Thecus N5500 review
The N5500 delivers a host of new storage related features, good client support and a vastly improved web interface but it’s the dual-DOM feature that catches the eye.
Pick your file systems carefully as although EXT3, XFS and ZFS are supported, volume snapshots can only be run on the latter, and this can only be accessed by CIFS/SMB users. At this stage you decide what percentage should be used for iSCSI targets and you can also create USB targets as well.
Client support is good as Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac systems are on the guest list. You also have FTP services, while access security extends to a local user database plus AD authentication. Businesses will find a modest range of backup options, which aren't anywhere near as good as those offered by Netgear's latest ReadyNAS appliances.
Thecus' Nsync enables data to be copied from one appliance over the network to another to a schedule. The completely useless Backup Utility is still provided but the inclusion of FarStone's DriveClone Pro is a smart move as it offers a lot more features. It secures selected files and folders on workstations at scheduled intervals, has a snapshot service for disaster recovery and offers drive and partition cloning as well.
The N5500 moved at a fair clip through our real world performance tests with copies of a 2.25GB video to and from a Broadberry dual 2.8GHz Xeon X5560 server returning average read and write speeds of 49Mb/sec and 41MB/sec. FTP speeds were slightly better with the FileZilla client utility reporting speeds of 51MB/sec and 43MB/sec.
iSCSI targets are easy enough to create as you decide on the amount of space, provide a name which is appended to the IQN and enable it. Performance was in the same ballpark as for general copy operations with our tests returning 50MB/sec read and 44MB/sec write speeds.
Thecus provides update modules for extra features but only the download station is currently available for the N5500 firmware. This is used by the appliance to retrieve remote files via BitTorrent, HTTP, FTP or eMule.