Synology DS410j NAS Station
Naturally a NAS is only as useful as its ability to provide fast transfer speeds both when data is being requested by a sole computer if used as more of a large storage solution, and also across a network when multiple requests are being made in unison. As this is a smaller Network Attached Storage solution the decision was made that we'd try the Synology DS410J with a sole computer to provide ideal usage conditions.
Naturally a NAS isn't much use without any storage installed and so we populated the DS410j with three 160GB Western Digital Caviar drives and configured them into a RAID 0 array. Initially three would seem a strange choice but actually makes a lot of sense. One drive would be pointless, two is the type of RAID most of us are used to and so the performance would be akin to an average RAID system. Four drives however is still an even number so the thought was that it might be easy to get high performance knowing how much computers love even numbered amounts of things, especially if the Synology treats it like 2 dual-drive RAIDs. So we settled on three to make sure that just because we haven't got a dozen PCs to hand we could still give the Synology DS410j a good test without resorting to madly expensive top end drives. RAID is "inexpensive disks" after all.
Because we have used such inexpensive disks for our testing and the ability of a NAS, we decided to run two brief tests to get a flavour for the abilities of the Synology DS410j.
Given that we are running very average drives, in a strange configuration, we were surprised to see that the creation of a 5GB file provided twice the transfer speed of a 700MB file. We've come across speed differentials in file transfers before when usually the tiny files are slow and then it quickly climbs until the speed plateaus at a certain file-size. With the Synology it just kept getting quicker. Nice indeed. Also as we were creating dummy files of such huge size if anything was going to tax the 800mhz CPU and 128MB of DDR2-800 RAM, this test was it.
The DS410j didn't once stutter or wheeze. We think the only way you could get it to do so would be to have such a large userbase attempting to access all at once that the 8TB physical capacity limit would be the deciding factor rather than the ability of the NAS to keep pumping data.
Don't be fooled by the time taken graph either. Yes it only took a quarter of the time, but it created a file around a 7th of the size. This is most probably a limitation of our test drives rather than of the NAS. Nonetheless it's something to be aware of.
Time to wrap this up.