Netgear ReadyDATA 5200 review

The new ReadyDATA storage appliances move Netgear into the enterprise storage space. Data protection features and 10GbE performance are very good but our lab tests show its deduplication delivers modest storage savings.

Price
£5,499

Since their acquisition in 2007, ReadyNAS boxes have been Netgear's sole network storage proposition for consumers and businesses. However, they are looking dated and the limitations of their RAIDiator OS are now all too apparent to larger businesses.

The latest ReadyDATA appliances signal a sea change as these are Netgear's first appliances to ditch RAIDiator in favour of a Solaris based OS. With ZFS now providing the foundation they offers NAS and IP SAN operations, data deduplication, compression, snapshots and thin provisioning. You have copy-on-write for fast snapshots and Netgear has added support for SSD read and write caching.

A key feature is block level replication for volumes and snapshots and this uses the same hosted service and management portal as Netgear's ReadyNAS systems. The portal provides tools for job scheduling but you can only replicate with other ReadyDATA appliances.

Netgear ReadyData 5200 - Web interface

The ReadyDATA web interface is well designed and makes light work of volume creation

Hardware and expansion

As with its ReadyNAS 3200 and 4200 appliances, Netgear turns to Supermicro for the hardware. The end result is a solid but noisy partnership of 2U 12-bay storage chassis and elderly Xeon X3400 based X8SI6-F motherboard.

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Two embedded SAS 6Gbits/sec connectors are cabled directly to the drive backplane. The appliance also provides a pair of embedded Gigabit ports and a dual-port 10GbE PCI-e card.

The lack of expansion with the ReadyNAS 3200 and 4200 appliances has now been remedied. The ReadyDATA has two external SAS ports for connecting Netgear's EDA2000 and EDA4000 expansion chassis.

Netgear ReadyData 5200 - Share and LUN creation

During share and LUN creation you can decide whether to enable deduplication, compression and snapshot based continuous protection

Deployment

The main web interface is nicely designed and you start by creating volumes where you choose the drives from the front panel graphic and pick a RAID type. Deduplication and compression can be enabled when creating shares and iSCSI LUNs.

Volume expansion allows new drives in the expansion shelves to be easily added to existing RAID arrays. A smart feature is the ability to add extra drives to an array as read or write caches to improve performance.

Our review system was supplied with six SATA and four SAS hard disks plus Intel and STEC SSDs for us to play with. The latter are easy enough to add as you choose a volume and SSD and decide whether it should perform read or write caching.

Snapshots can be taken regularly and the only limit on their number is the amount of available storage. For each share and LUN you can select the continuous protection option box and go for hourly, daily or weekly snapshots.

Netgear ReadyData 5200 - Replication across ReadyDATA appliances

Replication across ReadyDATA appliances is handled by Netgear's hosted Replicate service

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