We’ve always been particularly taken by the desktop NAS appliances from Infrant Technologies with the compact and bijou ReadyNAS NV garnering a well deserved Recommended award thanks to its superb level of features and sleek design. Well, Netgear thinks the same as while we were looking at the latest ReadyNAS 1100 rack mount NAS appliance it announced that it had acquired Infrant Technologies.
This comes as no surprise as Netgear’s storage product portfolio is its weakest link as apart from the SC101 it has nothing to offer home users and small businesses looking for a standard NAS-based solution. This allows Netgear to present a well established desktop NAS product line and the latest ReadyNAS 1100 moves it into the equally competitive rack appliance market.
Netgear isn’t alone in this market as Thecus has also recently launched a slim-line rack appliance. However, the ReadyNAS 1100 benefits from more than a few design tweaks that makes it stand out. First up are its physical dimensions as this 19in wide box is a mere 12i. deep – Thecus’ new 1U4500 measures a full 22in from front to back. There’s room for a quartet of hard disks across the front all mounted in sturdy hot-swap carriers and the review system came with a full house of 250GB SATA drives. These are Seagate’s new Barracuda ES models which aim to offer increased reliability.
We’ve always found most half-depth rack appliances excessively noisy but not so with the 1100 as even with six cooling fans at the rear it’s surprisingly quiet. During testing we had the unit next to us on the bench and never found it intrusive. The hard disk backplane and motherboard are also separate units making it a cinch to remove the latter. Furthermore, the Linux-based RAIDiator OS is implemented on Flash memory so you can buy a diskless unit.
Last, but certainly not least, is Netgear’s ace-in-the-hole as it claims the appliance sucks up only 70-75W of power. To test this claim we hooked the appliance up to a PeakTech energy meter and watched it report a consumption of 68-70W in idle mode. Even a pair of Xeon 5160 servers running Iometer flat out on a mapped drive couldn’t push consumption past 72W. To put this in perspective we placed the meter on a standard Supermicro 3.2GHz Pentium D workstation and saw it drawing 105W in idle. With SiSoft Sandra pushing the processor to 100 per cent utilisation this peaked at an unhealthy 186W.