Modern Six-bay NAS or NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516

Introduction

External design

Hardware

Setting-up

Web-interface

Command line

Testing

Conclusion

Introduction

This is not the first time our laboratory has hosted NASes by NETGEAR for review. More than a year ago we tested a rack-mounted ReadyNAS 2100 and after that we took a desktop ReadyNAS Ultra 2 Plus for review. This time we were asked to have a look at a desktop ReadyNAS 516 with six discs. However, the discs did not come together with it. ReadyNAS 516 is one of the flagship desktop NAS models by NETGEAR as of 2013. Let's now pass on to reviewing the model.

External design

It is designed in a quite traditional way for this kind of devices; Ready NAS 516 comes in a brick-shaped black metal case with dimensions of 288x192x259 mm. The upper and side panels of the device are not really remarkable and on the bottom there are four rubber legs and a sticker with brief information about the device.

The biggest part of the perforated front side is a magnetic door with LEDs and an LCD screen inside. The front side of the door is touch-sensitive and there are no buttons at all on it. At the bottom of the front panel one can find an inconspicuous USB-port.

Behind the door there are six boxes for 2.5 or 3.5 inch SATA hard drives; also, there is ON/OFF button located there. The device supports connection of SSD data carriers.

The boxes are pretty odd—we have not yet come across such HDD mounting method: on each side of a metal disc box there are pull-out plastic holders one needs to fasten a disc to (when they are pulled out) and after that push it back into the box. Apart from that, on the box snap catch there is a switch that prevents the disc from accidental shut-downs. One doesn't need to use screws when mounting discs.

The large part of the device rear side is a 120 mm fan. We think this is a really nice solution since a big fan allows lowering the device noise. It'd be fair to point out that there is another, small 40 mm fan installed in the PSU inside of the case.

Apart from the fan, there are also three eSATA and two USB 3.0 ports, two network interfaces, HDMI port, power socket with a switch, Kensington lock, and a slot for mounting of an additional expansion card.

That is where we bring review of ReadyNAS 516 external design to a conclusion and pass on to examining its hardware.

Hardware

Insides of the Ready NAS 516 case are two green textolite cards (not considering the cards located inside of the door and PSU). One of them performs basic support functions and acts as an adapter that facilitates the HDD connection procedure.

A massive radiator is installed on the CPU on the motherboard. The device uses a passive cooling method and though there is a power socket near the CPU, it has no additional fans installed on it. The NAS is powered by Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3 3,3 GHz CPU. It came as a surprise to see a full-feature third generation Intel i3 CPU installed in this NAS. It's worth noticing that the main elements are located on one side of the motherboard.

256 Mbytes Micron 29F2G08 chip Silicon Motion SM321QF controller acts as the device flash memory. Also, there is an independent DDR3 M3CW-4GHJ3C0C-E RAM card with 4 Gbytes of memory. The RAM is produced by innoDisk company. Nuvoton NCT5577D chip is charged with slow I/O functions. A chip labelled as E78190 acts as the device southbridge. We have already seen this kind of chip when we reviewed devices of another NAS vendor. There are two Silicon Image Sil3132CNU host controllers located on the card, they maintain support of eSATA ports. D720202 chip maintains operation of two USB 3.0 ports. Two Intel WG82574L chips are responsible for proper operation of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Parade PS8171 chip maintains operation of the HDMI port.

That is where we bring the review of the NAS hardware to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Setting-up

Once the device has been plugged in, one will be able to gain access to it within the same segment via entering https://readycloud.netgear.com page. Another method of detecting the NAS is to use conventional RAIDar utility.

One will be able not only to detect the device in the network using this utility, but also manage it in any modern browser. By default the login and password are admin and password.

Upon successful authentication an administrator will find him/herself on the home page of the wizard that is used to adjust the NAS primary settings.

Once all settings have been made, one will be able to start managing the device.

We would recommend the users to upgrade firmware to the latest version before getting started. Firmware upgrade process may be carried out both in manual and semi-automatic mode. To update the firmware in the automatic mode the user needs to enter Settings group, System tab, and click on Check for Updates link.

To do this in the manual mode one needs to click on Install Firmware button on the same page and select the applicable firmware file.

The whole upgrade procedure takes about two minutes (not considering the firmware download time). An administrator can make sure that the firmware upgrade has been executed successfully in Overview group, System tab.

Now let's pass on to reviewing the web-interface capabilities of the device.

Web-interface

Any modern browser may be used to access NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 web-interface. In order to get connected to the device an administrator must specify the login and password that were used during initial preparation activities.

Upon successful authentication the administrator will find him/herself on the home page of the device (System-Overview) where s/he can learn the essential information about the device as well as about the installed apps and created disc array. The user can also manage synchronization of the NAS with external time servers. Unfortunately, information about servers put in the Cyrillic format could not be saved.

Volumes group, System tab, features information about created arrays and mounted discs.

Performance group provides the administrator with information on the disc status and temperature, fan speed, disc space used, and network utilization.

Using Settings group one can switch on certain services, upgrade firmware, perform backing up, and manage the NAS power settings.

Log information is located in Logs and Alerts group.

Shares group, Shares tab, features a list of folders and LUNs created on the NAS. Using this group one can create a new unit or view settings of an existing one as well as manage parameters of user access via various network protocols.

In Browse group the administrator can browse through the contents of common access resources.

All snapshots of the common access resources are located in Timeline group. By using this group the administrator can recover all necessary user data.

iSCSI group is used to create a user group, new LUN, or assign a LUN to the user group.

Management of local users and groups is carried out using groups in Accounts tab. Possibility of the NAS to access Active Directory corporate base turned out to be a really useful option.

Management of the NAS network adaptors and their binding into one virtual channel is carried out using Network tab.

A list of pre-installed applications and the ones currently available for downloading and installation is located in sub-items of Apps tab. Over here the user can also upload an application to the NAS and install it.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 supports operation with ReadyNAS Remote, ReadyDrop, ReadyNAS Replicate, and ReadyCLOUD cloud services. One needs to use Cloud tab to adjust the relevant settings.

Management of user data backup operations is carried out using groups located in Backup tab.

Using Profile tab the administrator can select the web-interface language and alter certain administrative parameters.

That is where we bring the section devoted to the device web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining the capabilities of its command line.

Command line

By default the access to the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 command line is prohibited. In order to gain access to it the administrator can use different methods. One of such methods is to launch SSH service located in Services subgroup, Settings group, System tab.

The second method of gaining access to the device command line is to use Shell in a box plug-in which is located in Installed group, Apps tab. Upon usage of this plug-in, an emulator of the command line will open in the browser. Also, one can install any other plug-ins that provide applicable functions to do this.

We would like to point out that irrespective of the method the user chooses to access the NAS command line, the vendor is entitled to deny provision of warranty maintenance services to this user.

BusyBox 1.20.2 library is installed in Debian 4.7.2-5.

root@nas-27-40-68:/# uname -a
Linux nas-27-40-68 3.0.79.RNx86_64.2.1 #1 SMP Tue May 28 22:30:44 PDT 2013 x86_64 GNU/Linux
root@nas-27-40-68:/# cat /proc/version
Linux version 3.0.79.RNx86_64.2.1 (jenkins@blocks) (gcc version 4.7.2 (Debian 4.7.2-5) ) #1 SMP Tue May 28 22:30:44 PDT 2013
root@nas-27-40-68:/# busybox
BusyBox v1.20.2 (Debian 1:1.20.0-7) multi-call binary.
Copyright (C) 1998-2011 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: busybox --list[-full]
or: busybox --install [-s] [DIR]
or: function [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as.
Currently defined functions:
[, [[, adjtimex, ar, arp, arping, ash, awk, basename, blockdev, brctl,
bunzip2, bzcat, bzip2, cal, cat, chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, chvt,
clear, cmp, cp, cpio, cttyhack, cut, date, dc, dd, deallocvt, depmod,
df, diff, dirname, dmesg, dnsdomainname, dos2unix, du, dumpkmap,
dumpleases, echo, egrep, env, expand, expr, false, fgrep, find, fold,
free, freeramdisk, ftpget, ftpput, getopt, getty, grep, groups, gunzip,
gzip, halt, head, hexdump, hostid, hostname, httpd, hwclock, id,
ifconfig, init, insmod, ionice, ip, ipcalc, kill, killall, klogd, last,
less, ln, loadfont, loadkmap, logger, login, logname, logread, losetup,
ls, lsmod, lzcat, lzma, md5sum, mdev, microcom, mkdir, mkfifo, mknod,
mkswap, mktemp, modinfo, modprobe, more, mount, mt, mv, nameif, nc,
netstat, nslookup, od, openvt, patch, pidof, ping, ping6, pivot_root,
poweroff, printf, ps, pwd, rdate, readlink, realpath, reboot, renice,
reset, rev, rm, rmdir, rmmod, route, rpm, rpm2cpio, run-parts, sed,
seq, setkeycodes, setsid, sh, sha1sum, sha256sum, sha512sum, sleep,
sort, start-stop-daemon, stat, strings, stty, swapoff, swapon,
switch_root, sync, sysctl, syslogd, tac, tail, tar, taskset, tee,
telnet, test, tftp, time, timeout, top, touch, tr, traceroute,
traceroute6, true, tty, udhcpc, udhcpd, umount, uname, uncompress,
unexpand, uniq, unix2dos, unlzma, unxz, unzip, uptime, usleep,
uudecode, uuencode, vconfig, vi, watch, watchdog, wc, wget, which, who,
whoami, xargs, xz, xzcat, yes, zcat

Let's see what processes are currently running with the help of ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes.

root@nas-27-40-68:/# ps -A
PID TTY TIME CMD
1 ? 00:00:01 systemd
2 ? 00:00:00 kthreadd
3 ? 00:00:00 ksoftirqd/0
4 ? 00:00:00 kworker/0:0
6 ? 00:00:00 migration/0
7 ? 00:00:00 watchdog/0
8 ? 00:00:00 migration/1
9 ? 00:00:00 kworker/1:0
10 ? 00:00:00 ksoftirqd/1
11 ? 00:00:00 kworker/0:1
12 ? 00:00:00 watchdog/1
13 ? 00:00:00 migration/2
15 ? 00:00:00 ksoftirqd/2
16 ? 00:00:00 watchdog/2
17 ? 00:00:00 migration/3
18 ? 00:00:00 kworker/3:0
19 ? 00:00:00 ksoftirqd/3
20 ? 00:00:00 watchdog/3
21 ? 00:00:00 khelper
221 ? 00:00:00 sync_supers
223 ? 00:00:00 bdi-default
225 ? 00:00:00 kblockd
399 ? 00:00:00 khubd
406 ? 00:00:00 md
510 ? 00:00:00 rpciod
548 ? 00:00:00 khungtaskd
553 ? 00:00:00 kswapd0
618 ? 00:00:00 fsnotify_mark
636 ? 00:00:00 nfsiod
656 ? 00:00:00 xfs_mru_cache
658 ? 00:00:00 xfslogd
659 ? 00:00:00 xfsdatad
660 ? 00:00:00 xfsconvertd
669 ? 00:00:00 crypto
684 ? 00:00:00 kthrotld
701 ? 00:00:01 kworker/1:1
704 ? 00:00:00 kworker/2:1
707 ? 00:00:00 kworker/3:1
776 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_0
779 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_1
782 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_2
785 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_3
788 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_4
791 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_5
807 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_6
810 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_7
813 ? 00:00:00 kworker/u:8
814 ? 00:00:00 kworker/u:9
821 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_8
824 ? 00:00:00 scsi_eh_9
831 ? 00:00:00 target_completi
832 ? 00:00:00 LIO_rd_mcp
833 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_ttx
834 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_trx
835 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_ttx
836 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_trx
837 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_ttx
838 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_trx
839 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_ttx
840 ? 00:00:00 iscsi_trx
892 ? 00:00:00 rc0
1136 ? 00:00:00 kworker/2:2
1213 ? 00:00:00 md0_raid1
1221 ? 00:00:00 md1_raid1
1334 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-worker-1
1335 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-genwork-1
1336 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-submit-1
1337 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-delalloc-
1338 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-fixup-1
1339 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-1
1343 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-freespace
1344 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-delayed-m
1345 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-cache-1
1346 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-readahead
1347 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-cleaner
1348 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-transacti
1366 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-met
1532 ? 00:00:00 systemd-journal
1535 ? 00:00:00 udevd
1551 ? 00:00:00 md127_raid1
1808 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-worker-1
1821 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-genwork-1
1822 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-submit-1
1824 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-delalloc-
1825 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-fixup-1
1826 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-1
1828 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-met
1963 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-wri
1964 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-freespace
1965 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-delayed-m
1966 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-cache-1
1967 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-readahead
1974 ? 00:00:00 udevd
2179 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-cleaner
2180 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-transacti
2200 ? 00:00:00 mdadm
2208 ? 00:00:00 acpid
2213 ? 00:00:00 cron
2221 ? 00:00:00 systemd-logind
2224 ? 00:00:00 dbus-daemon
2255 tty1 00:00:00 agetty
2256 ttyS0 00:00:00 agetty
2258 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-met
2287 ? 00:00:00 flush-btrfs-4
2535 ? 00:00:00 apache2
2541 ? 00:00:25 readynasd
2599 ? 00:00:00 minidlnad
2601 ? 00:00:00 netatalk
2602 ? 00:00:00 afpd
2603 ? 00:00:00 cnid_metad
2604 ? 00:00:00 leafp2p
2620 ? 00:00:00 minidlnad <defunct>
2622 ? 00:00:00 leafp2p
2632 ? 00:00:00 smbd
2686 ? 00:00:00 udevd
2738 ? 00:00:00 fvbackup-q
2740 ? 00:00:00 rcbrokerd
2751 ? 00:00:00 readystatsd
2969 ? 00:00:00 smbd
3447 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-met
5831 ? 00:00:00 sshd
5837 ? 00:00:00 apache2
5838 ? 00:00:00 apache2
5839 ? 00:00:00 apache2
5840 ? 00:00:00 apache2
5841 ? 00:00:00 apache2
6049 ? 00:00:00 apache2
6231 ? 00:00:00 connmand
6257 ? 00:00:00 apache2
6312 ? 00:00:00 nmbd
6314 ? 00:00:00 avahi-daemon
6316 ? 00:00:00 avahi-daemon
6317 ? 00:00:00 raidard
6320 ? 00:00:00 minissdpd
6346 ? 00:00:00 rcbrokerd
6393 ? 00:00:00 apache2
6596 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-wri
6643 ? 00:00:00 sshd
6655 pts/0 00:00:00 bash
11397 ? 00:00:00 btrfs-endio-met
13101 pts/0 00:00:00 ps
root@nas-27-40-68:/# top
top - 10:14:54 up 1:05, 1 user, load average: 0.83, 0.65, 0.62
Tasks: 141 total, 1 running, 139 sleeping, 0 stopped, 1 zombie
%Cpu(s): 0.1 us, 0.2 sy, 0.0 ni, 99.5 id, 0.2 wa, 0.0 hi, 0.0 si, 0.0 st
KiB Mem: 3941428 total, 260868 used, 3680560 free, 1408 buffers
KiB Swap: 523964 total, 0 used, 523964 free, 167256 cached
PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
2541 root 20 0 433m 29m 6960 S 6.6 0.8 0:25.43 readynasd
1 root 20 0 45220 4216 1996 S 0.0 0.1 0:01.44 systemd
2 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kthreadd
3 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.01 ksoftirqd/0
4 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.08 kworker/0:0
6 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/0
7 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 watchdog/0
8 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/1
9 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kworker/1:0
10 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 ksoftirqd/1
11 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.18 kworker/0:1
12 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 watchdog/1
13 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/2
15 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.01 ksoftirqd/2
16 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 watchdog/2
17 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/3
18 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kworker/3:0

Let's find out what kind of files /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogues have. Their list is located in a separate file over here.

Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.

root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# ls
1 1347 1963 2255 3 6312 704 835 driver net
10 1348 1964 2256 3447 6314 707 836 execdomains pagetypeinfo
11 1366 1965 2258 399 6316 776 837 filesystems partitions
1136 13833 1966 2287 4 6317 779 838 fs scsi
11397 15 1967 2535 406 6320 782 839 interrupts self
12 1532 1974 2541 510 6346 785 840 iomem slabinfo
1213 1535 2 2599 548 636 788 892 ioports softirqs
1221 1551 20 2601 553 6393 791 9 irq stat
13 16 21 2602 5831 656 8 acpi kallsyms swaps
1334 17 2179 2603 5837 658 807 buddyinfo key-users sys
1335 18 2180 2604 5838 659 810 bus kmsg sysvipc
1336 1808 2200 2620 5839 6596 813 cgroups loadavg timer_list
1337 1821 2208 2622 5840 660 814 cmdline locks tty
1338 1822 221 2632 5841 6643 821 consoles mdstat uptime
1339 1824 2213 2686 6 6655 824 cpuinfo meminfo version
1343 1825 2221 2738 6049 669 831 crypto misc vmallocinfo
1344 1826 2224 2740 618 684 832 devices modules vmstat
1345 1828 223 2751 6231 7 833 diskstats mounts zoneinfo
1346 19 225 2969 6257 701 834 dma mpt
root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# cat uptime
4342.85 17285.16
root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# cat loadavg
0.77 0.75 0.68 1/160 13923
root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# cat cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 58
model name : Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3220 CPU @ 3.30GHz
stepping : 9
cpu MHz : 3300.000
cache size : 3072 KB
physical id : 0
siblings : 4
core id : 0
cpu cores : 2
apicid : 0
initial apicid : 0
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 13
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr
sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc
aperfmperf pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 sse4_2 popcnt xsave avx
f16c lahf_lm arat epb xsaveopt pln pts dtherm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid fsgsbase smep erms
bogomips : 6585.46
clflush size : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes : 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:
root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# cat meminfo
MemTotal: 3941428 kB
MemFree: 3675908 kB
Buffers: 1408 kB
Cached: 172204 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 109116 kB
Inactive: 113324 kB
Active(anon): 49476 kB
Inactive(anon): 6716 kB
Active(file): 59640 kB
Inactive(file): 106608 kB
Unevictable: 0 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
SwapTotal: 523964 kB
SwapFree: 523964 kB
Dirty: 48 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 48944 kB
Mapped: 23020 kB
Shmem: 7364 kB
Slab: 21628 kB
SReclaimable: 11072 kB
SUnreclaim: 10556 kB
KernelStack: 1296 kB
PageTables: 6388 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 2494676 kB
Committed_AS: 299708 kB
VmallocTotal: 34359738367 kB
VmallocUsed: 2768 kB
VmallocChunk: 34359730116 kB
DirectMap4k: 6144 kB
DirectMap2M: 4096000 kB
root@nas-27-40-68:/proc# uptime
10:22:30 up 1:12, 1 user, load average: 0.64, 0.72, 0.67

We have removed information about 1, 2, and 3 GPU core from cat cpuinfo command output presented above since it is equal to the information about 0 GPU.

That's where we proceed to completion of the brief review of ReadyNAS 516 NAS command line capabilities and pass directly on to testing it.

Testing

The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP protocol. NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 boots in 43 seconds. We believe that the result is decent.

The second test was a security scanning procedure which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. On the whole, there were eight open ports discovered, and they are TCP-80 (HTTP), UDP-137 (NetBIOS Name), TCP-139 (NetBIOS Samba), TCP-443 (HTTP SSL), TCP-445 (Microsoft DS), TCP-548 (afpovertcp), TCP-8200 (HTTP), and TCP-10000 (HTTP). The most interesting data we have obtained are presented below.

We would also like to mention the key specification of the test stand we used.

Component PC
Motherboard ASUS Maximus V Extreme
CPU Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes
NIC Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter
Intel Gigabit 82579
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

The third test we decided to carry out on this NAS is functional check of network interface binding function. NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 has two physical GE interfaces that can be bound into a logical one with bandwidth of up to 4 Gbps in full duplex mode, that is 2 Gbps in each direction. We connected the NAS under review to a Cisco Catalyst 2960 switch using both interfaces and bound the adapters on the NAS side. IEEE 802.3ad with LACP was chosen to be used as a binding mode. It's probably one of the most popular methods of physical interface binding.

We also had to adjust the corresponding settings on the NAS. Below one can see settings of one of the physical ports that were bound.

interface GigabitEthernet0/1
switchport access vlan 2
switchport mode access
channel-protocol lacp
channel-group 1 mode active

We would like to warn our readers against careless usage of binding method via LACP. Let us review some of its operation principles. When it's necessary to transfer a frame via the logical interface built on LACP, the frame is not split into parts but transferred via one physical link. This link is selected through a hash table created on the basis of the transmitter and receiver's addresses or the transmitter-receiver pair. But what are actually these addresses? NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 lets the administrator choose what addresses are going to be used. In order to create a hash table one can use MAC and IP-addresses as well as TCP or UDP port numbers.

The same settings can also be applied on the switch. Depending on the device model and version of IOS used, several ways of hash table creation may be available. For example, Cisco Catalyst 2960 that our lab owns supports creation of the hash tables only using MAC or IP-addresses.

Switch#sho etherchannel load-balance
EtherChannel Load-Balancing Configuration:
src-dst-ip
EtherChannel Load-Balancing Addresses Used Per-Protocol:
Non-IP: Source XOR Destination MAC address
IPv4: Source XOR Destination IP address
IPv6: Source XOR Destination IP address
Switch(config)#port-channel load-balance ?
dst-ip Dst IP Addr
dst-mac Dst Mac Addr
src-dst-ip Src XOR Dst IP Addr
src-dst-mac Src XOR Dst Mac Addr
src-ip Src IP Addr
src-mac Src Mac Addr

Channel binding using LACP ensures steady-state balancing, so it will work properly with many traffic sources and recipients. That is why in one of our tests we used iSCSI MultiPath instead of binding via LACP in order to bridge the capabilities of one physical network interface and get rid of some kind of uncertainty that binding introduces.

One can use balancing both via IP and MAC addresses when placing ReadyNAS 516 in a virtual network with final users. However, if the final users are separated from the NAS with a router, usage of balancing on the basis of MAC addresses and its efficiency may be questioned since the frame transmitted via a bound channel will be assigned MAC addresses of both the NAS and router. In other words, just one physical interface will be used for transmission. The administrator can find out which interface is going to be chosen for transmission of real user data using test command in the switch command line. Unfortunately, there is no such command in the NAS.

Switch#test etherchannel load-balance interface port-channel 1 ip 192.168.2.5 192.168.2.4
Would select Gi0/1 of Po1

We are now passing on to probably the most interesting part of this section, the device throughput test. We assembled all supported RAID arrays which we accessed using SMB and iSCSI protocols.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 supports IPv6. As a matter of course, we couldn't help but check it and we did SMB throughput test upon operation with this protocol. Unfortunately, in the end we couldn't make iSCSI work under IPv6.

The model under review supports compressed folders and LUNs. We decided to compare access speeds to the compressed and non-compressed data. It turned out that these speeds are almost equal.

One can connect external HDDs or flash cards to the USB ports of the NAS. On the diagram below one can find access speeds to data located on an external 750 Gbyte Transcend StoreJet 25M3 hard disc that was formatted into four file systems: EXT2, EXT3, NTFS, and FAT32. It's worth noticing that upon operation with NTFS we faced certain difficulties. If formatting was carried out using Acronis Disk Director utility, the disc could be successfully identified. However, if formatting was performed using built-in Windows 7 software, the disc could not be identified correctly.

On the diagrams presented above one can see that the NAS throughput was often limited to the throughput of the network interface, that is to 1 Gbps. We decided to test what NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 is capable of and we got connected to it via iSCSI MultiPath through both network interfaces. Some tests showed that iSCSI throughput was almost twice higher than that of the network interface.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Conclusion

There are five models in the line-up of ReadyNAS 500. RN51600 has no discs, while RN51661E, RN51662E, RN51663E, and RN51664E have six discs of one, two, three, and four Tbytes each, correspondingly. We tested RN51600 model and we remain satisfied with it.

Strength areas of NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 are presented below.

  • A big 120 mm fan located in the case
  • Ability to bind physical network interfaces
  • High data access speeds
  • Ability to install free add-ons
  • IPv6 support
  • Support of Windows domains
  • Availability of remote access to the data stored on the NAS located in a local network (via NAT/PAT of the provider)
  • Ability of remote data replication between two NASes located in different local networks beyond border network devices of providers

Unfortunately, we cannot help to mention some drawbacks of this model.

  • A small 40 mm fan in the PSU
  • Absence of IPv6 support for iSCSI
  • Inability of operation with new NTFS versions
  • No Cyrillic domain support

As of when this article was being written, the average price for a NETGEAR ReadyNAS 516 in Moscow online shops was 55000 roubles.

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