|QNAP TS-879U-RP 10GbE NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 19 March 2012|
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QNAP TS-879U-RP 10GbE NAS Server Review
Manufacturer: QNAP Systems, Inc.
There is a glass ceiling in the world of NAS devices, and like all glass ceilings it's not that obvious until you bang your head against it a few times. The standard-issue network interface in the consumer market for the last several years has been a one-gigabit Ethernet connection, through an RJ-45 plug and socket at each end. Convert bits to bytes and you end up with a less impressive sounding 125 MB/s interface. Right away the ceiling comes into play, because even a single Seagate Barracuda 3TB Hard Drive ST3000DM001 can push 160MB/s through its SATA 6 Gb/s interface when it's running hard. That's about 25% more data throughput than a standard 1000BASE-T network is capable of handling. If that's just a single mechanical hard drive; think about what eight SSDs in RAID 5 can do! The answer from QNAP is, read and write speeds well over 1500MB/s with the QNAP TS-879U-RP Turbo NAS.
Last month we did an extensive review of the QNAP TS-879U-RP Turbo NAS server. We tested it with the network configuration that comes standard from the factory, which is: two GbE NICs integrated into the main system board, courtesy of Intel's WGG82574L and WG82579LM chips. The best Read/Write performance we could get on the underside of the glass ceiling was 117/121 MB/s. The good news is that the entire TS-x79 series can accept a variety of 10GbE NICs in an internal PCIe x8 slot, and that should make a huge difference in real-world performance. The bad news is that it didn't come with one (or two), and I had to go out and get two of them for my test bench. All's well that ends well though, and I ended up with two very nice cards from Intel that support CAT 6 (copper) cabling, so at least I didn't have to delve into the world of fiber optic interconnects. One new technology at a time, thank you.
Let's have a brief look back at the QNAP TS-879U-RP, before we dive into the details of the updated NAS. With eight 3.5" drive bays available, it's the next logical step up from a typical four or six-bay device; there's the potential for 24TB of storage and transfer rates of more than 10 Gb/s. The TS-879U-RP is targeted a little higher than the typical small and medium business (SMB) IT needs, both by virtue of its size and its form factor. Its rack mounted design fits in with the rest of the networking, storage, and server hardware in use by high-end SMBs, and at the enterprise level. It's got storage space, plus it's also got enough CPU horsepower to do the job, with a Dual Core Intel Core i3-2120 CPU running at 3.3GHz, and 2GB of DDR3 system memory.
I was a little frustrated when I first tested the TS-879U-RP, because I didn't have a network environment that could unleash its full performance. Now that I do, let's take a look at what it takes to get this corporate animal up to full speed.