7tronics

EonNAS - worth a look as a commercially supported mid-range and SOHO/S

3 posts in this topic

Years ago I worked with a few customers who were very happy with Infortrend's RAID products. Recently I have come across some customers who raved about their experience over the past few years with the EonNAS line of Solaris based NAS with features based on the integral ZFS.
The rack mount line of the EonNAS seem to be the bread and butter for Infortrend NAS products, but I came across some smaller boxes that I've begun using to replace small autoloaders as longer term replacement for what was "nearline" tape storage. The EonNAS 850, 8 SATA bay appliance has the same software base as the rack mount versions and the benefits of being a supported ZFS box. These are NOT expandable as multimedia servers or bittorrent servers directly. They are NAS appliances, serving NFS, CIFS/SMB, iSCSI, and (S)FTP, period.
I have had reasonable responsiveness from Infortrend with problems opened in the past for their RAID products and now for the EonNAS. I started this thread to share some of the quirks and lessons learned that had been accumulated in the customer forums recently turned into FAQs and front-ended by Infortrend staff. For starters, I have no relationship with Infortrend, other than as a satisfied customer for this niche product. Note I have been a fan of ZFS under FreeBSD (NAS4Free), but have very few customers I work with who want a custom built NAS4Free (or FreeNAS) server from a 3 person shop! Infortrend has ups and downs in responsiveness, but are far from the worst IT supplier we've dealt with.
Here are some quirks that took a bit to catch on or wasn't clear (to me) in the manual:
  • to use the external eSATA or USB attach drives you MUST first format the drives. We found NTFS worked well. Nowhere in the manuals is this stated. On the current 1.9.44 firmware and immediate prior release, an unformatted external drive is recognized, as shown by entries in the log, but no formatting option is ever provided. If an external SATA drive up to 4TB is pre-formatted with NTFS partition, it is recognized and usable for replication.
  • eSATA performance is decent, USB2 is not. USB3 should be OK as well (the 850s for some reason include only 1 eSATA port and a bunch of USB2, no USB3 ports)
  • Use "Remote" replication to one of the EonNAS IP addresses in order to copy folders from internal pools to an external device or vice-versa. This isn't intuitive, but works. Same tool to copy from one pool to another.
  • "Recover"ing from the "Backup" tool by default puts the whole backed up folder(s) where they were originally without any option to partially recover. The files are accessible in a folder layout that is visible in the Backup portion of the GUI.
  • Dual core Intel i3 is decent performance on the 8 bay 850. Don't have enough experience with the larger rack mount EonNAS to relate here. The 5x0 series seems way underpowered and with too little memory to exploit deduplication on active pools. The 2x0 series are a headscratcher, since pool export/import is among like models only. Way out of competitive price range for a home 2 drive unit.
  • upgrade the box to more than the base memory if you are going to run deduplication and compression with a lot of I/O. I urge any 850 owner to run with no less than 8GB. Deduplication runs very nicely with more memory
  • ZFS pool export and import is supported on the rack mount EonNAS and should again be supported on the SOHO/SMB "desktop" 8x0 and 5x0 appliances. For some reason a recent update removed the "Export" option while retaining the "Import" option. Support is aware and working on this one.
  • iSCSI support is pretty good from the 850. I was impressed with the performance over a Gb network with dual path support to the box. No experience yet with 10GbE support which is a bit of a pricey option, and haven't seen an aftermarket model available with the 10GbE adapter.
  • Pay attention to the LEDs on the right of a drive when changing out drive drawers. If you mistakenly hit the initial drawer release you may also jar the drive enough for the EonNAS logic to mark the drive "removed" and require a rebuild when pushed back in. We now put black on bright yellow labels adjacent to each EonNAS drive drawer.

More EonNAS features and quirks to come!

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Update on Export as match to still provided "Import" function:

Infortrend support notes that the "entry level" EonNAS (2x0, 5x0, 8x0) do not have "Export" functions in the "Storage -> Pool" portion of the GUI. However if you shut down the source NAS and remove the drives that make up a pool, then you can migrate and install them in another EonNAS of the same model.

In practice, I shutdown the EonNAS 850, removed two pool disks, and installed the drives in an EonNAS 500, and the deduplication, compression, and snapshots were all there and intact!

Great department level or demo platform for key NAS features (in this case mainly due to ZFS):

  • Deduplication
  • Folder level compression
  • Snapshots
  • Data migration
  • Replication
  • iSCSI
  • WORM support

Best, Mark

Edited by 7tronics

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Thank you, 7tronics. This is very helpful.  I have the same unit with 8GB ram, but wish to go to 16GB.  The model number information on the ram chip is not very useful.  Can you recommend a model number for a compatible 8GB (and perhaps a link), I would appreciate it.

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