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-870U-RP 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-870U-RP, 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-870U-RP turned in a solid performance on ATTO, reaching an average peak Read speed of 682.5 MB/s with eight disks in RAID 5, and 627.7 MB/s with four disks in RAID 5. These results are in the very top tier of NAS performance, and despite the top result of 730.3 MB/s for the EonNAS 850X, the combined result of 4-disk and 8-disk performance puts them in a virtual tie. Also, it’s good to see that the 4-disk and 8-disk performance is back in the proper order again. I hate to call the roughly 50 MB/s difference between the two 8-disk results insignificant, but the fact that every one of the results with appropriate (10 GbE) network hardware beats the performance of most premium desktop SSD units means that I’m going to call it “fast enough”. Blasphemy, I know…! The reality is that there is almost three times more performance available from the TS-870U-RP if you 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.
Despite the fact that my timed file transfers showed the TS-870U-RP to be the top performer in Read tests, the ATTO Disk Benchmark program puts it’s Write performance far ahead of any competition, at 540 MB/s. It beats out the TS-879U-RP by almost 20%, and almost doubles the performance of the EonNAS 850X. Once again, this benchmark application shows none of the foibles between the 4-disk and 8-disk results that we saw in NASPT. The 4-disk Write performance of the TS-870U-RP still manages to grab third place in the overall results, but it’s no match for the full load of eight drives in the same unit.
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, but we saw some out of the ordinary flip-flops in Read v. Write performance this time. It’s interesting to note that the performance level at the smaller block sizes like 32kB were not as high, relative to the maximum, than I’ve seen on other units. That’s a sign that random Read and Writes may not be as good as they could be. Let’s take a look at that in our next benchmark, CrystalDiskMark 3.0.
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-870U-RP 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-870U-RP 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-870U-RP comes out on top. The 8-disk results on the same unit come in about 15% lower, but still ahead of the closest competitor, the EonNAS 850X. Interestingly, the EonNAS 850X posted almost identical results for its 4-disk and 8-disk configurations. That’s the first time I’ve seen parity for the EonNAS results. 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.
The results in the chart below are for the second test, which is Sequential Write. This time, the 8-disk RAID 5 configuration of the QNAP TS-870U-RP comes out on top at 480 MB/s and the same set up on the EonNAS 850X trails in second at 378 MB/s. The 4-disk configurations play second fiddle, and they are much closer together at 230 MB/s for the QNAP and 239 MB/s for the EonNAS. All the GbE results are less than half of that, with the TS-870U-RP leading the stragglers with 114 MB/s. Remember, with the exception of the NetDISK 351UNE, all these results are for 4-disk RAID 5 configurations, at a minimum. The only way to get real performance out of these units is with a 10GbE connection.
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 network performance from mainstream hardware that a small business can afford.
NAS Comparison Products
- 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 Gigabit 4-bay SATA NAS Server
- QNAP TS-879U-RP Gigabit 8-bay SATA NAS Server
- QNAP TS-659 Pro II Gigabit 6-Bay SATA NAS server