Upgrading a NetGear Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ to 6TB

Recently, I’ve been evaluating different solutions for upgrading my home storage solution for backup and file storage.  A couple of years ago, I decided to purchase an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+, which offers appliance-level simplicity to deploy a virtualized drive over a flexible RAID system.   It’s a 4-drive system that supports hot-swapping of drives and optimized Ethernet traffic for mixed (Mac & Windows) networks.

I’ve been happy with the ReadyNAS, and performance has been fairly good since I upgraded the Gigabit switch that I use.  However, over the past two years, my storage needs have grown:

  • iMac 27″: 2 TB drive for documents / applications / photos, 2 TB drive for iTunes, 2 TB for Time Machine
  • Macbook: 250GB main drive

The ReadyNAS has 4 750GB drives, providing 2.25 TB of available storage.  At the time I deployed it, my backup needs were about 1 TB, so I could use the drive for backups and incremental updates.

The problem now is the iTunes drive.  It’s too large to backup effectively with Time Machine.  I’ve been using Carbon Copy Cloner to update a disk image of the drive on a weekly basis, but I’ve found that it’s extremely finicky and errors out in a number of situations.  Plus, at 1.6TB, the iTunes library will likely outgrow it’s 2TB home sometime in 2010.  (If you’ve ever purchased a TV season on iTunes, you’ll understand the storage needs).

In order to figure this out, I tried asking the question on Quora, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

So, I decided to make the big move to upgrade the system.  Looking at prices on NewEgg, I decided to opt for the Western Digital WD15EARS SATA 1.5TB drives.  Low power and 64MB of cache.  $109 each.  (Great price – selling the 750GB drives will likely pay for 25% of the upgrade).

Unfortunately, the drive wasn’t listed on the compatibility page on NetGear’s website.  Fortunately, a quick board question provided me with the info I needed – the drives will work, if I upgrade to the new beta firmware (4.1.7 T29).

So that’s what I’m doing tonight:

  • Upgrade firmware
  • One-by-one replace each 750GB drive with a 1.5TB and let it resync
  • Once all four drives are replace and synched, reboot and let it reconfigure to the 4.5 TB logical size.

Once I get the ReadyNAS NV+ to 4.5 TB, I’m going to move my iTunes library to the ReadyNAS.  This way, it can scale easily to more than 2 TB, and I don’t have to worry about backup because of the RAID configuration.  (I have a clone of most of the library on a Mac Mini in the kitchen.)  I will then move the 2 TB drive that currently houses the iTunes library, and move it to the Airport Extreme hub so I can use it as a Time Machine drive for the MacBook.

I’m not sure this information is actually useful to anyone.  My guess is that someone, somewhere out there will want to know that you can, in fact, upgrade the Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ to more than 4TB, and that you can use the Western Digital DV15EARS 1.5TB drives with it.  And maybe, just maybe, someone out there is morbidly curious about the evolution of my network storage.

Or so I hope.  I’ll update this post if anything goes wrong.