CIFS Performance Testing
Our test system is actually a cluster of systems that starts with a QCT (formally Quanta) dual-processor server loaded with an Intel 10GbE NIC. The 10GbE NIC faces a Supermicro switch with 48 10GbE and 4 40GbE ports that allows us to maximize our infrastructure.
The multiclient test utilizes ten dual-processor systems with each loaded with two Hot Lava 6-port NICs per server. The array of servers give us 120 "clients" running in a virtualized environment but with a dedicated network for each client.
We tested all of the systems in this review using Seagate IronWolf Pro 12TB HDDs in RAID 5. Every system was fully loaded with drives. Some of the systems in this comparison use four, and others use five drives.
Sequential Read Performance
There are so few low-cost NAS with 10GbE connectivity we had trouble finding comparison systems. In the end, we decided to let the AS4004T set the bar for low-cost 10GbE performance and run the other popular systems with gigabit speeds.
10-gigabit Ethernet with sequential data makes the differences between 1-gigabit performances between systems seem trivial. All of these systems will deliver strong gigabit transfers
Sequential Write Performance
We see a little more variance in the 1GbE tests between systems with sequential data moving to the NAS under test. To get the most out of the AS4004T you want to run it on a 10-gigabit network.
Sequential Mixed Workload Performance
The 10-gigabit network allows the RAID 5 array to follow the traditional bathtub curve that is prevalent in mixed workloads. Most storage technology can read and write at very high speeds but the closer it gets to a 50% mix, the slower the transactions become due to increased latency. With 1GbE networks, the bottleneck keeps you from even seeing the peaks on both edges, it's performance you simply don't have access to.
Random Read Performance
Most random workloads will not see an increase in performance with 10GbE on consumer-class NAS appliances. You need a very powerful processor for this workload to begin with. That's why the Asustor AS6404T, with a quad-core Intel processor, performs so well in the 4KB test using queue depth scaling to magnify the workload.
Random Write Performance
We see the same behavior with random data writes with these systems. Processing power and the system cache contributes a greater amount than the network connectivity technology in a low-cost NAS.
Random Mixed Workload Performance
The random mixed workload chart shows our point about random performance hanging off of processing power. Even with 10-gigabit, the AS4004T shows a fairly flat line from 100% reads to 100% writes with between 200 and 150 IOPS. The upper market AS6404T running on a gigabit network delivers a lot more.
This only impacts application performance running off of the NAS. When you simply store files on the system, those are likely large block size files moving sequentially. That means the data comes and goes in order, rather than small pieces spread across the drives in the array.
Traditional Server Workloads
That doesn't mean the Asustor AS6404T is bad for application use. Of the systems we tested, the AS4004T delivers strong performance for this price class.
Multiclient Office Workload
Standard server applications are one thing but 120 computer users reading and writing data to the NAS is much more difficult. Our multi-client test is so demanding many low-cost NAS can't even run the workload.
We didn't have that problem with the AS4004T, but the system performed best with around eight users working from the system at the same time. This workload uses Microsoft Office applications so a single user can't saturate the system. After eight users at the same time, the latency starts to overtake the system and the performance decreases as we add more users.
iSCSI Application Performance
Our only iSCSI test today comes from PCMark 8, the standard application storage test. Here we run nine applications used to produce ten tests. The applications come from frequently used software from Adobe, Microsoft, and two games where the data is on the NAS, but processed on the host PC.
Application data is largely small random files except for the sections that load images and videos. The Asustor AS4004T performs well in this test, but there is very little separation between the 10-gigabit and gigabit network.