Infrant Technologies ReadyNAS 1100 review
Infrant Technologies has made an impact in the desktop NAS appliance market with its ReadyNAS NV 2TB, garnering a well-deserved PC Pro Recommended award and a spell on the A List as well. With the ReadyNAS 1100, Infrant turns its attention towards the equally fiercely contested rack-based storage appliance sector.
The 1100 has a number of tricks up its sleeve that aim to give it an edge over the competition. First up is its size, as although it fits in a 19in rack it’s only 12in deep. Next is the modular design: the motherboard and power supply are in a separate unit that mates with the hard disk backplane and which can be easily unlatched and removed. Infrant is also playing the green card, as it claims the 1100 consumes around 75W, making it particularly energy efficient.
The Linux-based RAIDiator OS is implemented on flash memory, so you can buy an unpopulated unit and add your own drives – a feature few other rack systems offer. The review system came with a quartet of 250GB Barracuda ES SATA hard disks, which Seagate claims offer improved reliability. As expected, the 1100 employs Infrant’s custom processor, which delivers hardware-managed arrays. You also get support for RAID0, 1, 5, hot-standby and hot-swap, plus Infrant’s own X-RAID technology, which impressively adds new drives into existing arrays automatically.
The bundled RAIDar utility makes light work of installation, and the slick web interface provides a quick-start wizard to get you up and running with minimum fuss. The OS is exactly the same as that employed in all Infrant’s NAS boxes, so you’re looking at plenty of features. Windows, Unix, Linux and Macintosh clients are supported; you have FTP services; and security extends to a local user and group database, NT domain authentication or integration with Active Directory. Backup options are extensive and include scheduled volume snapshots and backup tasks that can secure selected data to another location on the same appliance, a network share or another Infrant appliance. Infrant has also dropped the Genie Backup software in favour of a five-user copy of EMC Retrospect 7.5. The media-streaming services may be of limited value, but they can all be switched off.
Performance over Gigabit Ethernet is reasonable. The Iometer utility (www.iometer.org) reported a 38MB/sec raw read throughput, with a share mapped to a Supermicro dual Xeon 5160 server. However, for real-world operations speed dropped noticeably, with a 691MB video file copied from the appliance to the server at a rate of 20MB/sec. The A-Listed Thecus N5200 RouStor returned 26MB/sec for this task. However, Infrant’s power claims proved to be true. When idle, our meter registered between 68W and 70W consumption, and with the Iometer disk test utility running from a pair of Supermicro Xeon 5160 servers, this rose slightly to between 70W and 72W.
Infrant’s new rack appliance could do better for performance, but it’s still good value for smaller businesses. Build quality and general design are pleasing, it runs very quietly and it offers an impressive range of features, including a comprehensive backup package.