Our NAS test 'system' has migrated to three 42u racks, much like what you'd find in a datacenter. There are ten servers that attack the target NAS with 120 Hyper-V installations of Windows 8.1 64-bit, each with a dedicated gigabit Ethernet port. The systems feed to three Extreme Networks X450e-48p switches, and then to a Supermicro SSE-X3348TR top-of-rack switch. The device being tested connects to the Supermicro switch via 1GbE, 10GbE, or 40GbE. The iSCSI and NASPT tests use a single machine connected to the Supermicro switch.
This level of testing wouldn't be possible without the help and support from several companies, many of which have little to do with NAS products. We would like to thank AVADirect, Antec, Corsair, GIGABYTE, Icy Dock, Kingston, LSI, Noctua, Rosewill, Seagate, Thermaltake, and Western Digital for their much-appreciated support.
The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance. Designed to emulate the behavior of an actual application, NASPT uses a set of real-world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications. Traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation, and more, provide a broad range of different application behaviors.
TweakTown Custom 120-Client Office Test
The TweakTown Custom 120-client Office Test uses 120 Windows 7 Hyper-V installations and custom software to stress each NAS with traces from Microsoft Office tasks. Both throughput (in Mbits per second) and latency (in milliseconds) are measured.
Seagate NAS HDD
TweakTown uses Seagate NAS hard drives for all of our NAS tests. You can read our full review of the Seagate NAS HDD here. For this review, we're using the 4TB NAS HDDs to compare to other HDDs.
Supermicro SSE-X3348TR 10GbE / 40GbE Switch
With a switching fabric of 1284 Gbps through forty-eight 10GBaseT and four 40GbE ports, the SSE-X3348TR is our switch of choice for testing SMB and enterprise network attached storage products. You can read our full review of the Supermicro X3348TR top of rack switch here.
Thecus N8900 Eight-Bay NAS with Intel X520-SR2 Dual 10GbE NIC
To test the NAS-specific HDDs, we're using a Thecus N8900 eight-bay NAS loaded with an Intel X520-SR2 two-port 10GbE NIC. The system connects to the Supermicro switch via a QSFP+ to 4x SPF+ cable. We're using 802.3ad to increase bandwidth between the NAS and the network.
Before we dive into the workload tests, let's take a look at some simple synthetics that show sequential and random performance. For these tests, we're using eight drives in a Thecus N8900, running in RAID 5. The NAS connects to the network with two 10GbE links, and the test system connects to the network with an Intel XL710 NIC running at 40GbE.
Nothing in the results look out of place from what we expected to see. In most cases, the Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD delivers higher performance at QD4 than the Seagate NAS does at QD4. The solid lines show QD1 performance, and the 7,200 RPM Enterprise NAS clearly dominates the 5,900 RPM NAS in all of the synthetic tests.
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