Thecus N16000 review
Thecus' latest N16000 NAS appliance combines support for 6Gbit/s SAS drives and high performance networking. Dave Mitchell plugs it into his 10-Gigabit Ethernet network and takes it for a high-speed test drive so read this UK exclusive review to see how it fared.
Unlike most small business NAS appliance vendors, Thecus has always had its eye on the bigger picture and is still the only manufacturer in this market sector to support SAS hard disks. We first saw this in our exclusive review of the N8800 SAS but the new N16000 shows Thecus is upping its game ever further.
Supplied to IT Pro exclusively by Origin Storage, the N16000 has a firm focus on larger businesses - along with support for 6Gbps SAS disks, it can also be upgraded to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. The review unit was supplied with Thecus' optional C10GT PCI Express card allowing us to hook it up to the lab's 10-Gigabit Ethernet network and put it through its paces.
The N16000 is a 3U rack appliance with room for up to sixteen hot-swap disks. We've shown the price of a diskless model but Origin Storage offers plenty of other options. A system with sixteen 3TB SATA disks costs 7,098 whilst a full house of 600GB 6Gbps 15K SAS disks will set you back 10,618 ex VAT.
Thecus has designed its own system motherboard for the N16000 which sits in the base of the chassis and mates directly with the hard disk backplane via an edge connector. An LSI SAS PCI Express card manages all drive bays and has its two ports connected directly to the motherboard.
Along with six USB2 ports, the appliance has two rear USB3 ports thanks to Thecus' CU30N PCI Express card. The motherboard's SATA interfaces are also cabled through to an eSATA header card, but Thecus does not yet have any expansion shelves for the N16000.
Two embedded Gigabit Ethernet data ports are available and there's a third which is used only as a heartbeat link to another N16000 for high availability (HA). Only HA for systems with one RAID array is currently supported but Thecus advised us it will support HA for appliances with multiple arrays in a few months.