiler [openfiler.com], since we're mentioning free NAS solutions. It's not lightweight, but it looks pretty cool.

        • Thanks for the links. I really like the Via. Just like you said, it could be a drop-in replacement for that beige box.
      • by jerk (38494)
        Does the Netgear run on fairy dust?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)
        I doubt even fullblown gaming rigs draws 300W at idle unless you got a hefty SLI setup. Above and beyond the disks which the NAS has to power too, it's basicly CPU+GPU+mobo. Make that integrated graphics and the GPU goes away. The hardware came "free" in that it's used components with low resale value. Of course, if you don't plan to take advantage of anything else than as a file server it might be a close call, if you're slightly more advanced it's a no-brainer in my opinion.
  • http://www.freenas.org/ [freenas.org] - FreeBSD based, a pleasure to install, configure and use.
    • by Wdomburg (141264)
      See also OpenFiler [openfiler.com] for another option. Linux based, has a slightly different feature set. Supports snapshots, ldap and kerberos auth, which FreeNAS seems to be missing at this time (unless I missed something or the wiki is outdated). Doubtless missing a few things FreeNAS has; e.g. AFS.
  • Take a look at the Thecus N2100. For $360 or less it appears to have similar capabilities.

    Comments please?
  • Having Linux etc. in a NAS is nice - but the features ZFS offers (almost no-cost snapshots, clones, RAID-levels, volume-expansion etc.pp - see the various articles on Wikipedia, OpenSolaris, Sun.com and solarisinternals, if you have been living under a rock for the past years) will *kill* every other filesystem (or push it back into a niche).
    It might also kill NetApp at the same time.
    OpenSolaris even has an iSCSI-Target.
    Yes, it needs a lot of RAM and a 64 Bit CPU to be useful - but in return, you get what w
  • Nice try Netgear, this company http://www.qnap.com/ [qnap.com] already has some of the fastest Linux ARM based routers on the market. Tom's hardware recently reviewed their TS-209 Pro series which ranked as one of the fastest NAS's they've ever used. It also supports a huge variety of OSs and is probably closer to a micro server than a NAS.
  • I thought Linux was supposed to be "free".... but the units they're talking about cost as much as any other with an embedded proprietary OS.

    At least with Linux you could hack together a network connected lump of 1.5TB for less than $1100 on your own.

    Thanks Netgear...
  • Okay, is Slashdot THIS desperate for news?

    So I've gotten used to Slashdot moving from first delivery of news to a couple of weeks behind. But this is just blithering ridiculous...

    Netgear's acquisition of Infrant and sale of ReadyNAS is nearly 6 month old news.

    I bought one way back in August. Came with a free Wii, which took 3 months to arrive and which I then turned around and sold for $400 on ebay, and then in turn bought an Xbox360...

    Look, posting articles this late as news just makes Slashdot look stupi

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