|QNAP TS-879U-RP 10GbE NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 19 March 2012|
Page 9 of 10
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. Multiple drives in a common system, in a single location do not provide effective and reliable data backup. I've harped on this for about a year now, so I hope the message got through, at some point.
Beyond the questions of availability, reliability, data recovery and 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 extended review is this: there is a growing 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.
The results we got when the networking bottleneck was removed are nothing short of amazing. After several years of testing leading-edge video cards, I'm used to 50% and 100% improvements in processing speed, with every new product cycle and technology node (45nm, 32nm, 28nm...) steadily pushing the bar higher and higher. A 400% speed increase is a shocking experience, even though I was pretty much expecting it. The only problem is that speed is addictive. Once you've experienced it, everything else is so frustratingly slow. Plus, it's never free, is it? In this case, it's not just the one NAS device that needs to be updated; at least one other device on the network needs to have a compatible interface. If your network architecture dictates that a 10GbE switch is required, expect to pay at least $3,000. If you're tying the NAS to a server as dedicated storage, you can get by for under $1,000.
Even though the QNAP TS-879U-RP is not a product that many readers of Benchmark Reviews will ever contemplate purchasing for home or personal use, it makes a lot of sense for larger organizations. There are certainly some of you out there with day jobs that need this level of performance, and now it's available at a distinctly lower cost than previous hard-core storage solutions. No, I'm not bi-polar; I know the last paragraph listed some eye-opening costs for implementing 10GbE; it's just that the sticker shock factor is an order of magnitude higher in the business world. Plus, this is worker productivity you're buying here, not an "enhanced user experience". Mention check-in and check-out times to most CADD designers or video editors, and they'll get this sad expression on their face. Mention it to their managers and they'll talk about their department's growing backlog, along with the fact that they really can't push their people any harder because there are technology limits holding them back. It's time for IT to be the hero again, instead of the millstone around their neck.
So, what conclusions can we draw from our massive performance upgrade of this high performance, eight-bay TS-879U-RP Turbo NAS server? Click NEXT to find out, and discuss...