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QNAP TVS-863+ vNAS Server Review

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Intel NASPT Test Results

NASPT brings an important perspective to our test protocol, as it is designed to measure the performance of a NAS system, as viewed from the end user’s perspective. Benchmarks like ATTO use Direct I/O Access to accurately measure disk performance with minimal influence from the OS and the host platform. This provides important, objective data that can be used to measure raw, physical performance. While it’s critical to measure the base performance, it’s also important to quantify what you can expect using real-world applications, and that’s exactly what NASPT does. In keeping with the real-world scenario, I only run these tests on the RAID 5 configurations, since that is what most users with a large or mid-size NAS are going to use. It just doesn’t make sense to run realistic test scenarios on unrealistic hardware configurations.

One of the disadvantages of NASPT is that it is influenced by the amount of memory installed on the client, and it was designed for systems that had 2-4 GB of RAM. Consequently, two of the tests give unrealistic results with modern systems, because they are measuring the speed of the buffer on the client, instead of the actual NAS performance. For that reason, we will completely ignore the results for “HD Video Record” and “File Copy to NAS”. Shown here is a batch run of 5 cycles through the tests, which turned out to be a bit slower than the individual runs. There seemed to be some wrinkles in the batch testing that don’t show up on individual test runs, which is a bit of a pain, to be honest. The numbers in the chart below are an average of five separate runs, which I believe are more accurate than results from a consolidated batch run.

With a single, 1 GbE interface in place, the results for the tests that are more sequential in nature are capped at somewhere south of 120 MB/s. With a 10GbE connection, higher speeds are achievable, and you will definitely see some of those in this test group. Some of the tests have very low transfer rates, and that’s due to the nature of the data being transferred during the test. The Content Creation test for example, simulates a user creating a web page, accessing multiple sources for the content. The Directory Copy tests use several hundred directories and several thousand files to test a typical backup and restore scenario. That’s one of the most real-world types of test, and it’s useful for all of us to have a standard set of test data to use, because my directory of 1,000 random small files is never, ever going to be the same as your directory of 1,000 random small files.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server NASPT-9000-2xSSD-NoCRYPT-R5

To summarize things, here are consolidated charts of the “Fast” NASPT tests, the “Medium-Speed” tests, and finally the two “Slow” ones. I’ve regrouped these into four charts this time, in order to make them more legible. As the number of entries grows, the text gets too small to read, at some point. I’ve highlighted the text for the QNAP TVS-863+ by using red italic text for those test results. The TVS-863 comes out way on top for both the HD Video Playback trials and the 4X playback test. It’s a big margin between this device and the others, and it’s not hard to reason why. Anyone who has compared AMD integrated video GPU performance against even Intel’s latest offerings won’t be surprised that the AMD chip offers better video playback. Game goes to AMD every time… With 1X Video Playback, the TVS-863+ hits an average rate of 659 MB/s without the SSD cache, and 723 MB/s with it. In 4x Video Playback, the TVS-463+ hits an astounding rate of 1151 MB/s; with or without the cache, there was no difference. These results handily beat an enterprise-class server with all eight bays filled, once again proving the importance of good GPU cores for this benchmark.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server NASPT_01

The Medium-Speed tests show the QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo NAS putting in another very strong performance, relative to several comparable units. The HD Playback & Record test is an outright win with a result of 352 and 463 MB/s, with the SSD cache offering a significant boost in performance here. The QNAP TVS-863 also nabs first place in the File Copy From NAS test, with results of 505 and 561 MB/s. This time the SSD cache offered a modest 10% performance boost  The mixture of Reads and Writes makes this set of charts a little topsy-turvy for the rest of the pack, but the TVS-863+ is a clear winner in both of these benchmarks. Once again, this stellar performance, from a low-cost solution in the product line, is only challenged by one other device – a high-end enterprise-class server, the QNAP TS-879U-RP with a full load of eight HDDs. All the performance is not magically gained from the available SSD cache either, as the results without it, and only four drives installed in RAID5, are still class-leading.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server NASPT_02

The “Slow” tests generally are slow because the file transfers are done with data sets that contain a bunch of small files of irregular size. In addition, the Directory Copy tests are accessing the file system index much more heavily than in the other tests. This adds a unique component that could be critically important for some users. These Directory Copy benchmark results show up one weak spot for the QNAP TVS-863+, where it falls behind, albeit against some pretty stiff competition. The DIR Copy to NAS results are only 25.3 and 28.3 MB/s, while the Intel-based TS-470 manages to pull far ahead with a result of 67 MB/s. The TVS-863 gets a little closer to par in the Directory Copy From NAS benchmark, where it manages 33 MB/s against the high-end Intel machines which achieve throughputs in the 40-50 MB/s range. The EonNAS 850X, with its Solaris-based OS and ZFS file system is the surprise champ here. It is a very robust and scalable file system which also offers the advantage of protection from data rot. Most of the other NAS devices in this grouping are using the EXT file system, which does not offer that feature, and is less than ideal for large-scale data storage.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server NASPT_03

The Office Productivity and Content Creation are my least favorite tests in the NASPT suite for two reasons. One, I don’t see most NAS products being used in this fashion. Maybe I’m behind the times, and desktop virtualization will make this a very important benchmark in the near future. Second, the results never seemed to scale very well with the system performance that I was seeing on other tests. The Content Creation results, in particular make no sense to me, so I’ve stopped reporting them. This time, the TVS-863 puts in a class-winning performance in the Office Productivity test, in a close fought battle where the total spread between best and worst is only 50%. The TVS-863+ also puts in a very strong performance in the Photo Album benchmark, where two other NAS devices basically equal its performance. This test is a bunch of small files again, of varying sizes, arranged in a complex directory structure. This is a very common type of data set, and these results have always seemed more relevant than the Content Creation benchmark.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server NASPT_04

The NASPT benchmark has showed some real world anomalies over time, some of which I wasn’t expecting. Beyond the simple sequential results that are easy to measure and very consistent, is a world of data that is immeasurably complex in its variations. The Intel NASPT suite is one of the few that challenges NAS devices with realistic data sets. The results can be a bit messy to interpret, like they were in this case, but they’ve also provided the greatest potential insight into NAS performance of any commonly used benchmark. Stay tuned to see if we have similar challenges on some non-traditional NAS tests, in the next section.

NAS Comparison Products


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