I started using Netgear ReadyNAS with the RN104. Anyone who knows their devices will know this is a very early super basic 4 bay NAS appliance. Even though I’m a home user and it’s basically only used by me, I ended up outgrowing its paltry specs. I upgraded to a RN526X. This machine has 6 bays instead of 4 and far more capable hardware. Needless to say, the networking available to it is the bottleneck (my network is 1Gbit, but it can apparently support 10Gbit). Certain disk oriented tasks do hit the spinning rust pretty hard, but this box has met my needs all the way to today. Not bad for having bought it almost 5 years ago!
But I learned something a bit disheartening: Netgear is killing off ReadyNAS.
This doesn’t seem to be super common knowledge. Web pages are already being scrubbed and you can’t really buy them anywhere anymore. But there’s no announcement or notes about it.
This is a problem. Not only does this mean there’s no easy upgrade path should I want a more capable machine, but now the software is a massive wildcard.
ReadyNAS OS 6 is the current major distribution running on these devices. It’s built on Debian Jessie, which is a super old distribution of Debian. People have been calling for an update for quite some time, now, without one in sight. And now, it looks like that won’t happen.
Hell, 6.10 may be the last major release at this point.
This is a connected device. I’m sure Netgear has done their due diligence to ensure security patches made it to their devices despite the old Debian release, but updates will stop, probably soon, and these devices will become targets of attacks.
I’ve been looking around to see if anyone has loaded alternative OSes on these machines. There’s a massive caveat to this as many of the low end machines are ARM based. But the 526X is Pentium D series, which means, hypothetically, it should be able to run any OS that I want that runs on x86 systems.
Sadly, there’s not much information out there.
I plan to work ont his problem, though. I hate to throw away perfectly good hardware because the company behind, one that is not a small fly by night company, mind you, decided to turn it into ewaste for me. The first challenge I might be facing is a custom bios by Netgear that may make this very difficult or even impossible.
I suppose I will be posting about my journey on this, here. Temporarily, I’ll probably have an expensive Wasabi bill, though I guess some of the data on it is pretty disposable.
If all else fails, I have a plan for replacing this thing. I was just hoping to get a bit more life out of it.