Netgear ReadyNAS RN526X Moving Forward

TrueNAS Dashboard Running On My Netgear ReadyNAS RN526X!

This may be the final post I make about my ReadyNAS saga. I’ve chosen a platform and it’s up and running and serving my home. The above image is my actual dashboard.

Yeah, I’m running nightly despite the fact SCALE has released. There’s a reason for this.

Essentially, I have given my Netgear ReadyNAS RN526X new life, one that will extend far beyond Netgear’s abandoning the product. I can’t expect Netgear to modernise the OS platform, one that is still running on a grossly aging and heavily patched Debian Jessie, since they have discontinued the product line. This is a risk. This is a risk in security and a risk in the safety of my data on that system. One might say running TrueNAS SCALE NIGHTLY is risky, but is it really any more risky than what Netgear was doing?

Not only have I chosen this platform and prepared for the eventual demise of ReadyNAS OS, I’ve prevented this machine from becoming ewaste way before it’s due. With the hardware inside, and it serving a single person home, so long as the hardware functions, there’s no reason it should be disposed of just because Netgear decided to abandon it. I bought this model to grow into, and there’s still a lot of room to grow. I’m not using its networking to its fullest. I can further upgrade the RAM as my storage increases. I can upgrade to SSD storage. There’s just a lot of room to grow.

There is an aspect of this that is risky, though. TrueNAS is not meant to run from a USB flash drive, but that’s precisely what I’m doing. The system dataset is moved to the data pool so at least the majority of system writes are going there, but there’s definitely still writes going to the USB flash drive. I’ve, somewhat, mitigated this with backups and a bit of redundancy. However, with some noting that this system can kill a cheap USB flash drive in a matter of weeks, I’ll need to keep an eye on this. I am using high endurance microsd cards in a USB adapter, so maybe I can mitigate this problem to some degree, but how these cards are designed to work is with video recording filling the drive in a rolling fashion. This is not, necessarily, going to happen as a boot drive. I might get more wear endurance, but I suspect I’m not going to get the years worth of usage one might see in a security camera. If it becomes a problem, I have other options, such as external hard drives (I actually have one handy that I’m not using right now).

All in all, though, I’m happy with the setup. I’ve got Frigate storing on it, now, and I’m serving my media from it through Jellyfin running on my homelab server. My personal share is back in use, and I’ve set up automated encrypted backups and Wasabi syncing. Honestly, I’ve got a bit more set up and running on this thing than I did with ReadyNAS OS simply because the capability is now there.

So far, there’s been no hiccups, even with running a NIGHTLY build.

Speaking of the NIGHTLY build, I’m fully aware 22.02 was released. By the time I started using TrueNAS SCALE, the NIGHTLY builds were targeting a future release beyond 22.02 and so the version number is higher, so there’s no upgrade path to RELEASE for me as of now. As it seems they tend to do this, I might have to run on the currently installed NIGHTLY build until the next RELEASE comes to make sure I can actually upgrade.

Something else that came out of this whole experience is my experience using Wasabi as my offsite backup for the whole dataset. Normally, I only sync my restic repo over, which only stores my personal share snapshots and snapshots from my homelab server, which comes out to about 300 GB. However, my total usage on the NAS is far higher. Not including the Frigate storage (this is fairly disposable to me), there’s a total of about 2.8 TB of usage, which I sent to Wasabi, and then restored on the new TrueNAS environment. I’ll post more about this experience in another blog post.