NetGear is offering some very impressive network based storage solutions in device models like their ReadyNas series. I have been looking at a few of these closely, mainly the 3200 model and plan on getting some test units if possible for evaluation. The 4200 model could be configured with 10G connectivity but I have not been able to see when it will be available. The 3200 model is on the Vmware HCL for NAS use and will probably work great for smaller implementations. I have seen quotes on the 6T and 12T 3200 models and the pricing per capacity is very competitive. Check out info here.
Before I published this post we were able to get two of the 3200’s in our lab for testing. I will of course write an up of the test results when I get a chance. If there is anyone out there who has already used the devices with VMware let me know what your results were and how you liked the product.
So, we were able to get in two ReadyNAS 3200 devices for testing in our lab. Here are my results and thoughts about the device. Of course my results could vary from others and remember that these comments about the device are from my point of view only.
The hardware is pretty nice in form and fit. Racking the device, getting it power, and connecting it to the network was no problem using our current rack and pdus. The administration of the device was easy as well using the web interface but there was some quirkiness in some of the configuration areas. Some of the settings did not seem to stick if you know what I mean. Sometimes when we made a setting change then came back to it the setting would be gone. One other area of concern was setting up Active Directory so that we could set group and user access on file shares. The account used to configure ADS had to have domain admin rights for this to work properly. We are doing some more testing though to see what is the lowest level of rights that are actually required. This would probably make me rather present an iscsi lun from the ReadyNAS device to a windows server or use it with Vmware then create a windows server vm guest instead of using the ADS feature on the ReadyNAS but that is just me.
I did some i/o performance tests with vSphere 4 using iscsi and nfs. One hardware version 4 windows 2003 64bit vm guest was create with 1 vcpu and 512mb of ram. After presenting the iscsi and nfs datastores to the 2 esx hosts I provisioned one 2gb vmdk to the iscsi datastore and one 2gb vmdk to the nfs datastore. Then one at a time performed 3x tests using iometer with the same parameters in each test on the iscsi and nfs provisioned disk.
|block size (k)||8|
|Average Test Results|
|Total I/O per second||283.903||167.05|
|Total Mbs per second||22.18||1.31|
|Avg I/O Response Time(ms)||0.35||5.99|
|Max I/O Response Time(ms)||99.99||504.14|
|% CPU Utilization (total)||9.03||0.59|
|Total error count||0||0|
From the results you can see that the iscsi gave much better i/o performance when compared to nfs on the same hardware. The ReadyNAS device was configured with all 12 drives using X-RAID2.
I check the Vmware HCL and also noticed that they now officially support iscsi and nfs for the 3200 and 4200 ReadyNAS models. When I originally wrote this post it only had the 3200 model and nas supported.