Review: Infrant NAS NV+

by Hadley Stern May 28, 2009

With increasing storage demands households are becoming like mini-network centers. We have high-speed internet coming in over ethernet cables. Multiple-computers working off a wireless network. And with digital music and movies the demand for hard disk space keeps growing and growing. There are many solutions to storage issues at home but one of the more popular ones of late are NAS's. Not to be confused with the Hip-Hop artist NAS, Network Attached Storage devices are part hard drives and part computers all rolled into one.

I've been using the Infrant NAS NV+ for a few months now and am very happy with the device. Here are a list of benefits to having an Infrant NAS in your house.

1. A RAID hard drive
My Infrant has four 250 GB hard drives equaling one terabyte of storage. If one of my hard drives fail, as all hard drives do, I don't lose any data. How? By the magic of RAID. Infrant's RAID protocol strips the data across the four drives ensuring safety in case of failure. My 1 terabyte volume works out to about 700 MB after RAID kicks in, but is a worthy sacrifice.

Another neat thing about RAID is upgrading. As drive prices get lower and lower I can upgrade the Infrant at anytime. I just need to add a new (for example) 1 terabyte drive one at a time. Each time after adding the Infrant will take care of adding the data from the other drives to the new one. Once I pop in the forth new 1 terabyte drive I would then have 4 terabytes of storage. In other words, the Infrant is endlessly upgradeable. Very nice!

2. A computer within a hard drive
A normal hard drive is pretty dumb. You plug it in and anything you want to do with it in terms of sharing has to be done by the host computer. Not so with a NAS like Infrant. My Infrant connects, via an ethernet cable, to my home network. It is given a IP address by my Airport and I can connect to its admin control panel through a web browser (Much in the same way as you interact with many routers through a web address). Here I can turn on and control any number of very cool features, including ftp, http, iTunes streaming server, setting up shares, etc. In other words the Infrant is a computer within a hard drive.

3. Time Machine Bliss
The Infrant can be configured to be the Time Machine volume for multiple Time Machine backups. Because of its RAID setup the Infrant is an ideal backup hard drive. After all if your hard drive in your computer fails you don't want to have to worry about your external hard drive failing too. And with the RAID Infrant you won't. Good deal.

4. A network drive for every machine
Sure you can do this with a hard drive hooked up to a Mac but the nice thing about the Infrant is it is always on and is dedicated just to the task of serving up storage. I use the Infrant to store all my music which I then map to multiple Macs. The streaming works fine over the Network. There is also the option, which I've used in the past, to have Infrant set up as an iTunes streaming server. The only thing I don't like about this is that you don't have as robust a browsing experience in iTunes.

Apart from iTunes a home or small office could also use the Infrant as the storage place for all their files, certainly safer than a local hard drive.

5. Add more hard drives with USB
The Infrant has a few USB ports and you can add USB 2.0 External drives to it. I've done this with a couple of old hard drives I have lying around. While you won't gain any of the benefits of RAID the hard drives can be managed as devices within Infrant's control panels. This means all the http, ftp, appleshare rules you set up can be applied to the external drive.

Going the NAS route is more expensive but definitely worth it. Instead of just buying storage you are buying a hybrid between storage and a dedicated computer. Think an OS X server without the cost and complications. So far I am nothing but happy with the NAS and recommend it strongly.

How about you, anyone else out there using NAS devices like the Infrant?


  • I’ve got an NV+ too.  Had it about a year.  Works like a charm.  The people at Infrant (now Netgear) have been pretty good at updating the linux based software it runs, in particular to support OS X (e.g. adding the Time Machine support, faster sharing using AFP etc.) and new drives (e.g. a firmware update was needed to support 1TB disks when they came out).  There are pretty well informed / busy discussion forums for the device too at - including one dedicate to OS X users / issues.

    Only challenge I’ve had (and others too) is getting anything approaching fast network transfers to work well.  The device has G-ethernet and supports Jumbo frames etc, but real-world transfer speeds to Macs seem to max out for most people well below 30Mb/s.  There is also a big performance hit copying many small files (e.g. contents of a MailDir directory) - the system is optimised very much for large media style files.

    But these are minor issues - it is a good stable product.  Saving up for a set of 1Tbyte drives… smile

    glawrie had this to say on May 28, 2009 Posts: 1
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