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Page 2, ReadyNAS

What’s cool is you can replace all four disks (one by one) in the ReadyNAS NV+, and your capacity incrementally grows. The bundled X-RAID software handles all the RAID level (0, 1, or level 5) and data migration matters in the background. A single disc upgrade; say from a 250GB to a 750GB drive; would result in your still seeing just one volume with all your data intact, but suddenly with more available free space.  There are various security options for selectable sharing of data, either by share, user or domain.

I arranged for a review of a drive-less ReadyNAS NV+ (a configuration that can be bought for as little as $615 online), to which I would later add four SATA drives of my choosing. I selected four 750GB Barracuda ES drives (ST3750640NS) from Seagate Technology.

These are killer disc drives, especially for RAID duties. The 7200-RPM Barracuda ES drive boasts increased reliability, and also features Rotational Vibration Feed Forward (RVFF) technology to sustain performance when placed in closely packed multi-drive system environments like the ReadyNAS NV+.  Basically, Seagate’s proprietary technology senses and compensates for vibration from neighboring drives, which in a fully drive-loaded ReadyNAS is a pretty crowded neighborhood.

Another feature is Seagate’s ERC (Error Recovery Control). The drive responds so quickly that the RAID controller, like the one in the ReadyNAS NV+, has enough time to rebuild data so the RAID set is preserved in the event of data error, with the net result that a rebuild of the entire RAID set is only required in the event of true drive failures. Hours are thus saved in needlessly rebuilding a RAID set.

Seagate also added Workload Management, a feature that helps protect the hard drive when thermal temperatures begin rising due to sustained heavy workloads, keeping drives and systems cool, thereby increasing reliability and longevity. The drives also feature a staggering 1.2 million hours MTBF, with 24x7 reliability, which is why they probably come with a five-year warranty.

The Barracuda ES interface supports 3 GB/sec speeds, with an average seek time of 8.5/9.5 Msec (R/W). Seagate Barracuda ES drives come in 250GB, 400GB, 500GB, and 750 GB capacities, and I am sure a 1TB drive is not far behind.  A 750GB Barracuda ES can be found selling on-line for as low as $280.  Put four big Seagates in a ReadyNAS NV+ and you get a whopping 3TB, probably enough to keep swallowing up all your pirated mp3 files until the end of time.

Installing the four Seagate drives into the ReadyNAS NV+ was a snap. So was initial setup via the ReadyNAS admin browser interface. The drives needed several hours to initialize to ensure data protection.  The fan-less ReadyNAS NV+ is quiet in operation and the discs have run trouble free. No bitches here, folks.

The ReadyNAS NV+ also supports software add-ons, like the SlimServer software from Slim Devices—No more PC or Mac needed in the SlimServer loop. This is what drove me to do this review in the first place, as it bugged me to have to keep a regular computer going just to run SlimServer. (if you saw my throat gagging monthly electric bill from NStar you'd know what I'm talking about.)

I am a really big fan of Slim Devices.  The combination of networked Squeezebox hardware and SlimServer software offers the best, most cost effective home media solution for pushing great quality audio around the house.  Period.

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21st, The VXM Network, http://www.vxm.com

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