Iomega’s NAS: Is the mainstream ready for network storage?

Iomega Announces High Performance yet Affordable Four-Drive NAS Appliance With Innovative Features for Small Businesses and Distributed Offices

Iomega, an EMC company, announced the next generation of its quad-drive desktop NAS appliance with the worldwide launch of the new Iomega® StorCenter™ ix4-200d. Based on industry-leading enterprise-class EMC® storage technologies, the affordable ix4-200d is the ideal NAS appliance for small businesses, distributed offices and home office networks that require advanced data storage and protection features without the need for a dedicated IT staff.

Up and running in a matter of four mouse clicks and a few minutes, the ix4-200d NAS appliance provides up to 8TB* of networked storage that easily integrates with existing infrastructure for expanded storage, file-sharing and backup of critical business data. The ix4-200d delivers advanced features such as:

  • iSCSI block-level access for efficient storage utilization
  • Device-to-device replication to network targets for business continuity and file recovery
  • Multiple RAID configurations for the highest level of data protection
  • Windows® Active Directory support
  • Remote access and management
  • IP security camera support
  • A new front panel LCD and QuikTransfer button for easy one-touch copying of selected files
  • And unique to this category of products VMware® certification for virtualization installations – all at a starting price of less than $700.00.

Affordably priced for small businesses and home office use, the new Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d NAS appliance is now available to IT resellers worldwide via select distribution channels.

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Posted in Data Storage, Iomega

Enterprise Technologies to change consumer PC market

The average consumer may be unaware of high-end storage  and network technologies such as pNFS, PCIe and 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE), but they could revolutionise the consumer PC market in ways that most consumers can’t even begin to imagine.

Henry Newman analyses how consumers will eventually benefit all the exiting technologies that are now being used by enterprises and datacenters:

nas storage

“One of the biggest problems for home PC users is migration of data to new systems. Most consumers get new computers every three to five years. During that period, the amount of data they amass from cameras, video, music and everything else increases fairly dramatically. Getting that data from one system to another is no easy task. You can use USB, Ethernet or some other method, but it can be a slow process.

A cottage industry of products and services has sprung up just to move your data, including external storage devices that are basically low-end NAS devices. Data Robotics (Drobo), HP, EMC, Seagate, Western Digital, and many others, have all stepped in to fill the need. I am not going to talk about the merits of products or methods, but needless to say, some products are designed for some parts of the market better than others, and some are easier to use and to migrate to new technologies than others.

So you have small NAS boxes getting more affordable and disk drive costs dropping significantly, but the performance to move data to a new system is constant or at best a bit faster, so with so much more data, it is a big problem to reliably move it all. Another thing to remember is that these home NAS devices are relatively slow compared to the speed of a hard drive. The performance available today for home PCs ranges in the marketing literature from 100 MB/sec to 66 MB/sec. We all know what marketing speak is, but for the sake of this discussion, I will use the upper end at 100 MB/sec. The fastest current NAS network connectivity is 1Gbit Ethernet, but plenty of PCs are limited to Firewire or USB-2 speeds.

Using 1GbE hardware, NAS speeds are limited to a peak of 125 MB/sec. The real number when you add NFS or CIFS communications protocols and file system overhead is more like 30 MB/sec for write and maybe 50 MB/sec for read. So at best this current crop of NAS boxes is much slower than disk drives, between one-half and one-third the performance of current disk drive technology. This all changes when 10GbE becomes available later this year at commodity pricing; then the channel becomes much faster than the drives. For now, though the usage model for these low-end NAS devices is for bulk storage. They are not fast enough to replace local disk drives yet and the latency is high, but with 10GbE, pNFS and faster, lower-latency PCIe buses, the game will change.

When a home user wants to upgrade storage, generally what happens is users get new storage with a new machine and have to move the files on the old system to the new one. This is a great business model for many organizations that support national chains that charge good money to move the files to the new system. With technologies like Drobo and others that allow for storage migration inside the box to higher density storage, data migration becomes significantly easier, as you just have to add new disk drives and wait for the box to rebuild itself. The problem today is these technologies are too slow for many home users doing video editing or editing large photos or temporary files; the write performance is just too slow and read is not much better. These performance problems get eliminated with the commoditization of 10GbE. The Ethernet connection will be faster than the drives, which has never happened to my memory. 10GbE speeds are around 400 MB/sec to 600 MB/sec for some vendors, including the NFS overhead. Imagine that for video editing.”

Read the whole analysis: A Home PC Revolution Coming (

Posted in Data Storage

The greatest open source software of all time: OpenFiler

There are many open source software gems. InfoWorld has awarded the 2009 Bossies (Best of Open Source Software Awards). The award is presented to the forty best free business applications.

OpenFiler caught the InfoWorld reviewers’ special attention. The flexible NAS solution also scooped the best SAN tool award:

openfiler_logo“OpenFiler is a SAN/NAS appliance based on rPath Linux. According to its creator, OpenFiler actually began life atop Fedora Linux, moved to CentOS, and final settled on rPath, attracted by that Linux’s impressive package-management environment. OpenFiler can operate at either the SAN or NAS level — or both simultaneously.

OpenFiler’s feature set is impressive. It provides drivers for a wide array of peripheral busses: It can talk to disk drives on IDE, SAS, SATA, SCSI, or iSCSI interfaces. If you need RAID, OpenFiler is compatible with hardware from Adaptec, LSI Logic, Intel, and others. Further, it can handle file systems up to 60TB in size. Its supported Ethernet controllers include Fast, Gigabit, and 10 Gigabit controllers from Intel and Broadcom. In spite of these bounteous capabilities, its actual processor and memory requirements are modest. A standard x86 system with 256MB of RAM, 1GB of disk space for the OS image, and at least one Ethernet card is all you need to get going.

There’s not much to see in the console when you boot an OpenFiler system. You can log in to the console or through SSH and execute Linux commands in case you need to modify boot scripts and configuration files. But as with m0n0wall and IPCop, management of OpenFiler is through the administration user GUI hosted on a built-in Web server. (If you need access to shell commands, the GUI provides a secure shell terminal via a Java applet.)

The tabbed administration GUI leads you to sections wherein you can configure several components. Among them are users and groups. This requires you to select either LDAP or Windows as the authentication system. If you don’t have a Windows server available, OpenFiler comes with the open source OpenLDAP server.

You also have the ability to configure volumes. Here you identify the attached disk drives, select the file system type with which they will be formatted (XFS or ext3; future versions hope to provide ext4 and btrfs), define volume groups, and — finally — create actual volumes that users can access.

Additionally, you can configure quotas, which control user group consumption of disk resources; you can establish shares, which makes named file system locations accessible by SMB and NFS; and you can manage mirrors, backups, and snapshots.

There’s much more; consequently, OpenFiler’s administration and management system requires some learning time. (This is less a fault of OpenFiler and more the simple fact that OpenFiler can support so many different configurations.) The online installation instructions will get you started, but if you don’t feel up to a bout of self-education and need additional guidance, you can purchase an OpenFiler support package from the product’s Web site. In any case, if you need either a SAN or a NAS system, OpenFiler is well worth the time you’ll spend getting it installed and tuned.”

Congratulations to Openfiler

Posted in OpenFiler

ReadyNAS Vault 1.1.2 update released

Netgear has announce a maintenance upgrade to the ReadyNAS Vault that address issues reported by some of its Vault users.


1. Enhanced Session Management: Added auto-recovery of secure sessions to streamline performance and long-running backups. Eliminates known issue that produced intermittent stalling (this was the one that was affecting the larger files).
2. Reporting Verification Services: Added additional logic and integrity checks to ensure that files that have already been backed up are properly counted. Previously, files already protected were not reported as transferred producing a reporting discrepancy that this update corrects.
3. Accelerated Differential Analysis: Updated management of locally maintained meta-data to allow for performance and speed improvements on all subsequent job runs. Cuts down speed of subsequent backups by up to 80%.
4. OpenSSL-compatibility fix for ReadyNAS 1100 model: Fixed an issue that was causing failure of ssl connections on the 1100.

The update can be downloaded from the ReadyNas blog.

Posted in NAS

FreeNAS Bash script for ZFS scrubbing

Gimpe has put together a bash script to automatically run a script at predifined intervals to do a scrub on each ZFS pool. Please note, this will only run on FreeNAS 0.7 (not on the 0.6x series as it doesn’t support Sun’s Zetabyte Filesystem (ZFS).

View/Download the script from

Posted in File Systems, ZFS


Thanks for visiting where we focus (now) on building, installing and configuring your own NAS and media streaming devices. Most it open source related, but we have a soft spot for FreeBSD based systems.

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