Promise SmartStor NS4700 review

Promise's new SmartStor NAS appliance receives a much needed hardware boost. The NS4700 on review is a lot faster than previous models, but Dave Mitchell thinks there’s still work to be done. Read this review to find out why.

We installed four 1TB WD SATA drives, grouped them into a single disk array and manually created two RAID-5 logical drives for NAS and IP SAN performance testing. For NAS operations we needed to create a file system on the logical drive from the web interface after which a set of default shares were presented.

Take your time during logical drive creation as, along with an appropriate RAID type, you must select either NAS or IP SAN op

Take your time during logical drive creation as, along with an appropriate RAID type, you must select either NAS or IP SAN operations.

For real world performance testing we used a dual Xeon X5560-based Broadberry rack server running Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit. The improved hardware in the NS4700 made a big difference with drag and drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip returning read and write speeds of 85MB/s and 78MB/s

FTP operations were faster with the FileZilla client reporting speeds of 90MB/s and 81MB/s. A 17.4GB collection of 10,500 small files was copied to the appliance as a rate of 57MB/s. Our results show that the NS4700 is around three times faster than its predecessor.

For IP SANs, the appliance presents a single iSCSI portal so any initiator that logs into it will see all available targets although you can apply CHAP authentication to restrict access. Performance for a single 100GB target was very good with Iometer reporting a fast raw read speed of 111MB/s.

Server and workstation backup is very well catered for as Promise includes an unlimited user version of Acronis' Backup and Recovery Server 10 software which supports Windows XP and Server 2000 upwards. The only proviso is this is a special edition for Promise products and will only allow vaults to be created on its SmartStor NAS appliances.

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