Asustor AS6208T review
The AS6208T scores highly for value and performance, and delivers a good range of network backup tools
It's five years since Asus set up its storage-orientated subsidiary, and the company has been steadily building an impressive NAS portfolio. The eight-bay AS6208T delivers a good set of features and strong performance for a reasonable price, with an unpopulated enclosure starting at 702.
That price includes a quad-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3160 CPU partnered by 4GB of DDR3L memory. This can be upgraded to 8GB, although there are only two RAM slots, so you'll have to replace the supplied pair of 2GB SODIMMs.
There's also a generous range of external connectors: you get four Gigabit Ethernet ports, three USB 3 and two USB 2, plus HDMI for direct video output. You can also add external storage via a pair of eSATA ports, although you'll have to go third-party since Asustor doesn't offer its own expansion options. All cooling is handled by a pair of 12cm fans, and in use we found the appliance was whisper-quiet.
For testing, we installed three 4TB WD Red NAS Pro hard disks and used Asustor's Control Center desktop tool to discover the appliance and create a RAID5 array. Further management can be carried out via the Asustor Data Master (ADM) web interface, which provides chunky icons for easy access to key features.
Performance is excellent. Our 25GB file copy completed at read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec respectively. Our backup test was also handled well, with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files copied to a share at a speedy 94MB/sec.
It was exactly the same story for IP SANs: Iometer reported raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec for a 500GB target. Switching to a dual-Gigabit MPIO link, the AS6208T rose to the occasion with 226MB/sec and 220MB/sec read and write rates.
The MyArchive feature allows hard disks in the third or fourth bays to be set up as encrypted removable media. This helps when it comes to storing backup data off-site, or quickly transferring files to other Asustor appliances.
We found it worked extremely well: we formatted an extra 4TB WD hard disk as a MyArchive drive and copied 22GB of data to it from another share using the File Manager app. After ejecting the drive via the Storage Manager app, we were able to plug it into the lab's elderly AS-606T and immediately transfer the data across.
The ADM software isn't as feature-rich as Qnap's QTS or Synology's DSM, but all the important bits are present and correct. The Backup & Restore app makes it easy to secure data to other local folders, rsync-compatible NAS appliances and FTP servers, as well as external USB and eSATA devices.
Asustor also provides separate file-syncing apps for Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, and you can assign different cloud accounts to each NAS user. For large-scale cloud storage, however, you're limited to Amazon S3: if you want native support for Amazon Glacier or Microsoft Azure, check out Qnap or Synology.
Also note that you don't get any file and folder sync apps for workstation backup but Asustor's Backup Plan tool is a good alternative and worked fine with our Windows 10 and Server 2012 R2 systems.
We were able to run scheduled backups or syncs of local folders to the appliance, a network share or an FTP server. Snapshots are supported for iSCSI LUNs and can be scheduled at regular intervals: these worked fine for us and we were able to restore all deleted data from a 500GB target in around 30 seconds.
The AS6208T is an affordable eight-bay appliance that delivers top NAS and IP SAN performance. It can't match the breadth of apps offered by Qnap and Synology, but it delivers all the essential network storage and backup tools an SMB could need.
The AS6208T is an affordable eight-bay appliance that delivers top NAS and IP SAN performance. It can’t match the breadth of apps offered by Qnap and Synology, but it delivers all the essential network storage and backup tools an SMB could need.
Desktop chassis 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3160 4GB DDR3L (max 8GB) 8 x hot-swap SATA drive bays Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD 4 x Gigabit Ethernet 3 x USB 3 2 x USB 2 2 x eSATA HDMI 250W internal PSU Web browser management 293 x 230 x 216mm (WDH) 3yr RTB warranty