To start things off, this article is not designed to be a full review of the Thecus N7700 Pro; that article will come in a few days. Above we can see what we are working with in the Thecus N7700 Pro. As you can see, the N7700 Pro is a very high end unit that has many hardware features not found in entry level NAS servers.
Among the stand outs are the Core2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, 7 HDDS, support for 9K Jumbo Frames and the newest feature to hit NAS servers in the 1K USD price range, 10GbE ability with an add-in PCIe card. We did not test with the 10 GbE option since we do not have a 16GbE switch or a host card for our Storage Product Testing Workstation.
Up to this point we have only tested NAS servers with their default file system, EXT3. EXT3 has been a fine file system, but I found that it is possible to gain more performance by simply changing the file system to one of the other formats. Which one was best for performance? You will have to keep reading to find out.
Below are some brief descriptions of each file system found on Thecus hardware. The EXT4 option is not on Thecus products, but is the optional file system on QNAP hardware, Thecus' closest competitor. This information is given for future use as we will be linking back to this article while reviewing hardware at a later date.
EXT3 - The third extended file system is journaled file system that is commonly used by the Linux kernel and in many cases the default file system. The main benefit over EXT2 is journaling which improves reliability and eliminates the need to check the file system after an unclean shutdown.
EXT4 - A revised file system based on EXT3 that removes the 64-bit limits and also adds other performance improvements over EXT3.
XFS - A journaling file system designed for high performance that is proficient at handling large files and offering improved smooth data transfers.
ZFS - A combined file system and logical volume manager that includes support for high storage capacities, volume management, snapshots and copy-on-write clones with continuous checking and automatic repair.
If you would like to dive into hours of reading about each file system, their origins and fine details, you can start at Wikipedia and finish a few days later at your local library. Today we are more interested in seeing how these file systems perform in our real world usage tests via Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit.