|EonNAS 850X NAS Network Storage Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Thursday, 14 February 2013|
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EonNAS Pro 850X NAS Server Review
Manufacturer: Infortrend Technology Inc.
Full disclosure: The product used in this review was supplied by Infortrend
All digital storage technologies: CD, DVD, Blu-ray, HDD, SSD, NAND, are susceptible to data rot. Just ask the multimedia giant Pixar, who watched dozens of critical files disappear before their eyes during the production of the movie "Toy Story". Oh, and their backup process had failed, in the background... NASA has already lost data from its moon missions, the same way. Modern hard drives are remarkably reliable devices, but most have an average uncorrectable read error rate of 10^14. Statistically, that means one read failure for every 12TB of data. The drive doesn't "crash"; it just gives you corrupted data every now and then. Benchmark Reviews recently highlighted the reliability issues that SSD users are experiencing, and although the failure modes for those devices usually produce what is known as a "brick", the large number of flash memory failures in these devices has been an eye-opening experience for consumers. We can instinctively comprehend how a hard drive crashes, but we're not so clear on how electrons disappear.
Fortunately, the people who create, deploy, and maintain large data centers have been aware of this issue for a long time, and they prompted device manufacturers to devise ways of dealing with it. Now, for the first time, those techniques are being made available to the general consumer, with some innovative new products from Infortrend. The key to maintaining a consistently high level of data integrity is found in the ZFS file system employed in the EonNAS Pro series. ZFS features an extensive hierarchical checksum strategy, which eliminates what is often called "silent" data corruption with self-healing storage algorithms. Operating way down at the file system level, ZFS attacks data rot where it starts, at the bit, byte, and block level.
The EonNAS Pro series has another significant feature inherited from the big iron storage solutions - Deduplication. Infortrend has implemented block-level deduplication in these new NAS models, which has the potential to reduce storage requirements by 70% with typical SOHO or SMB data. That means you can possibly store 10TB of data on 3TB of disk space, without using bit-level file compression techniques. It all depends on how much of your data is repetitive, but if you think about email for instance, you can easily imagine the tremendous amount of duplication that's present in most organizations' email traffic. The same thing happens when you want to maintain sequential backup files, let's say the last 10 days' worth. This is a common way of mitigating against data loss that isn't always immediately obvious. With multiple, full daily backups, you have the ability to unwind your data stream back to the exact day when the loss took place, rather than having to choose between yesterday's and last week's version of data. With deduplication, ten days of daily backups need only consume a little more than a single snapshot.
The EonNAS Pro 850X is one of the largest members of their EonNAS Pro series. This eight bay model has a tower form factor, and units with similar capabilities are available in rack mount form, as well. Inside are an Intel Core i3 CPU running at 3.30 GHz, and 8GB of DDR3-1333 DRAM to push the data around. That's an unusually high amount of RAM for a NAS unit, and we'll see why it's there, later. For all of its benefits, the ZFS file system extracts a performance penalty. Two Gigabit Ethernet network ports are standard, and the expansion slot for additional Network Interface Cards (NIC) is populated with a dual 10GbE model that uses SFP+ connectors. Eight SATA 3Gb/s drive bays offer single disk, and RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50/60 configurations. A single 1 GB flash memory Disk-On-Memory (DOM) module is used to store firmware and applications. This acts like the system drive, yet it takes up very little space and uses almost no power.
The EonNAS Pro 850X is aimed right at small business owners more than the advanced home user, mainly because it does not include or support any of the typical applications for media streaming or remote access. Infortrend is very up-front about the focus for this product, and it's for business applications only. If your business is photographic imaging, video, or music production, by all means take advantage of the enhanced data integrity offered by the ZFS file system on the EonNAS series. Just don't expect to serve your multimedia files up to your colleagues and customers with TwonkyServer, running on the NAS.
Benchmark Reviews has tested quite a few NAS products, ranging from the QNAP TS-119 NAS single-disk offering made for home users, to the Goliath QNAP TS-879U-RP 8-Bay NAS for the storage needs of large businesses. We've also tested the Thecus N5550 NAS server recently, which falls in the middle between those two extremes. Let's see how this 8-bay NAS compares to its competitors.