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ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage 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 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, basic GbE interface in place, the results look somewhat similar to the first set of data I have from this test. No individual test gets very far past the ~ 120 MB/s theoretical barrier, but several of them are in the 70-90 MB/s range. Some of the tests have very low transfer rates, and that’s due to the nature of 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 going to be the same as your directory of 1,000 random small files.

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To summarize things, here are consolidated charts of the “Fast” NASPT tests, the “Medium-Speed” tests, and finally the “Slow” ones. First, the tests with relatively fast transfer rates. The ASUSTOR AS-604T aces all three of the HD Video Playback trials. With 4x Video, the AS-604T hits a high of 121.4 MB/s, which is close to the theoretical limit for a single GbE connection. All of these units were all tested with a normal, GbE network connection, in order to eliminate network connectivity as a variable. Running the TS-879U-RP or 850X with one or more 10GbE interfaces would radically change the results. Of course, that option is only available if you throw another couple of thousands of dollars towards the solution, so we’ll continue to compare apples to apples here. These three benchmarks are essentially all sequential Read tests, so the star performance of the ASUSTOR shouldn’t really be surprising.

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The Medium-Speed tests are a bit of a mixed bag, with a rivalry developing between the TS-879U-RP and the ASUSTOR AS-604T. The Thecus N5550 and the EonNAS 850X have to duke it out for third place in this grouping. The mixture of Reads and Writes is what makes this set of charts all topsy-turvy. Add in the fact that the Office Productivity and the File transfer tests use a bunch of smaller files, so that you no longer have the simplicity of sequential transfers with big, dense files, and you get a mixed bag. Such is reality though, for a large number of potential users. That’s why this test suite is so important, because it measures performance with real-world data.

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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. The Directory Copy To NAS and Directory Copy From NAS results show consistent results for the two top contenders, the EonNAS 850X and the ASUSTOR AS-640T. The Thecus N5550 does a massive flip-flop on performance for these two tests though. I can’t explain how or why there is such a reversal of fortune in the Directory Copy results, but this is a good demonstration of why it pays to look closely at your potential use cases when shopping for any H/W or S/W solution. The Photo Album 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 show the N5550 providing the best performance with this kind of data, even though the overall transfer speeds are quite low.

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The NASPT benchmark shows that the ASUSTOR AS-604T generally excels at real world tasks. 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, but they provide the greatest potential insight into NAS performance of any commonly used benchmark.

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