ReadyNAS 516 – a prosumer perspective

Disclaimer: I received a free 516 unit from NetGear with 6x2TB SeaGate enterprise disks installed.

The ReadyNAS  516 is a very, very powerful NAS. With an Intel Ivy Bridge i3 processor it is the fastest desktop ReadyNAS model ever. Moreover it comes with 4GB of ECC RAM, 4 times as much RAM as the previous generation.

The 516 runs ReadyNAS OS, the new OS for NetGear’s latest line of ReadyNAS products. This new OS uses the new filesystem BTRFS and comes with a number of new features such as ReadyCloud, unlimited snapshots, free anti-virus etc. Looking at reviews of the new OS there are more features expected to come such as the ability to create encrypted volumes.

With 6 drive bays and the ability to hook up to 3 EDA500 units, the 516 currently supports up to 6 drives internally and 5 drives in each EDA500 unit. So it supports 21x4TB drives. With 5TB drives expected later this year, the amount of capacity the 516 can hold can be expected to increase even further.

The 516 has 3 eSATA ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports and two gigabit ethernet ports. It also features an expansion slot and a HDMI port for possible future use.

ReadyNAS desktop line-up

The new ReadyNAS desktop range includes the ReadyNAS 100 series (entry level with ARM CPU and 512MB RAM), the 300 series (mid-range with the Intel Atom D2701 CPU and 2GB RAM) and the 516 (high end model). There is a ReadyNAS available to suit a range of different budgets and needs. All the models share the same software feature set so whether you are a home user or business user you can choose from the full range of models. Whilst the 516 is mainly targeted at the business user, throughout the history of the ReadyNAS line there has been strong interest in using the high performance models in the home. So in this article I will consider the ReadyNAS from a prosumer perspective.

Performance

Using RAID-6, I found via SSH I could achieve writes in excess of 400 MB/s and reads of close to 400 MB/s. Considering a gigabit connection theoretically could push up to 125 MB/s (or 250MB/s over two teamed NICs) there is plenty of resources available to run apps and still maintain high performance for traditional tasks such as file serving. Of course if I used a different RAID level such as RAID-5 and/or if SSDs were installed the internal performance achieved would be even higher.

With more and more client machines these days coming with SSDs installed, the need for speed transferring data across the network is very important and the 516 does not disappoint.

Plex Media Server

One of the things I was most interested to test with the 516 was running Plex Media Server. I wanted to see how it would handle transcoding 1080p video. I was pleased to find as expected that it transcoded and streamed a 1080p video flawlessly over my home Wi-Fi to my iPad. If you need to transcode 1080p video there is no better desktop ReadyNAS than the 516. If you need to transcode 1080p video to stream to a remote location it does help a lot if you have good upload speeds at the site where the NAS is located.

Conclusion

If you have a need for speed (or have many users in your home) and are looking at the ReadyNAS units available then the ReadyNAS 516 is the NAS for you.


Disclaimer: I received a free 516 unit from NetGear with 6x2TB SeaGate enterprise disks installed. I also do some paid work for them. The views expressed in this article (and all my other articles express my own opinion).

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