On this site you will find information regarding the Newisys NA-1400 Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. The main goal of this website is to gather information about the Newisys NA-1400 in order to extend the functionality of this NAS device into an allround server so it can function as the center of a digital home.
With the digital home/livingroom taking off, the need for multifunction mass storage device also rises. Several manufacturers have taken notice of this demand and delivered appliances capable of satisfying most consumers needs. Newisys announced in August 2005 it will also enter this high-end market with their NA-1400.
I have been in search of a device that can function as a multifunction home server for a few years and, in my opinion, the Newisys NA-1400 is one of a very few ‘off the shelf’ products that could be used as a solid basis for this function. Like many other devices in its class, the NA-1400 has been developed by Newisys to only function as a mass-storage device; it will handle data pretty well, but nothing more. Because these devices are built using fast processors, lots of memory and several interfaces, they can also be used to serve other tasks which haven’t been implemented by the manufacturers, like:
Mass-storage devices generally aren’t cheap so I think it’s a pitty that the available resources aren’t fully used. Therefore I will try to add this missing functionality as a hobby project. This website documents what I have done to add functionality to this device and hope that others find this information usefull.
The Newisys NA-1400 is a network attached mass storage device. This means it accessable from a network and is used to store large amounts of data on it’s internal harddisks. It is capable of handling a maximum of four hot-swap S-ATA harddisks and connects to a network using two gigabit ethernet ports. To protect any data stored on the device agains harddisk failure, the device can be configured to use several different RAID levels.
Newisys is targetting the high-end home user and small businesses with the NA-1400 and when it was launched in August 2005 Newisys claimed it would cost approximately $1000 for a 1TB model. Latest news regarding European prices estimate the barebone model will cost around 400 to 500 Euro, therefore a 1TB model would cost around 800 to 900 Euro (based on an barebone version with four 250 GB harddisks).
The heart of the Newisys NA-1400, the Intel XScale 80219 I/O processor is running at 600 MHz. This ARM based CPU is accompanied by an Intel 32144 serial ATA (S-ATA, SATA) controller with 4 ports and 256 MB DDR RAM. This RAM is expandable to a maximum of 512 MB.
Behind the lockable front bezel, four hot-swap drive bays allow up to four S-ATA disks to be installed and removed without opening the housing. Harddisk capacities up to 500 GB are supported, allowing up to 2 GB of storage per device (4 x 500 GB). To minimize peak power consumption the NA-1400 uses a staggered harddisk spin-up implementation.
Connectivity is handled by two gigabit ethernet ports on the back and two USB 2.0 ports on the front of the housing. Expanding the I/O is not possible as there is no parallel/serial port nor mini-pci or pc-card (PCMCIA) slot. However it is likely for future developments to add this option.
The Newisys NA-1400 is powered by an external 120 Watt powersupply. Peak power requirements (on bootup) are estimated around 85 Watt.
The 16 Mb flash disk contains a Redboot bootloader and an ApplianceWare NAS OS built upon a Linux 2.6 kernel. Non essential parts of the software are stored on a small partition on the harddisks, which is probably to save on costly flash.
The RAID functionality is implemented in software and supports RAID levels 0, 1 and 5. Of these three levels RAID-5 is probably the most interesting. RAID-5 is an efficient method of storing data redundant over a number of harddisks (minimal 3) and allows for 1 harddisk to fail while the data is still intact. RAID-5 is considered one of the best RAID levels where performance, reduncdancy and capacity are well balanced.
The data stored on the harddisks are made available to the network by a whole range of protocols of which the most interesting protocols are SMB (Windows networking) and FTP. Recently some performance data has come available which shows reasonable reading speeds, but write speed is low to average depending on the data chunk size.
The USB ports can be used to connect the Newisys NA-1400 directly to a pc. The NA-1400 comes with print server software so it is possible to hookup a printer as well.
The first articles around this device go back to April 2005. The NA-1400 was officially anounced on August 23 2005 but has been subject to delay a lot since then. The device is available in the US since end March and in Europe since early April 2006. A list of news events is listed here.
Newisys was founded by former senior employees from IBM, Unisys and HP and is the company that developed the first commercially available high-end multi-processor servers for the AMD Opteron architecture. With a background like this one could expect much of this appliance.
If you, for any reason, want to contact the administrator of this website, feel free to mail (no spam): L. IJsselstein