|QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 07 February 2012|
Page 12 of 16
1GB Single-Disk Test Results
The bottom line for any storage device is the combination of capacity and transfer speed. For a network attached storage server, the differences are all about the infrastructure that is placed around the basic HDD array. Since capacity is something that's easy to define and measure, the real question for any NAS product is how fast will it Read and Write data. For this reason, Benchmark Reviews measures NAS performance as the bandwidth achieved during a file transfer test. The first tests we perform utilize a single 1GB (1000 megabytes / 1,000,000,000 bytes) file in a transfer to and from the NAS.
Since we started testing NAS units exclusively with Win 7, there aren't as many prior test results to compare with. We'll try and build up the NAS testing as best we can in the next year. In the meantime, we can compare several units from QNAP that we have on hand now. With all the NAS units operating in single disk mode, most of the units have broadly similar performance. The TS-879U-RP comes in ahead on the 1 GB Read tests, primarily due to the faster CPU. The Intel Core i3-based TS-x79 units have way more horsepower under the hood than the Atom-based units, and in turn, the Marvell-based models. Most people don't care too much about single disk performance, but it's useful to get an understanding of any possible issues with the basic architecture of the system. In this case, none of them have issues, and they all turn in good performance numbers.
Moving on to the 1 GB write bandwidth test, our results suggest that while it may sometimes be faster to read files from a hard drive than it is to write files onto it, the opposite is true more often than not in a NAS appliance. The good news is that the TS-879U-RP turns in very strong numbers here, compared to any of the Intel Atom-based models and the Marvell-based units with the weaker CPUs.
The thing that impresses me is how close the TS-879U-RP NAS results get compared to the maximum possible throughput of a GbE network connection. 120 MB/s is the same as 960 Megabits/second, which is just shy of the 1000 Megabits/second that is 1000BASE-T. We are going to see the downside of this in the next section, though. The very thing that makes these products what they are, Network Attached Storage, is the one thing that is holding them back.
Next up is 10 GB (1000 metric megabytes / 10,000,000,000 bytes) file transfer testing. Using the single-disk configuration in each NAS, and a Gigabit Ethernet connection, network throughput will be put to the test, and the effect of any system or hardware caches will be minimized.
10GB Single-Disk Test Results
Examining 10GB basic file transfer speeds, the QNAP TS-879U-RP delivers better read performance than any of the two-bay or four-bay units. The TS-659 Pro II comes the closest in read performance, due to the higher throughput of all the support systems inside the TS-x59 series. The TS-x79 series goes one better, and it shows. These small differences in single-disk performance aren't going to make a huge difference to anyone's day-to-day work, but they do show a clear, steady evolution of NAS infrastructure performance as you move up the product structure. The TS-879U-RP is built to handle the higher throughput of an eight-disk array in a corporate LAN environment, and it shows. The TS-8799U-RP has the best transfer speeds we've ever encountered during our testing and the single disk results are comparable to the RAID 5 performance. Of course, you get none of the advantages of redundancy with a single disk or JBOD, so most NAS users will go for one of the RAID configurations.
In our 10GB write performance tests, the performance of the TS-879U-RP really cleans up, offering at least 50% better performance than any NAS in the test group. The IEEE 802.3ad network connection runs a little slower than the single NIC configuration with 9000 MTU in write tasks. So far, it looks like the dynamic link aggregation (which is limited to 1500 MTU) provides a small advantage in read performance and a more significant decrease in write performance. We'll look at this more closely in the NAS System Overhead Measurements section. For now, we'll just note that this behavior is similar for both the 1GB and 10GB file transfers.
Next we're going to look at RAID 5 performance, where the TS-879U-RP should have an easier time, compared to its lesser siblings in the QNAP product line. Since the QNAP TS-259 Pro and TS-219P+ don't support the RAID5 configuration that we normally use to test large format NAS products, we won't be able to include their results in this comparison.