Thecus N8800 SAS review

Thecus is the first to deliver an SMB NAS and IP SAN appliance with support for SAS hard disks. Could the N8800 SAS be the fastest we’ve seen yet?

For performance testing we called up a Dell PowerEdge R410 server equipped with dual 2.13GHz L5506 Xeons, 6GB of DDR3 memory and running Windows Server 2008. Dragging and dropping copies of a 2.52GB video clip delivered superb results, with the appliance returning read and write speeds of 99MB/sec and 92MB/sec.

FTP transfers were even better with the FileZilla utility reporting speeds of 103MB/sec and 95MB/sec with the same test file. Thecus didn't disappoint with IP SAN speeds either with the Iometer utility reporting a 108MB/sec raw read throughput for a single 50GB target.

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iSCSI targets can be created swiftly where you provide a unique name to add to their IQN and decide on their size.

We then configured the two Gigabit ports as an 802.3ad aggregated link to test adapter teaming. Our HP ProCurve 2848 switch supports dynamic LACP (link aggregation control protocol) so as soon as it saw the team it created a high-speed trunk for them.

Along with the Dell R410 we used an IBM System x3650 M2 equipped with dual 2.53GHz E5540 Xeons, 10GB of DDR3 memory and also running Windows Server 2008. We logged each server onto dedicated iSCSI targets and ran Iometer on both of them. After allowing them to settle down we saw a cumulative read speed of 108MB/sec showing that adapter teaming had no impact on performance.

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Thecus Nsync allows data from one appliance to be copied across to another.

The N8800 SAS is undoubtedly the fastest SMB NAS appliance we've seen so far and delivers extremely good results for file sharing activities. Fault tolerance is in abundance and with eight hot-swap drives to play with the appliance offers a high storage capacity.

Verdict

As the first SAS-enabled small business NAS appliance the N8800 SAS will take some beating. It offers a high storage capacity, support for SATA and SAS drives, plus plenty of fault tolerance and is currently the fastest of its type on the planet.

Chassis: 2U rack chassis CPU: 2.16GHz Intel T7400 Core 2 Duo Memory: 4GB 667MHz DDR2 Storage: 2 x Afaya 128MB IDE DOMs; 8 x hot-swap SAS/SATA drive bays Ports: 4 x USB2; eSATA Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet Power: 2 x hot-plug supplies Software: Setup Wizard, FarStone DriveClone Pro

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