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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network
Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 07 February 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack Server
QNAP v3.5 New Features-Home
QNAP v3.5 New Features-Business
Closer Look: QNAP TS-879U-RP
Insider Details: QNAP TS-879U-RP
Technology Details: QNAP TS-879U-RP
QNAP Turbo NAS Features
QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Hardware
QNAP TS-879U-RP Software
QPKG Center Software Expansion
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
RAID 5 Test Results
NAS System Overhead Measurements
NAS Server Final Thoughts
QNAP TS-879U-RP Conclusion

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.

QNAP_TS-879U-RP_Turbo_NAS_Server_Bandwidth_Test_1GB_Read_Basic.jpg

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.

QNAP_TS-879U-RP_Turbo_NAS_Server_Bandwidth_Test_1GB_Write_Basic.jpg

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.

QNAP_TS-879U-RP_Turbo_NAS_Server_Bandwidth_Test_10GB_Read_Basic.jpg

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.

QNAP_TS-879U-RP_Turbo_NAS_Server_Bandwidth_Test_10GB_Write_Basic.jpg

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.



 

Comments 

 
# I3 with AES-Ni ?Moogle Stiltzkin 2012-02-16 02:29
Since when did Intel I3's have AES-Ni instruction ?

QNAP currently only has 2 rack models with the x79 name that has XEON cpus which do have AES-Ni.

But the other X79 models only have Intel I3 cpus, and last i checked they didn't have AES-Ni instructions on them ..... yet your saying otherwise ? Got any references for that ?

However despite that, Jason from QNAP is claiming their tests on the 879U-RP with AES encryption could achieve 100MB/s in both read & write in Gigabit environment.

His a trustable guy so i'll believe that :X but what i doubt is your claim that i3 cpus have AES-Ni ....
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# Face Palm...Bruce 2012-02-16 06:08
Just looked it up on Intel site, and you're right. There are 141 products with AES-NI. No i3's though.
ark.intel.com/search/advanced?AESTech=true

Well, I've got some re-writing to do....

FWIW, my initial testing with AES-256 supports Jason's claims. The GbE bottleneck is the dominant factor.

Thanks for pointing this out.
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# RE: QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack ServerMoogle Stiltzkin 2012-02-16 06:35
yeah, all that matters is the result. doesn't matter if it has AES-Ni or not (although it's good to have since it's suppose to accelerate AES encryption so why not) since all comes down to whether it can perform well even with AES 256 encryption enabled.

Jason says it does 100 mb/s and that in my opinion is very good. I was worried and confused why they opted for the i3's which are basically almost the same as i5's but without the aes-ni. But from the results, seems my worries were unfounded ? As i was expecting results like these which was an article by tomshardware showing how bad performance was on many NAS brands across the board that didn't use encryption acceleration such as AES-Ni.

##tomshardware.com/reviews/nas-encryption-aes-ni,2873.html


Anyway i wonder if you would be kind enough to add to your review, a chart showing AES 256 encryption performance of the i3 QNAP to help back up Jason's claim. I trust Jason, but other people who don't know him will want proof from third party sites like yours to see if what QNAP claims is true or not.

I'm also interested to know whether the other i3 QNAP models such as the 1079 can achieve the same good results for aes 256 encryption, as well as compare the results with Synology Diskstation DS3611xs which sports a Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1225 cpu.
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# Follow-Up testingBruce Bruce 2012-02-16 07:07
Yes, I plan to do a follow-up article which will focus on performance improvements with the optional 10GbE interface, and to document the AES-256 performance. Take a look at the last chart in the NAS System Overhead Measurements section of this article. That's one of the tests I ran with AES-256 enabled, and the CPU looks like it still has some headroom left, when running of the Gigabit interface. I'll have full results in the follow-up article.
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# RE: QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack ServerMoogle Stiltzkin 2012-02-16 06:44
Quote:
FWIW, my initial testing with AES-256 supports Jason's claims. The GbE bottleneck is the dominant factor.


And lets not forget conventional hard drives may also be a bottle neck ?


The fastest read and write maximum throughput for a hard drive is Seagate's New Barracuda 3TB (ST3000DM001)

##anandtech.com/show/5042/seagates-new-barracuda-3tb-st3000dm001-review


Read Throughput Maximum: h2benchw 3.16
193.55
##tomshardware.com/charts/hdd-charts-2012/Read-Throughput-Maximum-h2benchw-3.16,2900.html


Write Throughput Maximum: h2benchw 3.16'
191.47
##tomshardware.com/charts/hdd-charts-2012/Write-Throughput-Maximum-h2benchw-3.16,2903.html
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# 8xBruce Bruce 2012-02-16 07:12
I'll be running RAID 5 with eight drives, though.

I don't expect to reach the same speeds that QNAP did with (8) Intel SSDs, but I'm betting it will still be way above what the unit does with the Gigabit interface.
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# RE: QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack ServerMoogle Stiltzkin 2012-02-16 07:11
regarding your last con, well some desktop drives can be used fine for raid.
For me, i've used 6 x SAMSUNG HD203WI for a long time and they work fine on my QNAP ts-659 pro II.


QNAP and other branded NAS, tend to ignore tler, so it's not critical for these nases when using raid seeing as it's not being used.

Quote:
The responses I received from Synology, QNAP, NETGEAR and Buffalo all indicated that their NAS RAID controllers don't depend on or even listen to TLER, CCTL, ERC or any other similar error recovery signal from their drives. Instead, their software RAID controllers have their own criteria for drive timeouts, retries and when a drive is finally marked bad.

##smallnetbuilder.com/nas/nas-features/31202-should-you-use-tler-drives-in-your-raid-nas


however samsung has sold off their hard drive business to Seagate who bought their hd unit out.

So the only other manufacturer that offered some good desktop raid drives was Hitachi i believe which was the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB which is a desktop drive that works fine in raid for say a QNAP.

##storagereview.com/hitachi_deskstar_7k3000_3tb_review_hds723030ala640


The desktop drives you should be wary about for using raid are western digital and seagate, which intentionally make it problematic in a raid setup, by dropping out very often to make you buy their x2 expensive raid edition drives.
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# Some work fine.....Bruce Bruce 2012-02-16 07:44
The Spinpoint F3 was a favorite for NAS use, no doubt. Other readers have also reported good luck with their Hitachi Deskstars. You'll see similar reports on the QNAP support forums. I'm somewhat concerned that most reports are from users with smaller NAS units, where the combined vibration of 8-12 drives is not present. It's bearing failure, as much as controller quirks that cause HDD failures.

Samsung drives are still being built to the old designs/specs for now, right? Get them while you can, I think....
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# The 20 should be closser to 2. bits vs Bytes.tygrus 2012-02-22 03:05
"twenty times faster than what the latest generation of SSDs can muster"
Sorry but 10GbE =
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# Comment system ate my commenttygrus 2012-02-22 03:41
There was some mathematical symbols in my previous comment. The comment has been truncated.
...
10GbE =lt 1250MBps. 500MBps = 4800Mbps.
Reasonable sound level for a device to be in a server room.
Too loud for home use.
Would like to see aditional testing with multiple clients or larger queue depth. Need to beg someone for some 10GbE hardware.
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# 10GbE is comingBruce 2012-02-22 06:00
Next week I'll have two Intel 10GbE NICs. I'll just have the one PC, but would RoboCopy, with it's multithreaded operation get closer to the multiple client scenario?
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# Updated Results in New ArticleBruce 2012-03-21 08:00
Just wanted to let all of you know that I completed the additional testing, with 10GbE NICs and a RAM Disk on the PC.

Wow! What a difference.

Check out the results in my follow-up article here: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=882&Itemid=70
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# RE: QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack ServerMoogle Stiltzkin 2012-03-21 08:09
Nice :} just read it.
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