ReadyNAS, iSCSI, and VMware

August 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

The ReadyNAS team on August 3rd released a brand spanking new version of ReadyNAS firmware for their x86 based NAS devices.

What’s real news here though, is that they have an add-on available for the Pro Pioneer (which I happen to have) and NVX that adds iSCSI support, something previously reserved for their more business-class brethren.

For many months now, I’ve been running a Virtual Machine off of my ReadyNAS.  I did so because I wanted the certainty of the VM being protected by RAID.  It is the Switched-On Schoolhouse server for my kids home school, so the data is very important (has to be reviewed yearly, school records and stuff), and since multiple kids are hitting this VM simultaneously 5 days a week, it is constantly being updated.

VMware Fusion on my iMac is what powers this VM, and it works great for this purpose.  Using the VMware “Auto-Protect” feature, it takes snapshots every hour, keeping 7 snapshots (3 hourly, 2 daily, and 2 weekly).  I’m not certain that I’ll ever need the weekly ones, but I’ve needed the hourly ones a few times, and I could see the need for the daily ones as well.  This Auto-Protect feature uses up about another 25% of the disk space that the VM would otherwise use, but the extra layer of protection it gives me is worth it.

Anyhow, the Auto-Protect feature took about 20-30 seconds to do it’s thing every hour, and the general performance of the VM was not great, but that primarily seemed to affect the Teacher interface.  So, redundancy was good, performance wasn’t great, but it worked.

Today, I’ve converted this VM over to an iSCSI target (as opposed to the CIFS share).  Now, the VM is handled like a locally attached block device, instead of a network share.  The performance difference is astounding.  An Auto-Protect save now takes like 1 second.  GUI performance is noticably faster.  Way faster.

It’s like the ReadyNAS upgrade just gave me a free turbo boost!  Thanks Netgear!

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Entry filed under: Mac, Networking.

Drobo FS info Thank you Comcast!

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