Two NexentaOS derivatives compared

Twin Studies

Simple or Detailed

In both Nexenta variants, you can set up quotas (but with Netgear, only per-share, not per-user) or reserve a certain minimum size for a share. The Nexenta Community Edition offers more granular settings. Only here, can you set a record size for the filesystem, adjust case sensitivity, stipulate different modes of inheritance for ACLs, or specify whether a disk pool should use a separate log device in synchronous operation in the interest of low latency (which can improve the throughput). Moreover, only the Community Edition supports user quotas and WebDAV or Rsync as access methods to a shared volume. Netgear does not support these features (see Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1

Netgear ReadyDATA 5200 Features

Feature ReadyDATA
Model ReadyDATA 5200
Manufacturer Netgear
Operating system NexentaOS (based on Solaris)
Price EUR 7,400
Hardware
Processor Intel Xeon X3450, 2.67GHz
Memory (maximum) 16GB
Network interfaces 2x 1GbE, 2x 10GbE
Power supplies 2
Fans 4 (3 system fans, 1 CPU fan)
Disk slots 12 (60 when fully extended with expansion unit)
Hard disk types SAS/SATA/SSD/NL-SAS
Max. disk size 4TB
USB interface(s) 2
e-SATA interface(s) No; SAS connector for extension
LCD panel No
Form factor Rack mountable, 2U
Services
IPv4 Yes
IPv6 Yes
NFSv3 Yes
NFSv4 No
CIFS/SMB Yes
iSCSI Yes (per volume)
AFP Yes
HTTP/HTTPS Admin GUI; no file manager
FTP/FTPS Yes
TFTP No
SSH Yes, not supported
DHCP client Yes
UPnP (Bonjour) No
Software Feature
Encryption No
Compression Yes
Deduplication Yes
Replication Yes, block level
Snapshots Yes
Antivirus protection No
Backup Yes
Web GUI Yes
Logging Yes
Resource monitor Yes
SNMP Yes
S.M.A.R.T data No
Internal apps No
Lights-out management IPMI
Port trunking/NIC teaming/bonding Yes
Access Rights Management
Max. number of users 60,000
Max. number of user groups 60,000
Max. number of network shares Unlimited
Import/export users Yes
User quota management No
Domain Authentication Integration
Microsoft Active Directory (AD) Yes
LDAP server No
LDAP client No
Disk Architecture
JBOD No
RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
Global spare disk Yes
Filesystems (Internal)
ext3 No
ext4 No
XFS No
ZFS Yes
btrfs No
WAFL No

Table 2

NexentaStor CE Software Features

Software Features NexentaStor CE
Encryption No
Compression Yes
Deduplication Yes
Replication No
Snapshots Yes
Antivirus Protection No
Backup No
Web GUI Yes
Logging Yes
Resource monitor Yes
SNMP No
S.M.A.R.T data No
Internal apps No
Lights-out management No
Port trunking/NIC teaming/bonding Yes
Access Rights Management
Max. number of users No
Max. number of user groups No
Max. number of network shares No
Import/export users No/No
User quota management Yes
Domain Authentication Integration
Microsoft Active Directory (AD) Yes
LDAP server Yes
LDAP client Yes
Disk Architecture
JBOD Yes
RAID levels 1, RAID-Z1, RAID-Z2, RAID-Z3
Global spare disk Yes
Filesystems (internal)
ext3 No
ext4 No
XFS No
ZFS Yes
Btrfs No
WAFL No

Protocols and Services

Both candidates support the traditional CIFS (SMB), NFS (each including version 4), FTP, and iSCSI storage protocols. With the Nexenta Community Edition, Mac users remain sidelined; only the device from Netgear supports the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP).

Under NexentaStor and on ReadyDATAOS, you also can configure specific services. In the Community Edition of NexentaStor, the services are:

  • Auto-tier, which uses rsync to generate a copy of a volume on local or remote disk as a disk-to-disk backup. Snapshots are also suitable as a source.
  • Auto-snap, which periodically creates snapshots of a folder or volume.
  • Auto-scrub, which periodically verifies the consistency of volumes on the basis of ZFS checksums.

The Enterprise Edition, which I did not test, also supports other services, including continuously updated snapshots on remote disks (auto-sync) and real-time replication between two NexentaStor appliances (auto-CDP).

The Netgear system already includes replication; you just need to enable the feature. It then provides access to an online portal and configures a secure peer-to-peer connection between the participating ReadyNAS systems, which – thanks to a patented NAT traversal technology – gives the impression that both storage devices are on the same subnet. Port forwarding and Dynamic DNS are not necessary for this setup. You can then choose between scheduled replication (periodic replication) and an activity-driven version (continuous replication). Activity-driven replication is more secure because it activates immediately after changes, without waiting for a specified time interval to expire. Both replication modes are available at system or volume level.

Of course, the Netgear system also has the ability to create snapshots  – both manually and automatically  – with a predetermined frequency.

Users and Rights

Setting up local users might seem like déjà vu. Again, Netgear's ReadyDATAOS is a little faster and easier, but Nexenta's Community Edition is more granular. In the first case, the username, password, email address, and primary group are already set up; in the second case, you can fine-tune the actions the user is permitted on disks, volumes, and shares. Thus, in principle, you can implement role-based concepts that would make it impossible, for example, for the Samba admin to edit the iSCSI resources.

Both products can also integrate users from Active Directory. However, only NexentaStor can handle LDAP. It supports a variety of LDAP servers, including OpenLDAP, Apache DS, Red Hat 389, and Oracle Directory Services.

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