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Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS Server
Closer Look: ReadyNAS NV v2
Insider Details: ReadyNAS NV v2
Technology Details: ReadyNAS NV v2
NETGEAR ReadyNAS Features
Hardware Specifications
Software Specifications
NAS Setup and Usage
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
RAID 5 Test Results
Intel NASPT Test Results
Non-Traditional NAS Results
NAS Server Final Thoughts
ReadyNAS NV v2 Conclusion

Insider Details: ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS Server

The insides of these things are always more interesting than the outsides, at least to me. My first look inside is the drive bay, with three drive trays removed. The sturdy printed circuit board that acts as a backplane has lots of ventilation holes and a fair number of screws holding it in place. Both are indicative of good design, and probably lessons learned along the way. Inserting and removing the drive trays was smooth and positive, both with HDDs mounted in the trays and without. The smooth surfaces and heavy plating on the metal parts was a helpful factor, I'm sure. The latches acted like a locking lever; once the trays reached the end of their travel, swinging the latch down levered the tray into firm contact. All in all, a nice, sturdy, well designed system for getting the drives in and out. Not that you want to take them out very often, maybe just for spring cleaning once a year!

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV_v2_Front_Open_03.jpg

Once you take a screwdriver to the chassis, it comes apart in several smaller pieces. Each of the sides, the top and the bottom has their own panel. In addition to their decorative function, they each add some portion of rigidity to the overall structure. All the panels are steel, so there's very little flexing going on, once everything is bolted together tightly. The rear panel comes off with the cooling fan attached, a 92mm unit that's 25mm thick, branded MAGIC, and spins at approximately 3500 RPM when it gets full voltage. Specs were hard to come by, so that's just an estimate, but judging from the fan speed display on the ReadyNAS Dashboard S/W, its close. At idle, the Dashboard utility indicated a fan speed of ~1100 RPM, with the drives running at temperatures ranging from 40C - 42C.

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV_v2_All_The_Parts_01.jpg

The main controller PC board is firmly attached to a steel tray of its own, and it slides into the chassis at the very top of the unit. The tray is not held in place by screws, but is captured by the mating panels which leave it with no room to move. The upper and lower drive bay guides are held in place by a number of rivets, ensuring that the inner frame is quite stiff and dimensionally stable. Honestly, this thing is built like a brick, mechanically at least. I can see a large number of areas where it would have been very easy to reduce costs in the mechanical package. I don't know what the original ReadyNAS NV+ looked like, but I'm betting it was built pretty much the same. In today's economy, it would have been too tempting to cut a few dozen corners on a new design, particularly for a product that's not geared toward a data center environment.

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV_v2_Control_PCB_Slide_Tray_01.jpg

The main controller board and backplane connect with a PCI Express connector located toward the rear of the controller card, between the CPU heatsink and the stacked I/O connector. A couple of construction details to notice: the grounding pads on the backplane that mate up with the chassis mounting points, the lack of any active components on the backplane, and the use of a separate PC board for the front panel controls. The heatsink is a very meager affair, and it serves two chips, the Marvell 88F6282 CPU and the Marvell 88SM4140 SATA port multiplier. These two chips do the bulk of the work for this device; the only other chips that are stressed are the memory and the Ethernet controller. I suppose the USB 3.0 chip could get a workout, but only if you have an external drive with an SSD attached to it. Anything else wouldn't put too much strain on it.

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV_v2_Two_Boards_01.jpg

The limited cooling required for the two hardest working chips on the controller board is made even more obvious once you remove the heatsink and see the type of thermal interface materials in use. The CPU is thermally connected to the heatsink with that hard, plasticky material that we used to see on low-end video cards in the '80s and '90s. At least the assembly process and the viscosity of the material worked together to produce a thin interface layer. That's better than a 1mm thick layer of the good stuff, perhaps. The port multiplier gets a silicone pad, partly due to the need to make up the height difference between the two chips. Neither chip is working too hard, apparently. We'll see the result of their work ethic once we start testing throughput of the entire NAS. The CPU is readily available in 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 GHz versions, and I do wonder how much the cost is reduced by using the slowest version of the chip.

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV_v2_Heatsink_01.jpg

Speaking of cooling - I know I mentioned the fan before, but here it is mounted to the rear panel with the traditional, stubby, thread-forming screws that 90% of PC case fans are fastened with. It's a standard 92mm case fan, with 3-wire tachometer control and is heavily modulated by the controller card. The foam and mesh composite shielding gasket surrounds the USB 3.0 and RJ-45 Ethernet connectors. That's where the high speed data path is, and it looks well protected from RFI. Good grounding practices were also in evidence throughout the construction of the rest of the chassis. Even though I didn't point them out in every image, most of them contain at least one feature that was put there specifically to improve grounding paths and to create a stable RF shield around the entire package.

NETGEAR_ReadyNAS_NV+_v2_Fan_Detail_01.jpg

So far we've had a good look at what there is to observe as far as hardware goes, but let's dig down one more layer, down to the chip level where the technology really starts to get interesting. I love my shiny hardware just as much as the next person, but it's only half the story....



 

Comments 

 
# CFOWade Eilrich 2012-08-07 09:32
Not having the drive trays labeled is a major annoyance as are the restrictive controller specifications, not being able to upgrade or expand the NIC capabilities, and not having a hot-spare available for fail-over.

I've found that using an older computer, one of several Linux distros, a cheap Promise raid array card, and a couple of 1G NICs bridged in my favorite mode yield a much improved performance over the ReadyNAS at a similar price.
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# Viva la Difference....Bruce 2012-08-07 10:01
The DIY option is definitely a valid one, but not everyone wants to go down that road. As I said in the review: I have enough parts lying around to do it, but the fact is, I haven't. I honestly believe there's value in the dedicated NAS form factor, primarily because I really just want to treat it as an appliance.....etc.

Everyone has their own priorities. At one point I owned both a Honda Civic and an older Porsche 911. Did I enjoy the high maintenance costs for the 911? NO. Did I enjoy the unmistakeable driving experience? YES!!! The exact opposite goes for the Honda....it was an appliance. I was lucky to have the best of both worlds, at the same time.

BTW, the NAS in daily use on my home network is a Marvell-based unit, and the performance is more than adequate in that context.
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# Choix c'est bonWade Eilrich 2012-08-07 12:06
My first DIY NAS used the Linux FreeNAS OS and a software RAID 5, but I the performance, even using SATA 1TB drives (and 4GB of RAM) was not what I expected. A dedicated solution, such as one that uses the Marvell controller you mentioned, is much superior and has the added advantage of being a simple-to-use appliance. Marvell and Tuxera announced, earlier this year, a strategic alliance and Netgear was quick to implement solutions using their technology in the ReadyNAS line. A high-availability NAS is a permanent part of my network, both at home and work. Coupled with a reasonable backup strategy, downtime is minimal.
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# Looks like a decent unitMergatroid 2012-08-07 16:23
I am amazed at the transfer rates on this unit. I mighty pick on up in the future. Currently I am using a ReadyNAS Duo and it's a little slow. I'm under the impression that this is from the speed of the CPU they used.

I went with a ReadyNAS because I didn't want another computer with it's associated keyboard/mouse/monitor and all the cables. I wanted a nice little box sitting in the corner of one desk. I also got a great FTP site without having to dig around for FTP software and set it up (configuring the ReadyNAS is pretty easy, even for a noob like me). So I can access my NAS from anywhere, and it's a great media server for my PS3 and our WiFi tablets. A PC as a NAS may out perform it, but it's nowhere near as convenient.
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# Duo's good......Bruce 2012-08-07 16:38
What drive setup are you using on your ReadyNAS Duo? I totally agree with you about ease of setup and ease of use for these Netgear products. Their extensive home networking experience really shows.
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# RAID 1Mergatroid 2012-08-07 19:07
It's using 2 x 2TB Seagate "Green" drives in Raid 1. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. I also have a WD "MyBook" (or whatever it's called) single drive NAS. I've had it for a few years now and so far it's been reliable, but it's dead slow. Funny enough, both manufacturers go out of their way to advertise "Gigabit" connections, but the WD is fast as lightening if it ever gets close to 10MB/s, while I'm lucky if I'm reading a long file from the ReadyNAS and I get 43MB/s. It only writes at about 18MB/s, but I hear that may partially be due to the RAID 1.
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# RE: RAID 1mdgm 2012-08-17 18:38
Mergatroid your speeds are to be expected with the Duo (v1 - Sparc).

The Duo/NV+ v2 are very, very different. They use a Marvell ARM processor and due to the different CPU architecture have different firmware as well. The ARM CPU is much faster than the Infrant Sparc CPU in your Duo.
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# Partly RAID 1, and.....Bruce 2012-08-07 19:54
Partly the 5400 RPM drives that are in there. I've done all my NAS testing with 7200 RPM drives, which may not match up with everyone's idea of a suitable long-term storage device. Problem is, I don't have anything slower in the house. I have 7200; 10,000; and 15,000 RPM units here, not a single 5400 RPM drive. Even the 2.5" HDDs that I own are 7200 RPM (not counting the Velociraptors...)
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# RE: Partly RAID 1, and.....Olin Coles 2012-08-07 20:02
I consider 7200 RPM to represent the current standard rotational speed for hard disk drive storage, so your components match the most common user profile.
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# RE: NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS ServerSkarp 2012-10-11 07:24
Hi

Sorry for a couple of noobish questions.I read the review but admittedly don't understand much of it. I have 2x 3TB drives I wish to use in a box like this for RAID 1 Mirroring. Will the full 3 tb be accessible to a 32bit XP machine? Will I be able to connect with usb 2.0 or will I get better throughput with the Intel(R) PRO/1000 MTW Network Connection.

It's a old machine but I really don't wanna replace if for a year or so as I have an i5 laptop for heavy processing and a superior desktop is unaffordable. I'm thinking 150 spent on a NAS will still have practical value in 3 years time whereas a used PC will look no better than this one. Thanks for any help.
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# Less expensive unitMergatroid 2012-10-11 16:06
In your situation I would suggest a ReadyNAS Duo like I have. You can access the entire thing from Windows XP because the NAS has it's own little computer taking care of all the formatting issues.

NAS is Network Attached Storage, so you will be connecting it through your network, not USB. This will allow you to access it from both your laptop and your desktop assuming you have either a router or a hub on your network to plug it into. If the unit you select has a USB port, it's most likely for plugging in a printer or a USB hard drive for more added storage.

There are many great NAS solutions you could chose. You can't go wrong with Netgear products, but I've heard some decent things about some of the newer d-link NASs like the ShareCenter. All of them can be a bit of a chore to figure out. They all use local webpages to configure them through your network. Personally I would recommend staying away from the Western Digital (WD) "MyBooks". I have one here and it's dead slow, and you can't replace the drive in it.

I'm also using a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo, which you can get for under $200 and it works great. Note you will have to purchase hard drives to install in it as it's just an enclosure.
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# Good advice from MergatroidBruce 2012-10-11 19:31
If you already have a pair of 3TB drives, the ReadyNAS Duo will work for you. The thing you ARE giving up is future expansion, to larger RAID volumes and higher level RAID configurations like RAID 5. It all depends on if you are comfortable that 3TB of storage space will hold you for the next several years, and if you want to spend the addditional $$ to get a 4-bay NAS to allow for possible expansion. These are questions only YOU can answer. I think you hit the nail on the head (sorry for the American eexpression...), by separating out the value of storage v. the value of your PC. Storage is something you will always need (unless you go into the cloud), and it's worthwhile investing in a solid solution that will serve you for a good period of time. How long that time is, is a personal question, as I said above.
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# RE: NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS Serverskarp 2012-10-12 11:06
thanks for the advice Mergatroid and Bruce. 3TB is the minimum storage I require and I'll be looking to add additional drives asap. The extra cost of 4 vs 2 bays is only 50% more. The cost of per TB storage will halve also with only one extra drive.
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# Then the 4 bay enclosure is for you.Mergatroid 2012-10-12 17:09
Then by all means the 4 bay solution is a good fit for you. I'm not super experienced at NASs, having only owned two of them, but I do like how easy it was to set up the ReadyNAS, and I love the FTP software it came with so you can set up your own FTP site for access over the Internet. Very handy. It's also effortless to get it to work as a media server for PS3, XBox, Tablets and phones using WiFi and LAN. It was just a matter of checking one little box and it just worked. I love streaming movies from my ReadyNAS to my Galaxy Tab 10.1 over WiFi.

You may want to poke around here a little more too as they have reviewed other NAS-like products that are pretty cool and allow you to RAID over the network. Some of them will work on both LAN and USB, which is pretty sweet. I haven't tried them myself, but they got decent reviews.
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# RE: NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS ServerSkarp 2012-10-12 17:49
Thanks. I've had a look around but tbh I'm pretty skint and this seems the cheapest option with long term practical value - it's less than 150 quid in the UK and I had thought all NAS stuff was out of reach. I only get looking at this cos a 80 quid Oreco dual drive bay thingy didn't cut the mustard. Netgear seem to support it well and there's a 3 year warranty. I need reliability and capacity more than speed so this seems to fit the bill.
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# Do I have to reboot my ReadyNas NV+ v2 to get RAID 1Kelly 2012-10-25 05:51
Hi All

I am a complete novice but when my partner's machine crashed and as my Maxtor drive (160g) is now full I needed some reliable storage. I looked into things and went for the Netgear particularly because I wanted the Media streaming and storage capability of a NAS with a mirrored back up. I got a 4 bay for expansion downstream but for years I expect 2T of data will be loads for us. I got 2 x 2T WD Red's and have synchronised them but now it seems I can't change the RAID option now. I never caught where to do it in set up but do I now need to do a factory reboot which wipes the disks and reformats them to be able to get a RAID 1 set up? I think this is also called FLEX? Also the write speed seems incredibly slow. I think my router (BT Home Hub 3) may be the problem I have BT infinity and would have thought this meant stuff would fly over the network - but maybe not? Will that mean I can't stream from the NAS to the rest of my devices. Since the NAS install there does seem to be having a significant impact on the speed of all the devices in the house.All advice greatly appreciately thx Kelly
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# HmmmmmBruce 2012-10-27 19:46
What drive configuration do you have now? I recommend setting up the unit with X-RAID2 at the beginnning. If you specified FLEX at the initial setup, you may have to wipe the entire contents of the disks in order to create the RAID 1 volume. You HAVE TO chhoese either X-RAID2 or FLEX during setup, you can't use both, or switch without going through a ground-up setup process again.

With the X-RAID2 software that Netgear created, you can go from a single disk or JBOD directly to a RAID volume without reformatting the disks. Even if you started with FLEX, though, you can use the FLEX Software to set up RAID 0,1, or 5. The only problem is you can't migrate between them with that re-format step. That's why I recommend the X-RAID2, especially if you are starting out with two drives and plan to expand later. Take a look here: #readynas.com/?p=656

As for the speed issues, it could be your router, I guess. I'm thinking that "BT" means British Telecom. I'm in the states, so I don't know much about their products, services, or hardware. I have never experienced any negative effects on the network as a whole by installing any NAS device on the network. In fact,I've had three NAS units from three different vendors running on the same network, all at once, and didn't have any issues. So, I'm having a hard time understanding how the NAS would slow down other devices (computers) on the network.

Map one of the folders on the NAS as a network drive (Right click on the folder in Windows explorer...) and then run the ATTO drive benchmark on it. Compare that to the one I did in this review.
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# Should be....Bruce 2012-10-27 19:48
...can't migrate between them WITHOUT that re-format step.
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# getting data onboardSkarp 2012-10-28 19:29
Ok. I've ordered the ReadyNas NV+ v2. I have 2 3tb drives to go in it. Both have the same data on them. If I put one it I assume I lose the data on it yes? If so then I need a way to transfer the data from my second drive to the NAS prior to adding the second drive to the NAS? Now as mentioned I have no PC capable of running the 3TB drive internally so I'm thinking I'll need a 3TB drive enclosure to connect directly to the NAS via USB for the transfer. If I can't connect directly I think my laptop can manage the transfer. I am right about this stuff? Thanks for your continued assistance :)
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# One More Drive....Bruce 2012-10-29 10:37
Every drive you put in will have its data erased, the first, the second, the third, etc. Check the online HW and SW manuals for a possible exception, but I don't think there is one.

BTW, What do you mean when you say "Both drives have the same data on them."? Were they in a RIAD1 setup? Are they two separate backups of your data? Is one your primary storage, and the other the backup for the primary drive? How did they get the same data on them, and how much data (..GB..) is on them?

You will need to get one more 3TB drive that doesn't need to have its data retained. Put that in first, format it, and copy one of your exisiting 3TB drives over to it via that USB drive enclosure. Then put that drive in, and create a linear volume or a RAID0 volume. Then copy the data from your second drive over. Then install that drive and use the X-RAID2 software to migrate the volume over to RAID5.
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# thanks BruceSkarp 2012-10-29 11:04
thanks for info. One drive was cloned from the other - each has about 2TB of data on them. I was fairly sure I'd lose whatever data that was on a drive I put into the NAS I just wasn't sure if the NAS would read from an external drive to transfer the data to the NAS. Once done the external can go into the NAS. Looks like I just need an enclosure right now and I wait for the price of drives to come down before adding a third.
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# Backup Should WorkBruce 2012-10-29 19:14
There is a backup function in the ReadyNAS software. Once you get one of the drives installed, you can suse the backup function to pull the data from the second drive onto the NAS. Just be REALLY REALLY sure that the data came over completely before you install the second drive.
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# Upgrade from NV+ to NV+ V2Dinky 2013-02-18 01:13
I have ordered an NV+ V2 having had an earlier NV+ for a number of years.

I've backed up all the data from the NV+ but I'm curious as to whether I can just replace all the disks from the NV+ & put these into the NV 2 plus without ill effects. It will be an interesting exercise as I think the worst that can happen is that everything gets reinitialized. It really depends how much information is carried in the firmware of the old NV+

I will let you all know what happens when I do the disk swap. This is an important exercise because of the scenario of your existing NAS unit needing to be replaced due to hardware failure.
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