Single Client Performance - CIFS & iSCSI on Windows

The single client CIFS and iSCSI performance of the QNAP TS-451+ was evaluated on the Windows platforms using Intel NASPT and our standard robocopy benchmark. This was run from one of the virtual machines in our NAS testbed. All data for the robocopy benchmark on the client side was put in a RAM disk (created using OSFMount) to ensure that the client's storage system shortcomings wouldn't affect the benchmark results. It must be noted that all the shares / iSCSI LUNs are created in a RAID-5 volume.

The QNAP TS-451+ manages to be amongst the top three in almost every benchmark trace. If at all one could nit-pick, it is the write performance. In real-life situations (with one or two clients), this minor performance aspect will hardly be noticed by users.

HD Video Playback - CIFS

2x HD Playback - CIFS

4x HD Playback - CIFS

HD Video Record - CIFS

HD Playback and Record - CIFS

Content Creation - CIFS

Office Productivity - CIFS

File Copy to NAS - CIFS

File Copy from NAS - CIFS

Dir Copy to NAS - CIFS

Dir Copy from NAS - CIFS

Photo Album - CIFS

robocopy (Write to NAS) - CIFS

robocopy (Read from NAS) - CIFS

We created a 250 GB iSCSI LUN / target and mapped it on to a Windows VM in our testbed. The same NASPT benchmarks were run and the results are presented below. The observations we had in the CIFS subsection above hold true here too.

HD Video Playback - iSCSI

2x HD Playback - iSCSI

4x HD Playback - iSCSI

HD Video Record - iSCSI

HD Playback and Record - iSCSI

Content Creation - iSCSI

Office Productivity - iSCSI

File Copy to NAS - iSCSI

File Copy from NAS - iSCSI

Dir Copy to NAS - iSCSI

Dir Copy from NAS - iSCSI

Photo Album - iSCSI

robocopy (Write to NAS) - iSCSI

robocopy (Read from NAS) - iSCSI

A few iSCSI benchmarks exhibited extensive caching behavior in some of the NASPT test passes. One of the issues we found was that setting the unit to report a volatile write cache would actually prevent Windows from turning off the write cache for the iSCSI volume. In any case, the iSCSI performance comes in the top three of the list, just like what we saw in the CIFS case.

Introduction and Testbed Setup Encryption Support Evaluation
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  • ant6n - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    I know this is a common kind of complaint under these reviews; but I often poke at NAS reviews as something that would be a nice-to-have, and then can't get myself to read past the price tag. I know these aren't really home devices. But aren't there multi-bay (4+) NAS systems with, say, an arm, for less than 300$?
  • DanNeely - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    A quick search on Amazon and Google shows that there are a number of entry level 4 bay NASes for $250-300. Filtering solely by brand name, the $282 QNAP TS-431 would be my initial recommendation. Synology, the other nas maker (along with QNAP) with what's generally regarded as top flight software wants over a hundred more for the DS414j; which appears to be their cheapest 4x3.5" drive model.
  • Savardm - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    I own a T-431 and so I'm always interested in these reviews because I find there isn't that many NAS reviews around. This particular review seems way more advanced then what I actually do with mine. I use mine to download/seed torrents and hold my Library of content which I access from several devices. I also really like the personal cloud features. I was worried when I bought my unit that the RAM and processor would be a major issue but it never lags. I'm not sure how it could get any better really. I think this must be because I am not using it as a typical NAS user? Anyway, all this to say, the TS-431 is the best gadget purchase I have ever made, I really do love it.
  • ivyanev - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    You could build a dedicated NAS for less than 300$ with the capability of 4+ drives. It is easy, and you may already have the parts. The question is do you NEED 4 drives? Why don't you get basic 1 drive unit and test if you need one. If you love it but still want redundancy you can later upgrade.
  • random2 - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    "Why don't you get basic 1 drive unit and test if you need one."

    Oh, you mean an external drive? I think you might be missing the whole point of redundant storage.
  • Moishe - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    The cost is certainly high for a diskless system. Crazy.
  • manly - Monday, November 23, 2015 - link

    With all the consolidation in the hard disk industry, I think the price curve is still somewhat dominated by the cost of 4 hard drives with TLER support. 3 TB NAS drives are somewhat affordable, but 4 TB is still a bit pricey in my opinion even for consumer NAS drives. "Enterprise" SATA drives are flat out pricey at higher capacities, because the last few manufacturers can absolutely get away with it.

    The QNAP TS-451 (apparently now an older model) was on sale numerous times over the past 12 months for $350 + tax. I think that's a pretty attractive price point considering the performance. IIRC, Synology's somewhat comparable units were at least $100 higher although until recently DSM had always been favored by reviewers.

    The sale price may have been in anticipation of the release of the TS-451+ but since it happened somewhat frequently over the course of an entire year-long period, it was a commonly available deal here in the U.S. Not sure how aggressive QNAP will be for the year ahead though.
  • Dunkurs1987 - Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - link

    This is the price you can expect from 8GB version. There is 2GB option available too. Should be ok with limited tasks.
  • Der2 - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    Very nice NAS review.
  • Reflex - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    One feature that I really want to see is Sync to OneDrive and other cloud providers. These days a lot of these services offer unlimited or incredibly large backups for free, and being able to sync to them frees a SOHO environment from having to find an offsite backup solution.

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