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Thread: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

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    Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    I know its mostly the disgruntled people who post, not the satisfied ones. However here I am, one of the unhappy ones. And I just want to cast a vote in favor of something else in case someone else is on the fence about what to buy.

    I bought an Infrant NV+ then refused delivery because I saw so glowing numbers in terms of performance from the Thecus.

    In hind sight I'm thinking that that was a mistake.

    First of all the 5200 has lost it's config twice in 5 days. The "raid expansion" is a complete joke. Good thing I'm a unix admin for a living or I would never have gotten it done. I ultimately installed ssh, then manually expanded the vg and lv. Then manually resized the filesystem. The web interface is -useless-. All it did was say that there wasn't space to do what i wanted even though it would see that all the drives were in use etc. Supports response was "Try clicking on expand"....... yeah I pretty much tried that already but thanks.

    Now this morning for the second time in 3 days I can't login. It is stuck in a loop of saying password is invalid and I'm not authorized. Different browsers, different computers, deleted cookies, blah blah blah... Nothing other than resetting the config will resolve this. Downside...... I lose my config just to regain access. This includes my ACL and all my service state settings.

    This is in my opinion an unstable device not fit for production use. I need a NAS to be 2 things. Fast and Stable. I can live with difficult to setup as long as it's fast and Stable. This thing is only fast.

    Also.... iscsi was a big selling point for me. However this device will not work with either of the initiators available for OSX. That doesnt help me at all.

    Now to see if I can return this thing and find something else. The question is what else is there? All I see are more poor options.

    On the upside I like the device itself. It's a cool piece of hardware other than the fact that for 850 bucks I would like to see a hardware raid rather than a software one but I know they are in business to make money and more hardware is more cost.

    If you like blue lights, buy this. If you want a solid piece of hardware buy something else.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    All opinions are important and valued on forums like this to educate existing owners and the potential buyers.

    The firmware definately is a work in progress which gives Thecus devices a bit of personality, but this is why I'm confused about everyone doing modules and advanced configuration changes which adds even more risk.

    I recommend to keep it simple, and you should have no problems at all. I upgraded my unit to the 2.00.01 firmware the day it arrived, formatted RAID 5 on 5tb (took 2 days for that to complete), and this thing has been super solid and stable for me since. And it is screaming fast.

    We all have a little hacker in us to buy something so bleeding edge, but my recommendation to potential buyers is if you want a Linux box buy a Linux box. If you want an appliance to store your data, so far I have few complaints and have been happy. I would say though, in this new global world we have found ourselves in, it is confusing why Thecus cannot contract or find someone to do as good a job with the manual/documentation as they have done with the hardware. Many questions on this site should be addressed in the documentation. Simple things like whether to use the LAN port or WAN port as the default should not be so mysterious (use WAN for simple environments, which is confusing to use WAN port for your LAN).

    Mickey

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    I have no problems using the OS X iscsi initiator "globalSAN3.0b1150.dmg" with my new 5200 pro. However it is not faster than connecting using SMB so I don't use it. In anycase to make the target available to multiple clients I would need to share the target through another computer which would decrease the performance even more.

    I have had no problems with my 5200 pro but I only upgrade to the latest firmware after checking that there are no problems with it. I use SSH, FTP and SYSUSER modules.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    How did you configure the globalsan? I tried it and while it would browse the targets just fine from the configured portal it wont mount them. always fails. in the globalsan forum there are a handful of other thecus users with the identical problem. I think they would love to hear how you got it to work (as would I)

    As I said, I think the device is cool I just dont find it to be stable. Periodically being locked out and requiring a configuration reset to regain access is unacceptable. As is the fact that the basic raid management tools don't work for me and require me to ssh in and do everything by hand.

    Today I dropped in a 5th disk. Added a new raid (existing 4disk raid5 + 1disk jbod). Wiped out my raid5 array. Luckily I already distrust the unit so I have all my data in other places still. Now 6 hours later I'm still waiting for it to finish rebuilding and it's uncertain if I'll have to go through this again when I try to add that 5th disk again.

    I maintain that this is a nice fast unit. Its nice hardware. But its very unstable. Dangerously so.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    I was going to get a NV+ but after reading their forums, they still have endless beta's and tons of people pissed off as well. What firmware are you using?

    I just got mine a few weeks ago, popped in 3 - Seagate 1TB disks in Raid5 and it's been working like a champ. I threw in 2 other disks for Raid0 iscsi and that works great with XP.

    I too am scared to lose all my data so I already brought it to work and backed it up to our LTO2 tape unit (all 1.8TB ) just in case!

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    nexusone:

    1) "...it would browse the targets just fine from the configured portal it wont mount them..."
    -> If you get this far you have iscsi working. You need to go to "Disk Utilities" on the OS X client machine and initialize the mounted target as an +HFS disk. Can you tell me your read & write performance after you have done this? Thanks

    2) Yes it does take several hours to rebuild so your 6 hours+ does not surprise me.

    3) Sorry to hear your device is unstable. But maybe it is a problem with using unsupported harddisks? But it is also possible that your unit may have particular problems and in which case you could return it for a replacement/refund under standard consumer protection laws, at least this is possible in the UK.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    dlovely:
    How do you do the tape backup? Do you do this via another machine on your Lan or by connecting the tape drive to the thecus itself? Thanks

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    I am confused - mine is doing fine, I've used it for about 2 months now and not had any issues at all - and migrated an array from an old 5200 to use in it...!

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    xueloop:

    I'm glad you got iscsi working with globalSAN, but like nexusone I've never been able to get the target "connected". It will show up in the globalSAN target tab, but if you try to connect to it you get an error (globalSAN error code 1F02). Without the connection, it will not be available to format in disk utility.

    What setup are you using? I have the n5200PRO, gigabit ethernet, gigabit switch, jumbo on, MacPro running 10.4.10. I'm able to use the SMB/AFP partition . . . but never the iscsi partition.

    Thanks in advance.

    Also, FYI, I was able to use the same Mac and Windows XP (Parallels) and was able to connect to n5200 via window iscsi initiator . . . I just can't get it working with OS X.
    Last edited by macguy; 09-11-2007 at 04:53 PM. Reason: added more info.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by xueloop View Post
    dlovely:
    How do you do the tape backup? Do you do this via another machine on your Lan or by connecting the tape drive to the thecus itself? Thanks
    I use netbackup here at work and just mapped to the cifs shares to do the backup to an adic tape library. It took a long time to do it but I wasn't in a rush. From the master/media server you just create a policy pointing to the unc path on the 5200. We have NDMP here at work for our crappy EMC celerra's! too bad it wouldn't work on thecus though...

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    dlovely
    Ah yes I seem to remember your posts of netbackup now. I want to be able to plug a tape drive directly into the 5200 but I guess this is not possible without some hacking around ...

    macguy
    I bought my 5200 pro maybe 4 weeks ago. When I first investigated trying to get iscsi working I remembered seeing your post and so believed it was not possible using OS X. After a week of doing other things I decided to have try anyway. At first I too got an error msg. A few days later I tried again and when playing around in the web interface I "did something" and suddenly it was all working. Sorry I really cannot remember what I did but it was a single operation. I initialize the disk in OS X and the size was correct compared to the space I had allocated in the 5200 using the web interface. I was going to post about it but got side tracked. With the iscsi up and running I did various performance tests but the results were dreadful so it all seemed pretty pointless and I just put it down to iscsi being add to device as a marketing feature.

    I will try to test it again next week when I am back at work.

    I used 10.4.10 on a G4 PowerBook and a G5 PowerMac. I have no idea if the Intel Macs will work. Maybe I needed to add a user to have rights to the iscsi partition or something. I cannot really remember except to say it was a trivial change made using the web interface. Jumbo Frames were enabled and I was using the Wan port.

    Sorry I cannot be more help.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    And like you macguy, I am also using gigabit ethernet with a gigabit switch

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    I'll try messing around with it over the weekend . . . at least I know you got it working with GlobalSAN. If you find out what the setting is . . . I'm sure I'm not the only one that would appreciate it

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    Yep any light shed on this is appreciated. Also some real performance numbers would be nice so we can compare with each other when we do get it working.

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    Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by xueloop View Post
    nexusone:

    1) "...it would browse the targets just fine from the configured portal it wont mount them..."
    -> If you get this far you have iscsi working. You need to go to "Disk Utilities" on the OS X client machine and initialize the mounted target as an +HFS disk. Can you tell me your read & write performance after you have done this? Thanks

    2) Yes it does take several hours to rebuild so your 6 hours+ does not surprise me.

    3) Sorry to hear your device is unstable. But maybe it is a problem with using unsupported harddisks? But it is also possible that your unit may have particular problems and in which case you could return it for a replacement/refund under standard consumer protection laws, at least this is possible in the UK.
    I've swapped out some of my disks even though they were on the supported list I've never trusted WD and have had a long history of problems. They are now all hitachi and seagate which in my experience have been flawless. We'll see.

    I'll have another go with iscsi.

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    Exclamation Re: Buy something else! - N5200 Pro

    After living with one of these for a few months I have to agree with the first post. I would not consider these units for production use. Although mine is stable It took an age to setup due to 'simple issues'
    For example:-

    I coud not get it to connect to AD, this was a timesync issue even though I had the right time - turns out that the n5200 can't seem to handle DST, even thought there were 3 choices of GMT in the time zone...Solution, Set the clock 1 hour out from server time!

    I could not connect to the n5200 from servers with my DMZ, this goes through ISA (Acting as a router), apparently it was my 'fault' as I had link aggregation turned on (for a 2gig connection to my backbone), this breaks the gateway function of the n5200 and makes it non routable outside of the local segment....Solution, only use the 'WAN' connection

    I could not use BackupExec11d to backup to the NAS, this is a limitation of 11d (It only supports backing up to LOCAL disks when using granular recovery features). So I converted all the space to iSCSI and attempted to connect to it from a 2003sp2 server using the MS initiator. This failed until I dropped the iSCSI space to below 55%. It works fine now but i've lost over 1TB of disk space...
    ...Solution, none so far - and i've no more 30 hours left to rebuild the array - AGAIN.

    I tried to use the eSATA port to offer additional space for ghost images, this immediatly failed as the 1Tb disk was not formatted - after formatting using WinXP it still failed as NTFS is not supported (and yes I understand that MS won't license NTFS with linux). I re-formatted the disk using FAT32 and it seemed to work but reported free space as >2Tb ! so i didn't dare use it.....Solution, None - even after emailing unit configuration data direct to support over a month ago.
    And even if it had it's shown correctly it would have been under USB HDD - what is that all about? I have to use \\nas\usbhdd\foldername. I know it's not the end of the world but talk about confusing.

    I'm using it now and it's fast and stable, BUT i've lost clumps of hair in the process. The direct support option offers one line answers that echo the badly worded user manual, when you try and expand those answers and get to the bottom of the problem you get the same answer repeated or silence.

    This unit appears on the face of it to support any configuration you could throw at it, the ability to expand arrays and add external storage mean it's future proof (As far as that term goes). AD Integration and iSCSI means it can adapt as your network changes, all true as my experience has shown but just not as expected. If the support and implementation of the device was as good as the technical vision that spawned it, there would be no equal and rule supreme. But as a network admin I am charged with implementing scalable and supportable sollutions - this one leaves me wanting and will not have the 'nerve' to use one in production again.

    It's in and it's staying as is, it is not setup as I had wanted but it's near enough to warrant it's cost.

    My advice inline with with the topic title, If your willing to get your hands dirty and spend time reading through this forum for show stopping obstacles to your requirements then this unit is a good buy. But if your at ALL unsure about this unit's suitability for your specific requirments then avoid it - buy some DAS for your existing server or expand it's capacity the old fassioned way and if you absolutely need NAS functionality then buy a more simple unit - yes it won't have as many features but I bet the features work as expected....

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