The Definitive Guide to the ReadyNAS NV+
Take a glance at the NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+, and you’ll see a small, elegant, but simplistic chassis that can proudly be displayed in any room in your home. Lift up the chrome handle on the back, and you’ll see how solidly built this little box is. Swing open the hidden front door and you see four drive trays, each of them sliding out to reveal your disk. Close the door, and you notice it shuts tightly back to the body. A press of the power button and the box comes to life with the LCD lighting up behind the mirror, welcoming you to the ReadyNAS World.
That my friend is just the surface. Find out what’s really inside the ReadyNAS NV+ and why it is without a doubt the most versatile NAS on the market today.
The importance of protected storage
With the need for storage rising with the explosion in digital content, the need for protected storage becomes more important. A simple disk failure can mean a loss of up to 1TB of data. And as anyone who has encountered a disk failure, it’s not a matter of if but when. Your whole family history captured on photos and videos can be lost at an instance. Your small business can lose important documents and customer data and at the very least cost the company with project delays, loss revenue and productivity.
The ReadyNAS NV+ provides up to 3 terabytes worth of protected storage through RAID. If you are familiar with RAID (“Redundant Array of Independent Disks”), if one disk fails, the data from the failed disk can be resurrected by the parity information kept on the surviving disks. Simply, this means that if one disk fails, your data is still intact.
NV+ comes with X-RAID
The NV+ goes actually a step further than just RAID. It uses an ingenious patent-pending technology developed by NETGEAR called X-RAID. With X-RAID, you can expand your data volume from one disk all the up to four disks while the ReadyNAS is serving up files. Not only that, once you’re near capacity with the 4-disk data volume, you can replace each disk one-by-one with larger disks, and your volume capacity grows vertically — all the while your data is still intact. And best of all, you data volume can keep growing every time larger disks become available. No other NAS in its class has this type of future-proofing concept, period.
So now that you’re convinced you need X-RAID, let’s take a look at what you can do with the NV+.
NV+ in the home
With the number of computers in an average household approaching four or more, the need to consolidate storage and backup into one device, like the ReadyNAS NV+, is a definite appeal, especially if that device can provide versatility beyond just file sharing and data protection.
In the home, the ReadyNAS NV+ is without a doubt the choice of the AV community. Not only does the NV+ provides ample protected storage for all the digital media content, it can be used to stream to all popular media streaming devices, often referred to as DMAs (“Digital Media Adapters”) without the need to have you PC or Mac powered on. The trend definitely is to use low power-consuming devices like the ReadyNAS (more on this later) in place of general-purpose power-hungry desktop systems for streaming.
This means devices like PS3, XBOX 360, Logitech Squeezebox, SONOS Digital Music System, and NETGEAR’s own EVA 8000 Digital Entertainer HD can all play media files straight from the NV+.
With the built-in BitTorrent client that allows you to queue downloads at night-time or when you’re at work, the ReadyNAS NV+ can be happily downloading your media content for your DMAs while your PC is available for other functions.
And instead of cluttering the house with a printer for each computer, you can use the built-in print sharing capability of the NV+ to share your printer(s) on your network. There’s no need to purchase a ton of expensive ink cartridges when you can now consolidate your printing to one or two printers. Just connect your printer to one of three USB ports on the NV+, and you’re set to go.
NV+ at work
The NV+ comes with 3 security levels suitable for environments ranging from a very small office environment where you may want to give everyone equal access to shares with or without password, to a slightly larger environment where you may want to restrict access to shares on a user or group-level basis, and even more-so into a larger workgroup or enterprise environment where integration into a domain authentication and active directory support is required.
In addition to the various security options, the NV+ comes with snapshot support. Consider a snapshot as an instant point-in-time image of your data, sort of like a photo taken with a camera. Regardless of the number of files or the volume of data on the ReadyNAS, a snapshot only takes a couple of seconds, and you can continue using the ReadyNAS as usual during the snapshot process. If you inadvertantly change or delete files or folders after you’ve taken a snapshot, you can always revert to the version saved in that snapshot. This can be useful if your files were infected with a virus and you needed to revert back to a good copy saved at midnight.
A snapshot can also be scheduled to coincide with your backups. Typical backups can take hours, so a backup of a snapshot insures that you’re making a backup of something that won’t be changing during the backup process.
On the subject of backup, the ReadyNAS comes with a built-in backup manager supporting a variety of file protocols, including CIFS, NFS, HTTP, FTP, and RSYNC. And because the backup manager runs right on the ReadyNAS, you don’t need a separate backup client running during the time of the backup.
It’s no wonder the ReadyNAS is well-suited in business environments. In fact, you can take a look at several case studies on how the ReadyNAS is used in small businesses here.
NV+ perfect for both Home and Work
As you can see, the ReadyNAS NV+ is equally useful in both Home and Office environments. It’s no wonder PC World awarded the NV+ 8th in the Top 100 Product of 2007.
The ReadyNAS NV+ feature set is driven by the common RAIDiator firmware that is used across all ReadyNAS products. RAIDiator provides a myriad of features not found in other network storage devices in its class. Let’s go through some of the prominent ones.
There’s really no need to understand RAID on a ReadyNAS. The NV+ comes pre-configured with X-RAID, NETGEAR’s exclusive patent-pending expandable RAID technology. With X-RAID, there’s no RAID management — it’s all automatic!
For instance, let’s say you started out with one disk and you treat the ReadyNAS as secondary storage for backups. If one day, you want to make the ReadyNAS a primary storage, it’s prudent to make the storage protected. To do this, you simply secure a 2nd disk with 4 screws to the hot-swappable disk tray and insert the tray while the system is still running (you can do this while the system is powered off if you want). Your data on the first disk will automatically mirror to the 2nd disk in the background while the ReadyNAS is still available for access on your network.
Now if you’re close to reaching the capacity on your ReadyNAS, just add another disk, similar to how you add the 2nd disk, and your volume expands on the fly, giving twice the original capacity. And again, if you add a 4th disk, your ReadyNAS will triple in capacity, all while maintaining protection from a disk failure.
That’s not all with X-RAID. If you find that you’re close to capacity on the four disks, just replace each disk one by one, allowing it to sync along the way, and when the 4th disk is replaced, just reboot the ReadyNAS to expand the data volume to the capacity of the four new disks.
The ReadyNAS can stream music, video, and photos to just about any popular network-capable media streaming device without the need to turn on your PC or Mac. Just drag & drop your media files to the ReadyNAS and play them on your streaming device, whether it’s a Playstation 3, XBOX 360, NETGEAR’s own EVA 8000, or pretty much any DLNA-compliant device.
Small wireless music streamers have also become popular in the home, and the ReadyNAS can be central to serving music files to these devices. The Logitech Squeezebox™, SONOS® Digital Music System, and the Roku SoundBridge are just some of the players supported by the ReadyNAS right out of the box.
As more and more of these thin devices start showing up, there’s no denying that the ReadyNAS can be at the center of your streaming solution. There’s simply no other device out there that is more flexible for media streaming, period.
Music Sharing with Apple iTunes® Server
With the built-in Apple iTunes 7.0 server, the ReadyNAS can be used as a large shared jukebox. With the iTunes service enabled, iPods, iPhones, and PCs or Macs running the iTunes client can access the shared music library stored on the ReadyNAS.
Photo sharing just got a lot more convenient. With ReadyNAS Photos, simply connect your camera to automatically upload your pictures to the NV+, and you can quickly create albums that you can share straight from the ReadyNAS.
Your friends and family will get a cool postcard in the email and all they need to do is click on the link to see the slideshow or the albums you’ve shared to them.
Best of all, there’s no complicated router setup and no slow uploading of your files to a remote photo server. In fact, unlike commercial photo servers, your family and friends can download the original image that they can print in full resolution directly on their printers. Find out more about ReadyNAS Photos here.
Built-in BitTorrent™ client
The officially licensed BitTorrent client can really make use of the disk space provided by the ReadyNAS. And because it is a stand-alone client, there’s no need to keep your computer on during the download. Just queue the torrents on the ReadyNAS and let it do it’s job in the background.
Best of all, queuing of the torrents can be done over the web from a slower wireless laptop, but the actual downloading is done on the ReadyNAS which is usually resides on a faster wired connection to Internet.
Unique Add-ons expands the ReadyNAS further
The ReadyNAS family has a unique add-on capability that can expand on the current feature set. ReadyNAS Photos and the BitTorrent are just two examples of add-ons currently available. Future add-ons from NETGEAR and NETGEAR partners are sure to keep your ReadyNAS on the cutting edge.
Network Recycle Bin
Windows users used to the Recycle Bin on their PC will love the Recycle Bin on the ReadyNAS. If you’ve ever inadvertantly deleted a file, you would know the anxiety of trying to find out if you have a backup somewhere. With the Recycle Bin option on the ReadyNAS, have no fear, because your deleted file will reside in the Recycle Bin of your ReadyNAS share.
If you’re looking to centralize your backups, the ReadyNAS also has a built-in web-based Frontview Backup Manager. From there, you have the option of scheduling backups to or from the ReadyNAS shares. You can opt to backup from a remote site over CIFS, NFS, FTP, HTTP, or RSYNC protocols, or vice versa — backup the ReadyNAS share to a remote site over CIFS, NFS, FTP, or RSYNC. You can even perform backups to an attached USB storage device. The flexibility allows the ReadyNAS to be used to backup all the computers on the network or backup a ReadyNAS to another ReadyNAS on a fixed schedule.
Programmable Backup Button
If you think we’re obsessed about backups, you might be right. Another option for backups is through the use of the backup button on the front of the ReadyNAS. By default, pressing the button will backup your backup share on the ReadyNAS to the attached USB storage device next to the button.
If you prefer, you can assign any or all of the backup jobs to the Backup Button. If you press the button, all jobs assigned to the button will run sequentially.
Alerts let you know what’s going on
Your data is important and you need to be aware of any anomaly on the ReadyNAS. Rest assure that the email alert system is designed to let you know of urgent conditions. You will be notified when a disk fails, when a disk overheats, when disks start to encounter warning signs of failure, when a fan fails, when a user or group reaches disk quota, and when your volume is near capacity. It’ll even alert you in case the attached UPS is on battery.
We feel a mark of a good device is not only how it handles ideal condition but more importantly how it handles non-ideal conditions.
Easy disk replacement eases the stress of a disk failure
Disk failure is inevitable and if you’ve been using computers for any length of time, you know it’s not a matter of if but when. So when that time comes, you certainly don’t want to have to fumble your way through trying to disassembling your device. With the NV+, simply press on the latch to release the disk tray, remove 4 screws that attaches the disk to the tray, replace with a new disk, and insert the disk back into the chassis, all while the unit is powered off or on.
Integrated with smart UPS monitoring
Ever wonder what would happen when the power goes out for a little too long and the UPS battery is exhausted? With the ReadyNAS, it constantly monitors the UPS battery level and sends alerts whenever there’s a power outage and the UPS power takes over. When the battery runs low, the ReadyNAS shuts down gracefully, avoiding any file corruption caused by unwritten cached data. Best of all, use a UPS specified in the ReadyNAS compatibility list, and all you have to do is connect the USB monitoring cable to the ReadyNAS and everything is taken care of automatically.
Definite advantages to file system journaling
The ReadyNAS journal each write to the data volume, keeping track of where the last writes occurred. What does this do? In case of an unplanned power outage, the ReadyNAS is able to quickly figure out where the last writes occurred and able to bring the volume back online in a matter of seconds. Without journaling, it can take hours depending on how full the volume is.
Shutdown on disk failure
The ReadyNAS is designed to keep running in the event of a disk failure. However, you do have an option to automatically shutdown the box in case a failure is detected. Just another peace-of-mind feature to prevent the ReadyNAS from encountering a second failure until the failed disk can be replaced.
Quotas on disk usage
The ReadyNAS supports disk quotas on a per-user or per-group basis. Even with a terabyte of storage, kids (and maybe some adults) may fill it quickly with downloaded games or videos. The quota system allows you to specify how much space a user or a group of users are allowed to create on the ReadyNAS, and the guilty party and the ReadyNAS admin will be duly notified of any violation.
Convenient online upgrades
The ReadyNAS comes integrated with an easy online upgrade feature. There’s no need to download a firmware image from a website and manually uploading it to the device. Just go to the Remote Update page in Frontview, click to check if there’s an available update, and click a 2nd time to perform the upgrade. That’s it!
Add to that the option to automatically download any new upgrades, and all you need to do is reboot the ReadyNAS at your convenience to get the latest new features and bug fixes.
ReadyNAS speaks six languages
That’s 4 more than what most of us speak! All you need to do is set your browser to one of the supported languages (English, Japanese, French, German, Chinese/Mandarin, or Korean), and the FrontView web-based management system will display in that language.
Mac users love the ReadyNAS
Unlike other NAS that support Macs through a Windows SMB/CIFS protocol, the ReadyNAS supports the protocol that works best with Macs — AFP. With AFP, non-standard characters in filenames are not a problem, and resource information that would cause problems over SMB is not an issue. And if that wasn’t enough, take a look at the Performance section and see how we’ve tweaked the ReadyNAS to where the Mac performance over AFP is super fast.
You never know who might be sniffing network packets, even behind the firewall. Rest assured that all logins to the ReadyNAS are encrypted whenever possible, including the login to the FrontView Setup Wizard and Advanced Control management system.
With so much data on the ReadyNAS, it’s certainly desirable to access that data remotely. The ReadyNAS allows this via FTP and HTTP, and the more secure and SSL encrypted form via FTPS and HTTPS, with appropriate port forwarding on your router. Simply use your favorite FTP/S client to connect to the ReadyNAS FTP server, or use your browser to access the built-in Web File Manager via HTTP/S.
In addition, the ReadyNAS supports WebDAV, allowing drag & drop file explorer support over LAN or WAN. A simple tutorial on how to do this can be found here.
Low power consumption
It’s nice to see a lot of companies start thinking about making their products green. It’s now the “in” thing to do. Well, the ReadyNAS product line has always been green even before there was a push by regulations and consumer demand.
The ReadyNAS NV+ takes it a step further. For instance, in an idle state, the NV+ with one disk consumes 31W and with four disks consumes 54W of power, less than your typical incandescent light bulb. It’ll take a few more watts when there is disk activity. In disk spin-down mode, the NV+ consumes only 29W.
Furthermore, if you use the automatic power-on scheduler, you’ll save even more. For instance, if you plan on accessing the ReadyNAS only during an 8-hour window each day, your average usage of the box can be as low as a third of the 29W, or around 10W. All without compromising on performance.
Now, that sure beats running a PC, a monitor, keyboard and mouse at around 100W or more 24/7.
And on the subject of performance, the ReadyNAS team is passionate about squeezing the last megabyte per second out of every ReadyNAS. Let’s take a look at how the NV+ stacks up.
There are two tests that we use to measure performance on the Windows platform:
IOMeter using 256 KB sequential block reads and writes on a 3 GB test file, and
Drag & Drop of a 3 GB file over CIFS, Windows default network protocol.
The tests are run on Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Vista Home Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1). [Note: Vista SP1 is highly recommended as it fixes major performance problems with remote share access.] A test file of 3 GB is used to overcome any advantages due to client caching.
On the Mac, IOMeter is not available, so we’ll use:
Drag & Drop test of a 3 GB file over AFP. Mac users tend to prefer accessing the ReadyNAS over AFP as it provides better support for non-standard characters in filenames and the ability to maintain Mac-specific resource information.
We will show the results in two performance settings — the default (conservative) mode, and the optimal performance mode. Optimal mode consists of making the following changes in FrontView:
1. Select Disable journaling option in the System/Performance page.
2. Select Enable Jumbo Frames option in the Network/Ethernet page.
You’ll need to reboot the ReadyNAS after making the changes. These changes will provide the fastest performance possible on the ReadyNAS.
4 – Seagate ST31000340AS 1TB hard disks, 32 MB cache
Intel Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz
1 GB Memory
Windows XP Pro, Service Pack 2
Intel Pro/1000 MT GigE, Jumbo frame 9014 bytes
Intel Pentium Core™ 2 Duo, 2.13 GHz
2 GB Memory
Windows Vista Home Edition, Service Pack 1
Intel Pro/1000 MT GigE, Jumbo frame 9014 bytes
Apple Power Mac G5, 667 MHz
1 GB Memory
OS X 10.5.2
Onboard GigE, Jumbo frame 7936 bytes
Switch: NETGEAR GS724TP
Router: NETGEAR WNR854T
Drag & Drop Results
Microsoft® Windows® Vista™, XP Home or Pro (SP1 or SP2), 2000 (SP4), Macintosh® OS-X, Linux®
Router and Broadband connection required for remote access features
Web Browsers Supported
Microsoft® Internet Explorer™ 6.0+
Netscape® Navigator™ 7.0+
Mozilla Firefox® 1.03+
ReadyNAS™ NV+ Network Attached Storage Device
IT3107 Network Storage Processor
Four (4) Serial ATA channels
Compatible with SATA and SATA II HDD
NETGEAR Auto-Expandable X-RAID™
Hot swappable and lockable trays
Three (3) USB 2.0 ports
256 MB PC2700 DDR-SDRAM SO-DIMM
Embedded 64 MB Flash Memory for OS
Supports Windows, Mac, Linux/UNIX clients
DHCP server and print server
Setup Wizard and easy browser-based interface
NETGEAR Auto-Expandable X-RAID™
Journaled file system
User, group, and share-level quotas
Network File Services
CIFS/SMB for Microsoft® Windows®
AFP 3.1 for Macintosh® OS 9 and OS X
NFS v2/v3 for Linux® and UNIX®
HTTP and HTTPS for web browsers
FTP and FTPS support
DLNA Compatible UPnP AV
SONOS Digital Music Center
Network DVD player compatible
Windows MCE compatible
Sony Playstation 3
Microsoft XBOX 360
Selectable Share, User, or Domain/ADS modes
Encrypted network logins
Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
DHCP or static IP
Email alerts and event logs
Optional shell access
Integrated Backup Manager
Programmable backup button
Backup to/from CIFS/NFS/FTP/HTTP/RSYNC
Backup to/from USB disks
Bundled backup software:
- 3-Client Memeo Backup Premium for Windows
- 3-Client Memeo Backup for Mac for OS X
USB Device Support
USB HDD and flash drives
UPS monitoring and auto shutdown
Management UI: English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Korean
File Name: Unicode
Fanless server-rated AC power supply
Input: 100-240 VAC, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 54 W typical with 4 x 500GB disks
Power saving mode
92 mm ball-bearing chassis cooling fan
Fan failure alert
High temperature email alert with auto-shutdown option
0° to 40° C (32° to 104° F)
20% to 80% Humidity (non-condensing)
FCC, UL, CE, C-tick, IC, RoHS compliance
Kensington® Lock Security Hole
Easy carry handle
Dimension (H x W x D): 200 x 132 x 222 mm (7.9 x 5.2 x 8.7 in)
Weight: 4.6 kg (10 lb), without hard disks
Optional Spare Parts
Lockable disk tray
92mm chassis fan
AC power supply
Four (4) hard disk trays
Quick installation guide
ReadyNAS™ Installation CD
- RAIDar™ Discovery Utility
- 3-Client Memeo Backup Premium for Windows
- 3-Client Memeo Backup for Mac for OS X
Warranty and Support
The ReadyNAS NV+ is covered by a class-leading 3-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship.
24/7 phone support is available via 888-NETGEAR and International Numbers. Online support is available on the ReadyNAS Community forum at www.readynas.com/forum and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found at www.readynas.com/forum/faq.php. Please visit www.readynas.com for links to these sites along with insightful articles and how-to’s for the ReadyNAS.