Netgear's ReadyNAS lineup was updated towards the end of last year with some units based on the Annapurna Labs ARM-based SoCs. This year, Netgear is targeting SMBs, creative professionals and SMEs with a new set of desktop and rackmount units based on high-end Intel SoCs and CPUs. All of the new units run ReadyNAS OS 6 - the first COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) NAS operating system to come with support for the btrfs file system.

At IFA 2016, Netgear is launching two new desktop models and two new rackmounts. All of the models, except for one of the rackmounts, come with native 10G capabilities. This goes well with the host of affordable 10G switches that Netgear has launched over the last couple of years. The desktop models are the most interesting from a platform viewpoint - the ReadyNAS 526X uses the Intel Pentium D-1508 2C/4T processor that comes under the Xeon-D 1500 lineup, and the ReadyNAS 626X uses the Intel Xeon D-1521 4C/8T processor. To our knowledge, these are the first COTS NAS units to use these Broadwell-DE (Xeon-D 1500) SoCs. The two units join the ReadyNAS 300 series units as part of Netgear's x86 ReadyNAS lineup. The important specifications of the two new units and how they compare with the other x86 units are provided below.

On the rackmount side, Netgear has opted for the Skylake Xeons. The new units have 12 bays and come with quad 1G LAN ports. All of them have two mini-SAS ports for storage expansion. The ReadyNAS 3312 doesn't have any 10G ports, while the ReadyNAS 4312 has two. The 4312S has two optical SFP+ 10G interfaces, while the 4312X has two 10GBase-T ports.

The only disappointing aspect is that the rackmount units don't come with support for SAS drives.

In terms of software features, the btrfs implementation allows Netgear to enable seamless snapshotting capabilities and also offer bitrot protection. There are some value additions in the form of ReadyDR (disaster recovery) that allows block-level backup to / restore from another ReadyNAS unit in the LAN. Netgear also has the ReadyCLOUD service for seamless VPN access and private cloud capabilities.

All the NAS models are available today. The diskless desktop versions come in at $1400 and $1800 for the RN526X and RN626X respectively. The diskless rackmounts are priced at $3000 (RN3312), $4200 (RN4312S) and $4400 (RN4312X).

Netgear's decision to go with the Xeon-D SoC lineup has enabled them to create more efficient units (in terms of hardware) compared to the competition. The ReadyNAS OS 6 features are also in the process of getting tuned with customer feedback. Most important business requirements are already implemented, but competitors have a huge advantage, thanks to third-party apps. Features such as native virtualization (host OS capabilities) and containers (Docker) support enable the competitors' units to fully utilize all the available CPU cycles (once the core requirements related to file serving are met). The same can't be said of Netgear's current version of the ReadyNAS OS. However, for SMBs / SMEs with well-defined requirements / workloads, the new 10G-enabled ReadyNAS units definitely merit consideration, thanks to a combination of attractive pricing and possible reseller-dependent deals involving bundled 10G switches.

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  • drajitshnew - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    there is a new patch of the btrfs file system that allows multiple parity raid. I believe it is NOT compatible with the traditional raid 5 on btrfs. Do the net gear systems support that?
  • ganeshts - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    I will check with Netgear, but, my guess is that it doesn't matter to them. They have taken btrfs and wrapped around their own X-RAID system on it. The upside is that they are insulated from patches like these that might break traditional systems. The downside is that not all btrfs features are available on these ReadyNAS systems.
  • mdgm - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    We use mdadm RAID. You can easily see this looking at any of our OS6 units or looking at the VM.

    BTRFS RAID has had it's problems and to the best of my knowledge we have never used it.

    We use mdadm for the RAID with the BTRFS filesystem on top. The best RAID (mdadm) + the best filesystem (BTRFS) for Linux.
  • drajitshnew - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    Is raid 6 bootable on these models? or do you
    have to keep a separate boot volume.
    Further, while I understand dual parity being sufficient for 6 bay systems, it would be nice to have triple parity on 12 bay + systems
  • mdgm - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    The OS uses RAID-1. The OS volume is 4GB. This volume also contains the config and logs so it's important that we can read what's on it in as many cases as possible.

    On systems with four disks or more installed we use RAID-6 for swap and you are able to use it for the data volume if you wish.

    You can create multiple volumes if you want to e.g. two 6 disk RAID-6 volumes rather than one 12 disk RAID-6 volume.
  • noeldillabough - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    I'm behind the times on 10Gbit networking...the prices were so high that it just wasn't practical however they're starting to come down enough. Will 10Gbit work over Cat6 cable? Can I connect them to a 1Gbit network for legacy devices? Back when I switched from 10 to 100 and then 100 to 1000 it was a huge boost but I'm not sure about 1000 - 10G...
  • ganeshts - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    Yes, 10GBase-T is backward compatible with 1G. I have myself connected 10GBase-T ports on a server to a standard consumer router - like in the review here : : No issues with operation.

    You can get a 10GBASE-T-equipped NAS or server and migrate to a 10G switch at a later point in time.
  • mdgm - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    It is backwards compatible with 1Gbit (1000Mbit), but not any slower ports. We expect very few would buy a business class NAS with 10G ports only to plug it into a 100Mbit switch that models over 10 years old would saturate. That would make little sense.

    RN626X and the rackmounts have 1G ports as well as 10G ports
  • mdgm - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    So the RN626X and rackmounts can be connected to slower switch ports but only using the 1G ports on the NAS units.
  • GraffitiKnight - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    "the first COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) NAS operating system to come with support for the btrfs file system"

    Synology added btrfs support with DSM 6.0, which was released in Beta last year and final in March.

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