QNAP TS-409U Turbo NAS

Posted on July 15, 2008
Author: Sean Potter
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Tags: NAS, iSCSI, NAS

Performance

I've gone over the various features of the QNAP TS-409U Turbo NAS, but how well does the unit actually perform? With an ARM CPU powering the system, this is a big question. Am I going to see ridiculously fast speeds, ridiculously slow speeds, or something between? As I discovered in my reviews of the D-Link Xtreme N Gaming Router and DNS-323 NAS, Samba transfer speed is heavily depending on the CPU. With so much running in the background, how much power is left for Samba and NFS?

Aside from Samba and NFS, the TS-409U also supports FTP transfers. I've opted to omit this protocol from my tests, as most operating systems used in today's businesses support both Samba and NFS transfers. For those readers still utilizing Windows 3.1 or earlier, my suggest is to spend the cost of the TS-409U on new PCs.

In the following tests, I'll be utilizing a Dell PowerConnect 2708 gigabit switch as well as a full desktop equipped with a gigabit ethernet port and dual-core processor. I'm going to look at transfer speeds in both Windows and Linux, using Samba in Linux and Windows, as well as NFS in Linux.

Samba Tests

The TS-409U uses the Linux implementation of the SMB protocl, Samba. While I've observed Samba to be faster than Windows' implementation of the protocol, it remains heavily CPU dependent. In Windows, I mapped the public share as my X: drive. There were no issues connecting, and folder contents seemed to be available immediately. I had a similar experience in Linux, where I simply mounted the share to a temporary folder.

For these tests, I want to look at how fast transfer speeds are over the network both to and from the TS-409U. I've selected the Crysis demo installer as my test file, as it's a 1.77GB file.

O/S Method Speed
Windows PC -> NAS (Write) 16.2 MB/sec (129.6 Mbps)
Windows NAS -> PC (Read) 9.8 MB/sec (78.4 Mbps)
Linux PC -> NAS (Write) 18.9 MB/sec (151.2 Mbps)
Linux NAS -> PC (Read) 9.8 MB/sec (78.5 Mbps

The first thing that struck me as odd was the relative slowness of reading files from the NAS. Sure, I expected Linux to have faster speeds overall, but I didn't see a slower read speed coming.

The one explanation I have for this is simply CPU speed, but it doesn't explain why the write speeds are faster. I'll look at the unit's performance using NFS to copy files, and compare results before looking in to this issue further.

NFS Tests

NFS is mostly used in Linux and Unix, as it's not implemented in most versions of Windows. It's a rather simplistic way to share files between machines, especially when comparing between NFS' share configuration versus Samba's.

Again using the Crysis demo installer for the tests, let's see how NFS performs.

Method Speed
PC -> NAS (Write) 23.4 MB/sec (187.2 Mbps)
NAS -> PC (Read) 21.1 MB/sec (168.8 Mbps)

As the numbers show, NFS outperformed Samba by a good bit, but performance could still be better to better utilize gigabit ethernet. Additionally, I again see the NAS' write speeds faster than the read speeds, but not as significantly as with Samba. Thus far, the unit has proved to be faster than the D-Link DNS-323 I review previously.

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