The ReadyNAS Upgrade Dilemma

October 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

In a recent blog post, I quickly mentioned the dilemma that you face when you go to upgrade a ReadyNAS box.  I don’t think I made my case very well in that post, so I’m going to go through the process for real, as I’m actually considering upgrading just to get a bit more room.

To understand why there is a dilemma, consider this:

1. To add to an existing array, you must add drives that are the same model as the existing drives.  Usually, these are older, smaller drives than the current “high-end” drives, but since they are rarer now, they may cost more than the original drives did.

2. To easily upgrade an entire ReadyNAS array, you must replace all the drives in the array.  So, if you have a 3 drive array, you must replace all three drives, but if you have a 6 drive array, your only easy upgrade path is to replace all 6 drives.  NOTE: You could rebuild your entire array with fewer, higher capacity drives, but that’s not normally possible for home users, as you’d need to back up the entire array to be able to do this.  And you’d back up your array to…????

So, ideally, you want as few drives as possible, with the highest capacity per drive.

Current Configuration:

3 Western Digital RE3 750 GB Hard Drives out of 6 bays.  This gives me 1.5 TB of redundant storage. (These were originally purchased for $93.02 each on 08-19-2009 from Amazon)

I could add up to three more of these drives, for $105 each (from buy.com), or $315, giving me 3.75 TB of redundant storage.  Notice how this is more (not less, as you’d expect) than I paid for the first three.

Or, I could buy 3 WD RE4 2 TB drives, which go for about $290 each, or $870 total.  That’s a lot…

ReadyNAS’s website contains their official compatibility list which does have some Desktop class drives with 3 year warranties.  The Hitachi 7K2000 goes for about $130 each, or $390 for a set of three, giving me a redundant capacity of 4 TB.

So, if I’m okay with Desktop class drives, for about $30 more than adding 750GB drives, I’d get 250 GB more capacity, but more importantly, I’d get a easier upgrade path.  Instead of being stuck with six 750GB drives that I’d have to replace to add capacity, I could then choose between adding drives 2 TB at a time, or possibly upgrading to a higher capacity drive, should the ReadyNAS support anything larger.

Decisions, decisions…  Of course, I don’t NEED to go from 1.5 TB of capacity all the way to 4 TB right now…  And I do feel more comfortable with the Enterprise class drives…

Ultimately, I think I’ll hold out on upgrading for another month or so, as I did what is probably the most cost effective thing….  I went through and did some cleanup.

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Entry filed under: Networking.

More Drobo-FS/ReadyNAS Love Drobo-FS Drive Upgrade

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