For the purpose of NAS reviews, we have setup a dedicated testbed with the configuration as below. The NAS is directly connected to the testbed (using as many Cat 5E cables as there are ports on the NAS) without a switch or router inbetween. This is done in order to minimize the number of external factors which might influence the performance of the system.

NAS Benchmarking Testbed Setup
Processor Intel i5-680 CPU - 3.60GHz, 4MB Cache
Motherboard Asus P7H55D-M EVO
OS Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
Secondary Drive Kingston SSDNow 128GB
Memory G.SKILL ECO Series 2GB (1 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO CAS 7-7-7-21
PCI-E Slot Quad-Port GbE Intel ESA-I340
Optical Drives ASUS 8X Blu-ray Drive Model BC-08B1ST
Case Antec VERIS Fusion Remote Max
Power Supply Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate x64

In addition to the Realtek GbE NIC on-board the Asus P7H55D-M EVO, four more GbE ports are enabled on the system, thanks to the Intel ESA-I340 quad port GbE ethernet server adapter . With a PCI-E x4 connector, the card was plugged into the PCI-E x16 slot on the Asus motherboard.

Two of the four ports are teamed together as shown in the video below below during the benchmarking.

Intel NASPT is used to benchmark the NAS device. In order to ensure that the hard disk transfer rate is not a bottleneck, NASPT is run from the secondary drive in the testbed (the Kingston SSD). With average read and write speeds of 178.8 MB/s and 167.8 MB/s, it is unlikely that a single GbE link NAS can be limited in performance due to the test system. However, a link aggregated NAS could be affected. Fortunately, as we will see in the next few sections, this wasn't the case for the 5big storage server.

All file copy tests were also performed using the SSD. The file copy test consists of transferring a 10.7 GB Blu-Ray folder structure between the NAS and the testbed using the robocopy command in mirror mode.

There are three important sharing protocols we investigated in the course of our evaluation of the 5big storage server. In the next few sections, you will find NASPT / robocopy benchmarking results for Samba, NFS and iSCSI sharing protocols. Each section also has a small description of how the shares were set up on the NAS. The NASPT benchmarks were run in Batch mode thrice, giving us 15 distinct data points. The average of these 15 values is recorded in the graphs presented in the following sections. The robocopy benchmark was run thrice, and the average transfer rate of the three iterations is presented alongside the NASPT benchmarks.

Unboxing and Setup Impressions SMB Performance
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  • Guspaz - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    What's with the crazy partitioning scheme? They've got 102.54GB dedicated to swap...

    It looks almost like they decided on 34.18GB system partitions, and decided to just throw the rest into swap to use up the space. They could have shrunk that to 20GB, and put four of the partitions in RAID-10, with swap on the system partition. Or they could have had four 17.09GB partitions in RAID-10 for the system, and the remaining 17.09GB partition as swap; do you really need redundancy on the swap partition?
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Are you sure that's for swap?

    I'm not sure about Server 2008, but Win7 has a partition meant to aid in recovery of the OS in case it bombs. I believe that partition is about 100MB in size. Perhaps Server 2008R2 has the same?
  • DoveOfTheSouth - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Somerthing you didn't cover and I think is very important for a small business NAS, is automatic client backup software.
    Does the LaCie come with any? If it does, how many licences? If not, I think you should mention it - some of the competitors do.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    I suspect not. LaCie sells a 5big Backup Server for this purpose. I will try to clarify with them (there was no explicit software for backing up clients, though you could obviously backup the server itself using an WSS 2008 option in the server manager)
  • jabber - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    For NAS boxes I use Cobian. Its the only solution simple enough for folks to get to grips with and that will easily do backups to or from a NAS box.

    So many back up apps go mental if you introduce NAS boxes. Why they should in this day and age I have no idea.

    Cobian just works.

    I think a lot of manufacturers forget this aspect. That many small businesses (1 ro 6 people) dont either have the funds to run a continuous IT support contract or want to have to call in an IT support guy every 5 minutes if they want to change something.

    With the economy the way it is, there are a lot of new small firms like this that the IT manufacturers really are not catering to and they are missing a trick.

    Cut the IT babble front ends and just let it do the simple stuff in a logical manner.
  • unblocktheplanet - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - link

    I use a Mac and I’ve always had good luck with LaCie. I want to stream my movies and music to a networked DVD player as well as using my NAS for backup.

    I’m evaluating LaCie 5big Network, Synology DS1010+ or Seagate BlackArmor 4-bay NAS 440. My needs are pretty simple.

    But then I got to SOFTWARE RAID on LaCie! Sure about that? That would be a deal-breaker for me, the cause of numerous problems on my current external storage.

    As I live in Bangkok, I don’t have the ease of returning the unit to the US for service or warranty.

    Thanks much.
  • Hrel - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    Can you guys review a few of those new NAS boxes built on ARM processors please?

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