Synology NAS DS211 & DS411j Review
Published: 16th November 2010 | Source: Synology | Price: £220 - £270 |
In order to take full advantage of Network Attached Storage, you will also need to have laid down the appropriate infrastructure within your office or household. For a start, you can forget about achieving optimal performance across Wireless-G/N or 100Mbps LAN. As even the fastest Wireless technology (300Mbps) has a maximum transfer rate of 37.5MB/sec excluding overheads you will most certainly want your storage linked to a fully Gigabit LAN compliant network.
For the purpose of "bottleneck free" testing, our DS211 and DS411j samples are linked directly to our testbed system's PCI-Express Gigabit LAN module.
In order to conduct our testing, we need a range of files to transfer to the NAS devices. For this, we used a Dummy File Generator which can create conventional or random (non compressible) files. Further, it is also possible to create a batch of files, varying in size. In order to determine a well rounded result we are conducting three tests; one 700MB file, one 1500MB file (to simulate videos and movies of varied size) as well as a batch of 11 files ranging from 1MB to 1GB (2GB total).
While we would have like to have tested the devices in different RAID configurations, we were not supplied with identical capacity drives.
To prevent any hold backs from the testbed machine, the files are being transferred from a Mushkin Callisto 120GB Solid State Drive. Finally for the sake of comparison, the same Seagate 7200.12 500GB Hard Disk Drive used in the NAS servers was tested directly from the motherboard's SB850 Southbridge controller.
Write Operation Performance
Batch File Test
Here we find the DS211 performing significantly better than the dearer 411j device. While the DS211 performed reasonably well, we cannot help but feel particularly disappointed by the 411j's transfer rate. Regardless, it really does seem as though we are judging between the lesser of two evils
Individual File Test
Unsurprisingly, the Individual File Test paints a similar picture. The fact that multiple file headers needn't be written during an individual file transfer has resulted in higher rates across the board. Again, roughly a 15MB/sec gap holds between the two NAS boxes.
Read Operation Performance
Of course for many media users, write performance forms only a small portion of the NAS' operations. As a DLNA compliant server device, it is likely that many will spend more time listening to music and watching video compared to the time spent loading the data in the first place. Particularly when handling high definition media, read performance will have to be top notch. So how will the two NAS' fair?
Batch File Test
The batch file test shows very promising results as both the DS211 and DS411j show considerably faster read rates compared to write. The DS211 excels again with over 75% LAN utilisation and performance within 15% of the same drive connected to a local SATA controller. Meanwhile the 411j lags behind with transfer rates of just 70MB/sec.
Individual File Test
Some impressive results delivered by the DS211 yet again with read rates pushing over the 100MB/sec barrier, while just below when transferring the larger 1.5GB file. The less performance orientated DS411j peaks just short of 80MB/sec, which is still a fair effort regardless.
LAN Speed Test
LAN Speed Test is a benchmark which measures network throughput between host and destination devices. By transmitting a 100MB file back and forth the program can determine a specific transmit rate. With a bit of luck it will confirm the results identified above.
Thankfully it did. One noticeable observation is that both results are proportionally lower than the Dummy File Tests carried out above. Regardles, we reach a similar conclusion of acceptable read rates while obtaining slightly low write speeds.
Let's wrap this one up.