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Friday, June 13, 2008

Galaxy NAS: First Impressions and Issues

It has been a few weeks since I installed and setup my Galaxy MGB-RAID PRO NAS device on my home network. Since that time I have had the opportunity to consistently use the drive as I intended and can accurately report on my experiences with it.

Galaxy 3500MGB-RAID Pro GIGA-NAS my recent purchase

First, let’s talk about my installation and first use experience. After I assembled the device and plugged it in, the light on the front of the NAS server turned on and I assumed the device was powering up. After about 30 seconds with no lights or hard drive activity – I began wondering if I had assembled the device improperly. I tried to access the server via the setup utility, but no connectivity was able to be established.

Fortunately, all I needed to do was unplug the power from the NAS, plug it back in and I heard the familiar sound of hard drives spinning up. We were in business.

Over the next couple of minutes I proceeded through the basic setup of the NAS. First I assigned the network information I desired like the IP address, some other basic settings. Then, I setup the disk storage subsystem into the desired state – 2 500GB drives in a RAID 1 configuration to give me a great combination of storage and redundancy.

Once everything was configured, I rebooted.

For some reason after that first reboot, the network settings were lost, fortunately the storage configuration remained. All of a sudden, I began to question my purchase – did I make the right decision by going the cheap route? I went ahead and entered the configuration information again – wondering if it was just a case of me not saving the settings. Once more, I reboot the NAS device – good news, the settings saved and the NAS was up and ready to be found on the network.

Connectivity from Windows Vista was a cinch. Just peering into my network settings, Vista recognized the device “Hanscom-NAS” to which I was able to connect and quickly setup a mapped drive to.

Now for the first big test – to copying all the files, movies, music, and videos to my NAS device; all the ones that I had been previously storing on my second hard drive. I fired up ROBOCOPY (which I had to change my usage of – more here) and started the copy of about 150,000 files to the NAS device.

The copying was looking fine when about 20 minutes in and 70% completed I started seeing the same error message scroll across the screen:

It looked like the copying started to fail. I tried to connect to the shared storage via Windows Vista, but I could not connect. I quick visit to the web based configuration panel and I could access the control panel. When I went to the storage information page, there was a funky message.

I assumed the device was having an issue, so I rebooted it. After the reboot, the NAS was fine and the majority of the data that had copied was fine.

The errors appear to have occurred with larges numbers of tiny files were being copied between the computer and the NAS device. I actually experienced this issue two other times, with copies exceeding over 100,000 files – by rebooting and restarting, it appears to have resolved the issue. The only guess I have is that perhaps due to the differences in the file systems and the high rate of copying, the NAS device gets out of sync with the desktop when large numbers of small files are copied, causing the issue where the device locks up or the storage is non-responsive.

Definitely not the best first use experience. Had I written this article immediately afterwards, I would have been relatively disappointed – and concerned about the stability of my data on the NAS.

The good news is that after the first use experience, things seemed to really stabilize. In the last several weeks, I have not had any additional issues using the Galaxy MGB-RAID Pro NAS server. My usage has continued to be rather heavy including copying / verifying 300,000 files each day as well as using it for storage for music streaming. I have not had to reboot or tinker with any of the settings put in place during the first use.

Performance is good, exactly what I need.

The Galaxy MGB-RAID Pro NAS may be a device that you consider “green” and environmentally friendly to some extent. While no configuration exists for it, the hard drives and the system will go to sleep after being left idle for a pre-determined amount of time. It is not particularly noticeable other than the occasional sound of the drives spinning up on a first use basis.

The NAS is also fairly quiet, in that whatever little fan noise exists is barely audible or noticeable amidst the hum of the other computers in the room. This is common knock on other NAS devices and the Galaxy is fairly exceptional in this regard.

In summing up my experience thus far, the Galaxy NAS is exactly what I hoped for, even considering the rough start. For $300 (including hard drive purchases), I was able to get RAID 1 storage capability of 500GB (1TB RAW) that performs well and is reliable, includes optional ports for USB and a gigabit Ethernet connection. It is hard to ask much more from a device, especially at that price point.

I have not used either the print server or USB connectivity yet, but over time I hope to move my LaserJet 3050 and other devices to the Galaxy. We will see how that goes.

Are you thinking of the Galaxy NAS or have an experience with it? Let me know with a comment.

Update: My MGB Raid Pro just died after only 13 months. Click here to read more.


Domine said...

Ken -

I appreciate your time spent on this post. I read your late-May post with anticipation of this first impression. I'm still considering several systems and am leaning towards this Galaxy product. Your insight and attention to detail have been refreshing and I appreciate your generosity.

I'm a very technical person, but have wine taste and beer money. This NAS seems to fit my level of involvement and budget in that it needs a bit of patience during setup, yet is a low-cost/high-feature alternative.

Thank you again!

Houston, TX

Ken Hanscom said...


Glad you got some value out of it. The price was right and it seems (based on other reviews) to perform at least as good as the $200-400 enclosures you see out there.


Anonymous said...

I have this and I have 2 issues with it.

1. The Btorrent doesn't work. I've set up torrents and a week later, they're still sitting at 0% (and I did click the start button)

2. The RAID 1 rebuild doesn't work.
I setup the RAID 1, added data, removed a drive, put in a new drive, and it sits all day without rebuilding.
The option is to kill the RAID (which loses your data) and rebuild it.

But for the price, I'll live with it. If a hard drive fails, the other will continue to work fine which would give me time to copy off to another drive before I rebuild it.

I also get pretty fast speeds on 100mbit network. Running XP, Linux (current Ubuntu and FC9) and OSX (Panther). Don't know what people complain about slow speeds for. I also can stream movies from it to a media player (Mediagate 350HD) live with no problem.

Anonymous said...

How much CPU and memory does this linux NAS have?

You might check out the the NAS-4220 forum which suppose to share same feature as MGB-Raid pro.

Sheila said...

Thank you so much for posting this!!! I found it while searching for information on why my computer wasn't recognizing my newly-installed Galaxy RAID Pro. After reading your post, I unplugged it, and plugged it back in, and sure enough - it works!

- Sheila

Clint said...

Thanks for your posts and evaluation of the product. I just put together mine yesterday and was wondering what other people thought about it. The only problem I've had with it so far was due to my own ignorance. Your pictures and post made me realize what the heat sensor was and now I feel dumb. :(

Oh well, my drives don't seem any worse for wear after one day of use without the heat sensor, and now it's corrected and running again.

I love this thing.

Anonymous said...

I've had this for 4 months, using a couple of 2TB Hitachi drives. Raid 1 is flaky at best!

Also tends to disconnect on occasion so you need to remount almost daily.

There are so many better NAS options out there these days, it just isn't worth buying this, even if it's only $60.