|Thecus N5550 NAS Network Storage Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2012|
Page 13 of 15
Non-Traditional NAS Test Results
In addition to measuring simple timed transfers, to determine how fast it will read and write contiguous blocks of data, Benchmark Reviews was also able to measures NAS performance using some tests that are traditionally used for internal drives. By mapping the Thecus N5550 as a local drive, some of our favorite HDD/SSD benchmarking tools worked just fine. Just like the NASPT test suite, I only run these tests on the RAID 5 configuration, as that is the most realistic scenario for a system like this. Some NAS products don't work too well with this type of test program; even though they may have the ability to map the NAS device to a drive letter, they're still not treated like local drives by the Operating System. I didn't have that problem with the Thecus N5550, so let's look at some results...
ATTO Disk Benchmark Results
The ATTO Disk Benchmark program is free, and offers a comprehensive set of test variables to work with. In terms of disk performance, it measures interface transfer rates at various intervals for a user-specified length and then reports read and write speeds for these spot-tests. There are some minor improvements made to the 2.46 version of the program that allow for test lengths up to 2GB, but all of our benchmarks are conducted with 256MB total length. ATTO Disk Benchmark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Please consider the results displayed by this benchmark to be basic bandwidth speed performance indicators.
The Thecus N5550 turned in a winning performance on ATTO, reaching a peak Read speed of 121.1 MB/s and a peak Write speed of 123.9 MB/s. These results are clearly in the very top tier of NAS performance, and a faster networking connection will be required in order to move beyond this level. With sequential performance like this powering the device, it's no wonder the Thecus N5550 does so well in some of the other, more structured test scenarios.
It's good to keep in mind that these ATTO tests are not always indicative of real-world performance, due to the sequential access mode used. In most cases, the results are going to be close to the numbers achieved in timed Read and Write tests. They are also going to be way above the results from some of the more challenging tests in the Intel NASPT suite. It's interesting to note that roughly 95% of the maximum performance level was reached by the 32 kB block size. That's a sign of good RAID management, and the high performance hard drives that are used in our testing.
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 is a file transfer and operational bandwidth benchmark tool from Crystal Dew World that offers performance transfer speed results using sequential, 512KB random, and 4KB random samples. For our test results chart below, the 4KB 32-Queue Depth read and write performance was measured using a 1000MB space. CrystalDiskMark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Benchmark Reviews uses CrystalDiskMark to illustrate operational IOPS performance with multiple threads. In addition to our other tests, this benchmark allows us to determine operational bandwidth under heavy load.
The combination of the Thecus N5550 and four Western Digital Caviar Black WD7502AAEX 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s generates some excellent numbers in this test. It pulls a respectable 60.5 MB/s on sequential Read and outstanding 110.2 MB/s average on sequential Write tests. The 4k tests show very low numbers, but that's typical of HDDs, even in a RAID configuration. That's one of the huge advantages that SSDs bring to the table, is the ability to handle thousand of small data chunks very gracefully. But look at what happens when the Queue Depth is increased; this is usually a killer test for most storage systems, but the Thecus eats it up and asks for more.
All in all, these are a respectable set of results for Network Attached Storage. Sure, they're a bit lower than a true local drive connection, directly into the SATA controller on the motherboard. But, for a NAS device mimicking a local HDD, the Thecus N5550 performs very well.