QNAP TVS-863+ vNAS Server Review


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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 TVS-863+ 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 TVS-863+ or any of the QNAP units I’ve tested, 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.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server ATTO-9000-NoSSD-NoCRYPT-R54

The QNAP TVS-863+ turned in a huge performance on ATTO, reaching an average peak Read speed of 1235 MB/s with four disks in RAID 5. These results are in the very top tier of NAS performance, and the best Read results were actually achieved without the SSD cache installed. All the rest of the 10GbE models have benchmark results that are mostly in the 550-650 MB/s range, and then along comes this AMD-based box with double the throughput. I honestly don’t know how or why AMD has been locked out of the NAS Server market for so long; this is such a compelling performance improvement over everything else available on the market that you have to shake your head and ask “Why?” Let’s take a look at Write performance next.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server ATTO-Read-01

The TVS-863+ pulls ahead of the pack again in the ATTO Write benchmark, but only by about 25% this time. The SSD cache does help here, but only marginally. To be honest, the hit rate on the cache was minimal during my testing, so it’s no surprise that the results show only marginally improved performance for some of the benchmarks. The TVS-863+ still wins this benchmark convincingly, but it doesn’t crush the competition like it did in the Read test. See how jaded we’ve become already? Second place is 25% slower, and third place is 50% slower, and we’re underwhelmed by this?  Shame on us! Once again, all the competing units with the old standard GbE network connection are in a close group centered around 120 MB/s. With maximum Read and Write speeds both well over 600 MB/s, I think we’ve entered a new realm for low cost NAS servers. This is the sort of performance that used to only be available on large rack mount NAS systems, designed for enterprise use with a commensurate price tag.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server ATTO-Write-01

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 these TVS-863+ benchmark results were still a bit of a surprise. It’s not every day that you see 1200+ MB/s for a NAS server. Let’s take another look at performance, this time with a mixed load, 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 TVS-863+ pulls excellent numbers for the 512k random tests, especially the Write test, where other units frequently fall down. There are relatively lower numbers for the 4k random tests, which is not uncommon.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server Crystal-9000-NoSSD-NoCRYPT-

The results in the chart below are for the first test, which is Sequential Read. Once again, the QNAP TVS-863+ comes out well ahead of the pack, beating all of the 10GbE competitors, and completely destroying all of the GbE systems. The result for the TVS-863+, 489 MB/s for Sequential Read without the SSD cache and 492 MB/s with two 120GB SSDs in the cache position, is the best result we’ve seen so far, for four bays and a 10GbE network connection.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server Crystal-Read-01

The results in the chart below are for the second CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test, which is Sequential Write. The TVS-863 still comes out way on top, with an average Sequential Write result of 356 MB/s without the SSD cache and 352 MB/s with it enabled. That’s more than enough to secure first place, by a margin of almost 25% over the closest competitor. The NAS servers with GbE network connections are down in the weeds again, with results that barely top 100 MB/s for the best performers.

QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server Crystal-Write-01

All in all, these are an incredible set of results for Network Attached Storage, and remarkable for a unit that is designed for a good cost/performance ratio. Intel-based units with the same capacity are typically hundreds of dollars more, and they can’t match the performance of this AMD unit. In some cases this NAS server 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. This is much better performance than we’ve been getting from mainstream hardware in the recent past. I’m so glad the Atom is finally retired from service, and that the replacement CPUs are better in every way. The level of NAS performance that a home or small business can afford just jumped up several steps with the release of the QNAP TVS-x63 series.

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