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Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X 10GbE NAS Review

Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X 10GbE NAS Review

Today we're testing one of the fastest NAS products we've encountered. Look inside to see why Chris calls the Netgear 716 "the ultimate enthusiast NAS."

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Thu, Oct 9 2014 8:03 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Netgear

Introduction & Hardware Specifications and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

If you were to build a NAS for yourself, what would you build? Would you start out with an underpowered two-core processor? Or, would you rather have the full power of a quad-core Xeon processor with Turbo to 3.5GHz? What about DRAM; do you want 4GB of vanilla DDR3, or 16GB of ECC DDR3?

Most pedestal style NAS products ship with Atom, Pentium, or Core i3 dual-core processors, and paired with 2GB to 4GB of DRAM. It's a cookie cutter mold; companies tell you what you need, and then make your needs fit into this mold. Some even offer 10GbE capability, but stick with the base platform that can limit performance. If you want to gain more performance, then companies try to push you into large rackmount products that increase exponentially in price, and provide features that everyone may not need, like redundant power supplies, and more drive bays.

Earlier this year Netgear, the largest NAS shipper on the market, broke the mold. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X is a small pedestal NAS with six drive bays, a high performance Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 (L for low power) processor, and a massive 16GB of ECC DRAM. The increased processing power is necessary because the RN716X includes dual 10GbE connectivity as a standard feature, right out of the box.

With disk drive capacity increasing, now up to 10TB in a 3.5" form factor, SMB NAS products no longer need to fit into a 19" rack space to have sufficient capacity. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X specifications sheet lists capacity up to 24TB with the six drive bays, but when it was made, the new larger 8TB and 10TB drives were not announced. Netgear also makes a pedestal expansion unit that increases disk capacity, and you can stack the units.

Hardware Specifications and Pricing

Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O hardware, and the mountain of potential software features.

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The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X looks nearly identical to the ReadyNAS 516 we reviewed early in the year. However, internally, the new RN716X is a different animal. At this time, no one NAS manufacturer ships an equivalent pedestal NAS; the RN716X is a sports car in a parking lot of family sedans.

The core of the system is the Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge E3-1265K v2 quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.5GHz and a Turbo speed of 3.5GHz. The 16GB of ECC DRAM feeding the processor is four times the standard for pedestal NAS products on the market today.

The processing power specifications may seem like overkill, but the RN716X needs the power to effectively use the dual 10GBase-T network communication ports that are responsible for I/O to and from the system. The system also has two additional gigabit Ethernet ports for failover, or to run this system as the central storage for four networks at the same time.

Three eSATA ports on the back of the ReadyNAS RN716X increase storage capacity potential. The system also has two USB 3.0 ports on the back, and a single USB port on the front for quick, removable storage like thumb drives. The system also has a HDMI port on the back.

The ReadyNAS RN716X isn't your everyday NAS, so don't expect an everyday NAS price. At the time of writing we were able to find the RN716X for $2885.99. That is squarely in rackmount NAS territory, but not rackmount units with this much processing power or this density of DRAM. Newegg lists the ReadyNAS 716X with a three-year warranty, but end users can purchase additional coverage from Netgear.

PRICING: You can find the Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X retails for $3,481.23 at Amazon.

Software Features

NAS products are equal parts hardware performance and software features. One complements the other in a balanced product. You need more hardware performance to run more software features at the same time.

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The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X has numerous features; more than we can adequately cover in detail here today.

Packaging and Accessories

Packaging

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The ReadyNAS RN716X ships in a single, but dense box.

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The foam inside the package protects the NAS well. The corners are treated with a double dose of foam, since corners are the most likely place to be damaged on a cardboard box should a package be dropped or mishandled.

Accessories

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The accessory package includes three power cables for international use, and an Ethernet cable.

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Four paper manuals, and a software disk are also included.

Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X

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Here we get our first look at the Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X. Without power, the front of the system has a flat black look. When the system is powered, the front lights up. Proximity sensors act as buttons, so you can monitor the status, or configure the NAS.

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The power button is located behind the non-locking door. The drive bays are also revealed with the door open. Sadly, there isn't a way to lock the drive sleds, but the system does use AES 256-bit encryption if data security is a concern.

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The RN716X is quite small for the performance it packs.

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Aside from the front USB port, all of the I/O connectivity is on the back of the NAS.

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The RN716X uses an inboard power supply. Looking at the larger image (by clicking on it), you can see that the PSU fan is actually away from the edge of the vent opening. This reduces noise from the small PSU fan. You can also see the Kingsington lock hole in this image.

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The large fan at the top of the unit keeps the drives and internal components cool. The RN716 is a very quiet NAS, both at rest and under load.

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The system has three eSATA ports, along with two gigabit Ethernet ports, a HDMI port, and two USB 3.0 ports.

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Dual 10GBaseT comes from an add-in card. With most 10GbE NAS products, the client side NAS location software isn't able to find the NAS because the MAC address is from another manufacturer. Netgear managed to make a NAS that allows the client side software find the RN716X, even when you use the 10GbE ports.

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Vibration is isolated from the desk or shelf with four foam rubber feet on the bottom of the system.

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We wanted to get a peek inside at the 10GBaseT card, but it wasn't possible without completely tearing the system down.

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The system is well put together from all sides.

Test System Setup

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Our NAS test "system" has migrated to three 42u racks, much like what you'd find in a datacenter. There are ten servers that attack the target NAS with 120 Hyper-V installations of Windows 7 64-bit, each with a dedicated gigabit Ethernet port. The systems feed to three Extreme Networks X450e-48p switches and then to a Supermicro SSE-X3348TR top-of-rack switch. The device being tested connects to the Supermicro switch via 1GbE, 10GbE, or 40GbE. The iSCSI and NASPT tests use a single machine connected to the Supermicro switch.

This level of testing wouldn't be possible without the help of, and support from several companies, many of which have little to do with NAS products. We would like to thank AVADirect, Antec, Corsair, GIGABYTE, Icy Dock, Kingston, LSI, Noctua, Rosewill, Seagate, Thermaltake, and Western Digital for their much-appreciated support.

Intel NASPT

The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance. Designed to emulate the behavior of an actual application, NASPT uses a set of real-world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications. Traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation, and more provide a broad range of different application behaviors.

TweakTown Custom 120-Client Office Test

The TweakTown Custom 120-client Office Test uses 120 Windows 7 Hyper-V installations and custom software to stress each NAS with traces from Microsoft Office tasks. Both throughput (in Mbits per second) and latency (in milliseconds) are measured.

Seagate NAS HDD

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TweakTown uses Seagate NAS hard drives for all of our NAS tests. You can read our full review of the Seagate NAS HDD here.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR 10GbE / 40GbE Switch

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With a switching fabric of 1284 Gbps through forty-eight 10GbE ports with RJ45 connectors, and four 40GbE QSFP connectors, the SSE-X3348TR is our switch of choice for testing SMB and enterprise network attached storage products. Many server and motherboard manufacturers have included 10GbE on top-tier offerings. 2015 will be the year for a 10GbE take over.

Benchmarks - RAID 5 Single Client Performance

Benchmarks - RAID 5

RAID 5: Block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks.

HD Video Playback

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HD Video Play - 720p HD stream from Windows Media Player 256kB reads

2HD Video Play - 2x playback

4HD Video Play - 4x playback

HD Video Record

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HD Video Record - 720p HD stream, 256kB writes

HD Video Play & Record - one playback, one record simultaneously

2x HD Video Play & 2x Record - two playback, two record simultaneously

Content Creation

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Photo Album - All reads - wide distribution of sizes

Office Productivity - Reads and writes, 1kB & 4kB reads; Mostly 1kB writes

Content Creation - 95% writes; 1k, 4k & little reads; Writes up to 64kB

File / Directory Transfer

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Directory Copy From NAS - 64kB reads

Directory Copy To NAS - Predominantly 64kB writes, wide scattering under 16kB

File Copy From NAS - 4GB file copy, 64kB reads

File Copy To NAS - 64kB writes

Single Client Performance Summary

Here we use a single client system with a 10GbE connection to the network to run Intel's NASPT against the target NAS products. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X is significantly faster when reading and writing large sequential files (HD Playback and HD Record) than the other 10GbE units we're comparing it to today. The content creation / office tests show similar results when the NAS products work with small files from a single client system.

Benchmarks - iSCSI Enterprise Workloads

Database

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File Server

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Email Server

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Web Server

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Workstation

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iSCSI Enterprise Workload Summary

The iSCSI workloads show a very large difference between the Netgear RN716X with 16GB of DRAM and a Xeon processor, and the Thecus models with a Core i3, Pentium processors, and 4GB of DRAM. The Netgear system blazes through the tests, and the performance increases significantly as the queue depth increases. This happens in every test using the iSCSI protocol.

Benchmarks - iSCSI Workload Latency

Database

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File Server

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Email Server

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Web Server

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Workstation

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iSCSI Enterprise Latency Summary

The latency is very low in all of the iSCSI workloads as well. In the Web Server test, the latency is nearly nonexistent.

Workload Power Consumption

We level the playing field in our power consumption test by using a single Seagate NAS 4TB HDD in each system during the test. This allows us to test the power consumption of the NAS, and not the amount of HDDs in it. It also allows us to test different drive count systems, and still compare the power consumption from the server and not the drives.

There are four tests, but each test section has a load and a cool down idle. The load portion is at the start of each section, and the idle is the second half.

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You might think that since the Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X delivers higher performance in our iSCSI workloads, that it would use more power. That is actually not the case. The two most power hungry systems, Thecus N8900 and Thecus N8810U-G, use redundant power supplies, so we expected those systems to use more power. On the other hand, the Thecus N7710-G is a single PSU system like the Netgear RN716X, but still uses more power than the Netgear RN716X.

Benchmarks - Multi-Client Test

The Intel NAS Performance Tool (NASPT) is an excellent way to determine NAS performance in a single user environment. Any review that only uses NASPT assumes that only a single computer will access the target NAS at one time. We took issue with this method of testing, and spent over a year designing, building, programming, and finally validating the TweakTown Multi-Client Test.

The test uses Microsoft Office data recorded to traces and played back to the NAS from up to 120 client Windows 7 installations (clients). We record total throughput of all clients, and the average response time per client.

Over time, we will populate the two multi-client charts with several NAS products from a span of categories. The products range from a dual Xeon server with 2x 10GbE to a two-bay NAS with a single gigabit Ethernet connection. The products will fall into their performance categories based on performance, and not marketing material or opinion.

Throughput

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Despite crushing the other servers in the single client SMB/CIFS and iSCSI tests, the ReadyNAS RN716X is significantly slower in our multi-client test that scales from one to 120 SMB clients reading and writing office files to and from the NAS. The workload is nearly all small files, updates, and saves to genuine office files. In the single client tests, we observed the comparison products performing faster than the RN716X, and that carries over to this test as well.

Latency

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Here we see the latency chart for comparing these three 10GbE NAS systems. While it looks like a very large separation between the systems, the trick is the latency never gets above 2.55 ms, even with 120 clients reading and writing to the RN716X. It's important to remember that in reviews we split hairs to find differences in products. The charts take a small difference, and magnify it.

Final Thoughts

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The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X isn't your everyday home NAS that serves audio and video files to your home theater. The system has ample processing power, a large bank of DRAM, and two fat pipes to your network. The system is overkill for home, or even most small office use, but I'm not sold on its use in an enterprise environment since there isn't a way to secure the drives in the unit.

Multimedia professionals could easily use the system for HD, or even 4K work, even when you have more than one person working on more than one project at a time. Large sequential files pass through this NAS very quick; it's one of the RN716X's strongest features.

As the flagship model in Netgear's ReadyNAS pedestal product series, we never expected this unit to have a low price. I can say we didn't really expect the RN716X to cost $2885.99 diskless either. That's a lot for a pedestal NAS, but this is also the fastest pedestal NAS on the market. It's faster than most SMB, and even some enterprise rackmount units that cost the same, or more. It's a lot of NAS for a small market, but if you want the fastest pedestal unit on the market, then this is it.

PRICING: You can find the Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X retails for $3,481.23 at Amazon.

TweakTown award
Performance98%
Quality including Design and Build95%
General Features94%
Bundle and Packaging97%
Value for Money92%
Overall95%

The Bottom Line: Netgear's RN716X is overkill for most, but just right for professionals looking to decrease render times and increase user count. Netgear built the fastest pedestal NAS on the market, but it doesn't come with a low price tag.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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