We had the chance to meet up with Asustor at CES yesterday. Reviews of some of their offerings had popped up on various websites, and my initial impression was that Asus was aiming to get a toehold in the fast growing NAS market. I wasn't expecting much, but I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Asustor was founded in August 2011 as an affiliate of the Asus group. It has around 70 employees, out of which 60 are in R&D, with a majority involved in software / firmware development. Even though the company is pretty new, the employees trace back their roots to QNAP and Synology.

Currently, Asustor has one NAS product family, the 6 Series. All the models use the Atom D2700 2.13 GHz dual core processor with 1 GB of SO-DIMM DDR3. It is possible for end-users to upgrade the DRAM up to 3 GB. The currently available models include 2,4,6 and 8-bay models AS-60xT, where x is the number of bays, and T represents the tower form factor.

Towards the end of this month, Asustor will also introduce rackmount models AS-604R (1U form factor) and the AS-609R (2U form factor) with 4 and 9 bays respectively. These models will also have 1 GB of DDR3 DRAM and the D2700 processor only. I find it hard to understand how they can manage to do RAID calculations across 9 drives with just an Atom CPU. We are trying to confirm whether there is any hardware RAID involved.

 

All the 6 series models have 2x GbE links, 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and 2x eSATA to go along with the HDMI display output port. While the 2-bay unit has an external 60W power adapter, the rest of the tower models have an internal 250W PSU. The rackmount units have internal redundant power supplies (250W for the AS-604R and 350W for the AS-609R).

QNAP and Synology have been around for more than 10 years, while Asustor is relatively new. Starting from a fresh slate migh help Asustor provide modern consumers with a better suited. However, the drawback is that Asustor hasn't had time to deliver all the features available in the Synology or QNAP units. Being Atom-based units, the 6 series isn't really a candidate for value propositions. 1 GB of DRAM also sounds a bit low for multi-bay NAS units based on the Atom processors. In comparison, the LaCie 5big NAS Pro has 4 GB of DRAM and is based on the same Atom processor (D2700).

In terms of software and UI, Asustor has decided to replicate the iOS experience with similar icons and layout. Most commonly required functions are easily accessible. A SDK is available for developers to produce custom apps. For example, Boxee has been ported over and can be used to decode and send HD video out thrugh the HDMI port (similar to how Thecus has developed XBMC for their Atom D2700 based NAS platforms). A private cloud solution is enabled using the Asustor apps for Android and iOS as well as Asustor's own dynamic DNS service. a Dropbox app is available to bring content stored in your Dropbox account on to the NAS and keep it synced. Unlike other NAS units with volume level encryption, Asustor has opted for folder level encryption.All virtualization needs are available with Citrix, VMWare and Hyper-V support.

On the whole, the Asustor 6-series looks like a well-built NAS unit with an effective and easy to use OS in the Asustor Data Master (ADM). Reliability and performance are aspects on which we will get more information from user reports and detailed reviews in the future. I am also looking forward to Asustor expanding into the value market segment in the future.

POST A COMMENT

4 Comments

View All Comments

  • SolGoodGuy - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link

    "decided to repliace the iOS"

    ??

    Going for replicate there I guess?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link

    Thanks for spotting the typo. Fixed it now. Reply
  • dealcorn - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link

    The 8-9 bay units look like they are designed for Briarwood which has built in hardware support for RAID parity calculations. If you are going to pop for 8-9 bays, Xeon branding and ECC memory is helpful. Same ancient Bonnell core, but for purposes of RAID parity calculations it is a one trick pony with a heck of a kick. Reply
  • Niall100 - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link

    We got the 604T, and its fast, but they have a lot work to do on there own made app's. Most off them arent working as supposed. Add some extra ram and the cpu goes out of control. Use Boxee with extra ram and cpu goes up to 100% (Adata as been tested by Asustor). And loss all your data after some reset due impossible to talk to machine due overload cpu.

    About the app's tested by Asustor but not made by Asustor they telling people to go to makers website. I think when you use the asustor machine in a business place and use it for some streaming. I would say to Asustor dont let app's be a part off your machine if it gives problems. And yes you should not lay back on just 1 backup, but you dont want to have problems on one NAS every day since your other backup "NAS" my fail also.
    As can read on there own forum they are working to fix the memory problem fast. Though it seems they have not tested there own hardware. Not even with Adata ram as Asustor says that it should work.

    I have trust in Asustor, but they need to fiks some huge problems first, pitty they have dropped it on the market to soon.

    Niall
    love to test beyond
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now