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 QNAP TS-470 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 TS-470, 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 QNAP TS-470 turned in a solid performance on ATTO, reaching an average peak Read speed of 551.3 MB/s with four disks in RAID 5. These results are in the very top tier of NAS performance, and despite the fact that it came in third place behind the QNAP TS-870U-RP and the EonNAS 850X, the results were still close. I hate to call the roughly 75 MB/s difference between the three results insignificant, but the fact is that every one of the results with appropriate (10 GbE) network hardware beats the performance of most premium desktop SSD units. I’m going to call that “fast enough”. The reality is that there is almost three times more performance available from the TS-870U-RP if you fill it with all eight HDDs and bang on it with multiple high-performance servers. QNAP pulled more than 1800 MB/s in their Read tests, with multiple clients and IOMeter benchmarking software. While I can appreciate the importance of those results, the benchmarks we are presenting here show the typical performance that will be delivered to a single client. Those are equally important results, and depending on how you deploy it, one or the other will be more important to you. Let’s take a look at Write performance next. The single GbE benchmark results of 4-disk configurations were mostly a virtual tie, in the 115-120 MB/s range.
The TS-470 pulls WAY ahead of the pack in the ATTO Write benchmark, with the help of the optional 10GbE NIC. It’s more than 50% faster than the closest competitor, which is an even bigger margin that I saw in the timed file transfers for Write performance. With the old standard for network connections, GbE, the results are once again a close group centered around 120 MB/s. With maximum Read and Write speeds both well over 500 MB/s for the TS-470, I think we’ve entered a new realm for 4-bay NAS servers. This is the sort of performance that used to only be available on large rack mount NAS systems, designed for enterprise use.
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. Let’s take another look at that in our next benchmark, CrystalDiskMark 3.0.
CrystalDiskMark Test Results
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. In this case, the TS-470 pulls excellent numbers for the 512k random tests and low numbers for the 4k random tests, which is not uncommon. Some of the high-end NAS models redeem themselves nicely on the 4k random test with a high queue depth, and the Celeron-based TS-470 does the same.
The results in the chart below are for the first test, which is Sequential Read. Once again, the 4-disk RAID 5 configuration of the QNAP TS-470 comes out on top. It’s still worth noting the huge performance gains that are possible by outfitting most NAS models with four bays or more, with a 10GbE network adapter. I hope to see more and more manufacturers bring 10GbE connectivity further down into the product line. The benefits are obvious, and the rest of the network infrastructure products are starting to become available at reasonable prices. Now is also a good time to point out the single GbE results for the TS-470, which are also about 50% better than the competition, as well. 110.6 MB/s is a great result for four bays and just a GbE connection.
The results in the chart below are for the second CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test, which is Sequential Write. This time, the 4-disk configurations are much closer together. The TS-470 still comes out on top in the 10GbE race, but not by a wide margin. The Write performance of the EonNAS 850X is always a strong point, but the QNAP TS-470 still beets it, and the TS-870U-RP by 30-40 MB/s. All the GbE results are less than half of that, with the TS-870U-RP leading the group with 114 MB/s. The TS-470 ties with the Thecus N5550 for second place in the lower division, with a score of 110.2 MB/s.
All in all, these are an incredible set of results for Network Attached Storage. In many cases they can pump data to and from a workstation as fast, or faster than a local SSD, driven directly from the SATA controller on the motherboard. There’s a whole generation of power users, like CADD designers and video editors, who have been waiting for this kind of performance from mainstream hardware that a small business can afford.
NAS Comparison Products
- QNAP TS-870U-RP 8-bay SATA NAS Server
- EonNAS 1100 NAS Network Storage Server
- ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage Server
- EonNAS 850X NAS Network Storage Server
- Thecus N5550 4-Bay SATA NAS Server
- Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2 4-bay SATA NAS Server
- QNAP TS-879U-RP 8-bay SATA NAS Server
- QNAP TS-219P+ 2-Bay SATA NAS server
- QNAP TS-259 Pro 2-Bay SATA NAS server
- QNAP TS-659 Pro II 6-Bay SATA NAS server
- QNAP TS-419P II 4-bay SATA NAS Server