Netgear ReadyNAS is about as reliable as a tabloid horoscope

Have had one of these in use exclusively as an iSCSI target since August 2009 and haven’t been that impressed with it. When it’s working, it works great, but I’ve had several firmware related problems with the device which have caused me to lose faith in it.

A couple of months ago, the ReadyNAS complained that two disks in the RAID array had failed simultaneously. My initial scepticism at the likelihood of this was borne out when Netgear support confirmed that the disks were fine, but a bug in the firmware had caused a false SMART detection which took the RAID array offline. The firmware upgrade supplied to fix this broke iSCSI when used with the Microsoft initiator. Netgear claimed that bug only affected the HP iSCSI initiator, but their workaround for HP worked for my Server 2008 R2 boxes, so I used that for 2 months until the next upgrade, which supposedly fixed the iSCSI.

That upgrade causes the box to lock up every 24-48 hours, and when it is up, iSCSI performance is frankly awful. I have no idea why this happens on my unit, as it doesn’t seem to be a widespread issue. Netgear support don’t know why either, and the kernel log on the ReadyNAS seems to overwrite itself every time you reboot the device, so there’s no way of determining what causes the lockup.

The only fix for this was to rollback to 4.2.9, complete with it’s semi-broken iSCSI support and earlier workaround. When this thing works it’s an absolute trooper, but in light of these problems I just can’t recommend a ReadyNAS for anything important. If you do buy one (a mistake I won’t be repeating), use it for non-critical systems only.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

10 responses to “Netgear ReadyNAS is about as reliable as a tabloid horoscope”

  1. Andy K says :

    Sorry to hear you are having problems. The ReadyNas was one of the NAS I was considering, so I shall now avoid! Any thoughts on what I should consider instead? I was looking at either the Synology DS410 or maybe a Drobo FS…

    Any thoughts on these or any others?

    • AngryTechnician says :

      I’m afraid I haven’t used either. I was thinking of using a Drobo Elite for a project soon though, so if you do go down that route I’d be interested in hearing how it works out.

    • pawellond says :

      Netgear ReadyNas is an absolute piece of junk. I had some performance issues – read/write running at 1MB/s on a gigabit network, even tough network is fine. I looked for tips on line how to solve the problem and came across solution to upgrade the firmware, then do factory reset (equals loosing all data). I did the firmware upgrade and was trying to copy my data before doing a reset, now lost 2 days of my time ReadyNas goes on and off line at random making it impossible to copy files. If you are looking for a storage solution just build a proper file server, this will save you a lot of headache.

  2. Andy says :

    We use a Drobo Pro – excellent bit of kit and no issues.

  3. TheCrust says :

    Sadly the experiences I’ve had with Netgear kit in the past strongly suggested to me that it should never come anywhere near an enterprise-grade server or comms room.

    I see from your post that they have carried on with the process of continuous improvement!

  4. roach says :

    Im using an Synology DS409 (4×1.5TB RAID 5) and im really happy with it. I use it at home and never had problems with it after any firmware or software features updates. Synology cares about their products and also has a good community, its a linux and you could bring a lot of software to run when you’re familiar with linux or maybe a bit with forum reading etc :-) AND they’re not scientology ;-) I’m also using it for DLNA streaming, ftp, downloadstation, backup, fileserver, webserver… and you could do lot more with this box if you want to. If you use it for critical things maybe at work or you need TOP performance, then you should think about the + Version of the Synology NAS products.

  5. Digitaldon says :

    Ive used several Synology DS508 boxes and I am also really happy with them. Although I wouldnt class any of these types of boxes as enterprise level.

  6. Stu says :

    Only just found this, but would agree that Netgear ReadyNAS are a pile of crap. Avoid where possible. When we get some cash to replace it with something that’s proper enterprise-grade, we’re going to have a ritual sacrifice of the piece of junk, and then send the pieces back to Netgear.

  7. Darron says :

    Also interested in where this conversation goes. I like the idea of the ReadyNAS, but it seems to have many software issues after many updates to the firmware. Unacceptable.

  8. nemo says :

    I’m trying to upgrade the firmware of my ReadyNas… always fails. Remote, local file, no difference. File gets (at least partly) uploaded/downloaded, machine hangs (no ping), after reset: Old firmware. Sheesh.