|QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Network Storage Rack Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 07 February 2012|
Page 15 of 16
NAS Server Final Thoughts
My first and solemn duty is to remind everyone that relying on a collection of drives in any RAID configuration for data backup purposes is a huge error. RAID systems provide protection against loss of services, not loss of data. Several examples will illustrate the problem, I hope:
All these points lead to the inescapable conclusion that multiple drives in a common system, in a single location do not provide effective and reliable data backup. Throughout this review I've talked about high-availability systems, and the QNAP TS-879U-RP fits that description to a tee, especially when employed in a RAID 6 configuration. Even with two concurrent drive failures, your data is still available and accessible. The NAS device stays online the entire time while the failed drives are replaced and the array is rebuilt. That's what RAID systems are designed to do. The inherent redundancy is not meant to serve as a backup file set. Remember, we're not talking about losing data here, we're only talking about the ability to keep working uninterrupted, if one or two drives should fail.
If you look closely at the ATTO Disk Benchmark for the 8-Disk configuration of the QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Server, you see the benfit of such a system, even when straddled with obsolete NICs. The full performance of the system is reached at the 32KB chunk size. That means that the system isn't just good at transferring data in a linear, sequential manner, it's good at handling smaller chunks of data too. Take a look at any other system and see how well it handles smaller random chunks of data, compared to large, sequential chunks, and you'll see how rare this type of performance is.
The QNAP TS-879U-RP is not a product that most readers of Benchmark Reviews will ever contemplate purchasing. I know there are a few of you out there with day jobs that utilize this level of hardware, but 99.99% of the enthusiasts reading this don't have a real justification for spending the kind of money that it takes to put eight HDD spindles in play. I know that hasn't stopped some of us from buying overkill hardware in the past, though. Maybe, as hi-res video becomes the norm, it might make sense to invest in this level of capacity. Got a thousand Blu-ray movies you want to store for your home theater server, go for it? Got five thousand DVDs, you can do the same? If you don't want to invest in eight HDDs right now, and who does, just load it up with three or four in RAID 5 and expand the capacity later. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear me trying to convince myself to buy this thing....
Beyond the question of capacity, there is also the question of the overwhelming bandwidth that this kind of hardware is capable of pushing out the business end of its enclosure. The one thing that was made painfully clear to me in this review is: there is a small chorus of high performance devices singing the swan song for 1000BASE-T, as the network interface of choice. Maybe the new standard ought to be 10GbE, maybe it should be Thunderbolt, or maybe we're ready to move over to fiber for system-level interconnects, but we are right now at the tipping point where common devices are starting to overload the current networking standard. You would think, that with Ethernet performance going up by a factor of ten every few years, that it would be well ahead of Moore's law. Never mind being so far ahead of archaic spinning magnetic disks that it shouldn't even be a contest. But no - put four or eight of those ancient mechanical devices in a box, with some SOTA silicon to support it and voila, bandwidth limiting in the extreme.
I hope to get my hands on some 10GbE NICs in the future, so that I can really put the TS-879U-RP through its paces. Until then, I know that it has the power and capacity to overwhelm the storage requirements in any home setting, that it has all the necessary performance and functionality to thrive in a SMB environment, and that QNAP has produced a strong competitor for the enterprise data center.
So, what conclusions can we draw, particularly about this high performance, eight-bay TS-879U-RP Turbo NAS server? Click NEXT to find out, and discuss...