Netgear ReadyNAS 4312X Review: Slick 2U Storage

Zarathustra[H]

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Here's one for those of you who hang out in the Server/Storage/VM sections of our forums. Servethehome has a review up for Netgear's new ReadyNAS 4312X, and it looks like they like it. It's tough to blame them. Relatively low cost, 10G NIC's, and lots of upgrade flexibility make this one a winner for sure. Personally I'm not too sure I'd be willing to trust the Marvell storage controllers though. Relying on a combination of on-board Intel SATA and Marvell controllers seems a bit like a "home consumer" build to me. I'd prefer a real LSI SAS HBA. What do you guys think?

We recently had the opportunity to test the Netgear ReadyNAS 4312X, which is a 2U NAS capable of replacing larger legacy NAS units that cost several times as much. With its 12 bays and 120TB capacity (we expect this to go higher with 12TB+ drives) the ReadyNAS 4312X would be an interesting option for companies looking to migrate from legacy filers such as a NetApp FAS2020, FAS2040 or FAS2220. Netgear has a solid hardware platform and a solid set of features that would allow a SMB organization to use a lower cost NAS rather than buy into a higher-end and higher-priced vendor’s entry solution.
 

Monkey God

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Agreed on Marvell. Nothing but bad experiences with them. They work fine, if you dont use them much. OH? Start transferring large amounts of data over a long period of time? BOOM.
On-board Intel has always been very solid for me.

Also not a big fan of Netgear, at least in the Wifi/router space.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Agreed on Marvell. Nothing but bad experiences with them. They work fine, if you dont use them much. OH? Start transferring large amounts of data over a long period of time? BOOM.
On-board Intel has always been very solid for me.

Also not a big fan of Netgear, at least in the Wifi/router space.

Yeah, I have no personal complaints about Intel's on board SATA controllers. They have worked for me too, I'm just used to "enterprise" solutions utilizing big brand HBA's. Their choice of storage controllers just makes it feel a little bit like Joey consumers first ZFS build.
 

Monkey God

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Their choice of storage controllers just makes it feel a little bit like Joey consumers first ZFS build.

Which would be fine - if they weren't marketing it as entry-level enterprise. I do like the UI and setup process though - looks like it would be fairly simple to get it up and running for a dev environment or something less mission critical.
 

Killroy

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I have had really good luck with the Supermicro SASLP-MV8 and SAS2LP-MV8 that are Marvell based.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I have had really good luck with the Supermicro SASLP-MV8 and SAS2LP-MV8 that are Marvell based.

Interesting. Maybe I am not 100% up to speed. All of the Supermicro boards I usually look at tend to have Intel's on chip SATA controllers and optional LSI SAS controllers.
 

schizrade

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Looks like a nice piece of gear. I am steering away from traditional SAN in my work env, but it would be a good entry point for a small business.
 

dgingeri

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Personally, I prefer full hardware RAID, like a LSI or PERC RAID controller with cache and BBU. Software RAID, while flexible, usually has horrible performance and glitches that render the redundancy useless. (I used to be excited about Microsoft's Storage Spaces, until I actually tried it out. Horrible performance and the redundancy is iffy at best. Haven't tried Linux's software RAID yet, but I'm way too discouraged with it to consider it.)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Personally, I prefer full hardware RAID, like a LSI or PERC RAID controller with cache and BBU. Software RAID, while flexible, usually has horrible performance and glitches that render the redundancy useless. (I used to be excited about Microsoft's Storage Spaces, until I actually tried it out. Horrible performance and the redundancy is iffy at best. Haven't tried Linux's software RAID yet, but I'm way too discouraged with it to consider it.)

I use ZFS for my storage. Performance is very good, but it does use a lot more RAM and CPU than a hardware raid controller would.

As far as realiability goes - however - your data is MUCH more secure on ZFS than on any hardware RAID implementation.
 
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dgingeri

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I use ZFS for my storage. Performance is very good, but it does use a lot more RAM and CPU than a hardware raid controller would.

As far as realiability goes - however - your data is MUCH more secure on ZFS than on any hardware RAID implementation.

I have a really hard time believing data is much more secure than hardware RAID 6, when speaking of reliability. From what I've read of ZFS, it has advantages, but not so much as to eclipse hardware RAID for reliability.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I have a really hard time believing data is much more secure than hardware RAID 6, when speaking of reliability. From what I've read of ZFS, it has advantages, but not so much as to eclipse hardware RAID for reliability.

My understanding (and for what it is worth, I am a layman, not a expert when it comes to parity system design) is that ZFS has several reliability advantages over traditional hardware RAID, a big one being its self healing abilities, so that flipped bits and read errors don't add up over time. It is also immune to the type of data loss hardware RAID can suffer when it comes to interrupted writes, and data transfer from cache to disk.

That being zaid, ZFS still benefits from running on top of good hardware. For mine, I use two LSI 9211-8i RAID controllers flashed into SAS HBA's by using LSI's IT mode firmware, and I am very happy with the solution. I wouldn't even consider going hardware RAID at this point. It just feels risky to me.

There are also ways you can TOTALLY screw up a ZFS pool if you don't set it up right, in which case it can be decidedly less reliable than hardware RAID. So it is setup dependent.
 
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Kelter

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I really don't see how they can be targeting legacy entry level Netapp arrays with this thing. People running Netapps probably have SOME business need to have gone with a Netapp in the first place. High Availability/Dual Controllers I would imagine is one of the big ones... not to mention the other features like Snap Mirror or FlexClone.. or even thin provisioning. As a SMB NAS in the office sure... but definitely nothing that has an SLA which is the market that Netapp is in, although for those companies that might be running legacy Netapps with a single controller, this is probably a good option.

I would have to imagine their target is SMB or dev/qa use competing with the likes of Qnap and Synology.
 

rat

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I have a really hard time believing data is much more secure than hardware RAID 6, when speaking of reliability. From what I've read of ZFS, it has advantages, but not so much as to eclipse hardware RAID for reliability.

A rebuild on Raid 6 will fail if you encounter a URE. Not so for ZFS. That alone makes ZFS lightyears ahead of Hardware Raid 6. Raid Z3 also allows for three drives worth of redundancy/parity information (Basically, Raid 7) whereas you max out with two on Raid 6 and one with Raid 5. Then you add what Zara mentions on top of that... self healing, data/raid loss immunity, etc.
 

M76

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Agreed on Marvell. Nothing but bad experiences with them. They work fine, if you dont use them much. OH? Start transferring large amounts of data over a long period of time? BOOM.
On-board Intel has always been very solid for me.

Also not a big fan of Netgear, at least in the Wifi/router space.
To be honest I only haev a good experience with intel RSTe not the regular crap that they put in consumer products.
 

westrock2000

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The advantage of hardware RAID? You can use it on Windows.

Windows doesn't allow third party filesystems, so ZFS is out.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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The advantage of hardware RAID? You can use it on Windows.

Windows doesn't allow third party filesystems, so ZFS is out.

That is very true, unless you virtualize or have a separate NAS.

Running raid on your local Windows machine isn't really what the ReadyNAS is for either, so that's not really what we are comparing here, but it is a good point.

ZFS was originally released for Solaris and has been ported first to BSD and later Linux. (Also available on OpenIndiana and OmniOS as they are Solaris based).

It would be cool if someone at some point released a Windows port. I probably wouldn't personally use it that much, but itwould be nice to be able to mount a pool on the OS of my choice for maintenance purposes.
 
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rat

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The advantage of hardware RAID? You can use it on Windows.

Windows doesn't allow third party filesystems, so ZFS is out.

Why would you want to host a raid on a Windows machine anyway? If you have a NAS (like this 2U ReadyNAS clearly is), it's self hosting, so it doesn't matter what filesystem you use when you can set up Samba/Windows Networking and access the files over the network.
 

westrock2000

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Why would you want to host a raid on a Windows machine anyway? If you have a NAS (like this 2U ReadyNAS clearly is), it's self hosting, so it doesn't matter what filesystem you use when you can set up Samba/Windows Networking and access the files over the network.

Bus speed
Full implementation of SATA protocol
Full operability with all programs

I'm more surprised that you wouldn't want a file system to be native to the operating system.

Bridges always cause issues at some point (going through a NIC, USB, or eSATA).
 
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