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NAS Reviews

{mospagebreak toctitle= Introduction}

Introduction

At a Glance
Product Thecus YES Box (N2100)
Summary "Bring Your Own Disk" (BYOD) RAID dual-drive NAS with Gigabit Ethernet and media serving
Pros • RAID 0,1 and JBOD support
• Up to two SATA drives
• Gigabit Ethernet with 4K and 8K Jumbo frames supported
• Many Features
Cons • A bit on the pricey side for a box without drives
• No backup features

Thecus YES Box N2100

Thecus has been after me for awhile to retest its N2100 dual-drive NAS that Jim Buzbee first looked at back in June. They said the new firmware has significantly improved performance and wanted another crack at their position in our NAS Charts. So without further ado, here are the results of the retest.

Performance - 100 Mbps LAN - JBOD

As with all our NAS testing, IOzone was used to check out the file system performance on the N2100 (the full testing setup and methodology are described on this page). Tests were run in JBOD and RAID 1 modes with 100 and 1000 Mbps LAN connections. The gigabit-connected tests were run with both jumbo frame capability disabled and with 4k jumbo frames.

To ensure connection at the intended speeds, the iozone test machine and the N2100 were manually moved between a NETGEAR GS108 10/100/1000Mbps switch for gigabit-speed testing and a 10/100 switch for 100 Mbps testing.

NOTES:

  • Firmware version tested was 2.1.03
  • Drives used were two Seagate Barracuda ST3300831A 300GB 7200RPM SATA hard drives with 8MB of cache supplied by Thecus
  • Keep in mind that the maximum raw data rate for 100Mbps Ethernet is 12500 Kbytes/sec and 125000 Kbytes/sec for gigabit

Figures 1 and 2 show write and read results respectively with a 100 Mbps LAN connection and the N2100 configured in JBOD mode. (The N2100 also supports RAID 0 in addition to JBOD and RAID 1, but I didn't test that mode.) Included in the plots are the D-Link DNS-323 and HP Media Vault, which are recently tested dual-drive NASes with similar performance. I've also included data from the original test run, indicated by "Thecus N2100 original" in each plot.

100 Mbps LAN JBOD write performance

Figure 1: 100 Mbps LAN JBOD write performance (click to enlarge)

Both read and write performance have significantly improved with the new firmware. 100 Mbps JBOD write performance now ranks right after the D-Link DNS-323 and read performance is better than both the DNS-323 and HP Media Vault.

100 Mbps LAN JBOD read performance

Figure 2: 100 Mbps LAN JBOD read performance (click to enlarge)

Performance - 100 Mbps LAN - RAID 1

Figures 3 and 4 show write and read results respectively with a 100 Mbps LAN connection and the N2100 configured in RAID 1 mode. Relative rankings are the same as for JBOD for both write and read, with the N2100 once again showing significantly improved performance.

100 Mbps LAN RAID 1 write performance

Figure 3: 100 Mbps LAN RAID 1 write performance (click to enlarge)

100 Mbps LAN RAID 1 read performance

Figure 4: 100 Mbps LAN RAID 1 read performance (click to enlarge)


Performance - Gigabit LAN - JBOD

The 2100 supports 4 K and 8 K jumbo frame sizes, but only 4 K frames were tested in both JBOD and RAID1 modes. Once again, the D-Link DNS-323 comes out on top for JBOD write and the N2100 for read. Jumbo frames definitely help the N2100's write performance, but not so much for read.

Like many other Linux-based NASes, read performance for smaller file sizes is very high and drops off, in this case, for 256 MB and higher files.

1000 Mbps LAN JBOD write performance

Figure 5: 1000 Mbps LAN JBOD write performance (click to enlarge)

A close look at Figure 6 shows that the DNS-323 drops below the HP Media Vault (mv2020) for JBOD read with a gigabit LAN connection.

1000 Mbps LAN JBOD read performance

Figure 6: 1000 Mbps LAN JBOD read performance (click to enlarge)

Performance - Gigabit LAN - RAID 1

Comparing Figures 5 and 7 shows relative performance remains the same as JBOD for RAID 1 write, but there is an expected reduction in speeds.

1000 Mbps LAN RAID 1 write performance

Figure 7: 1000 Mbps LAN RAID 1 write performance (click to enlarge)

RAID 1 read (Figure 8) once again has the HP NAS beating out D-Link, but by a much wider margin than in JBOD mode.

1000 Mbps LAN RAID 1 read performance

Figure 8: 1000 Mbps LAN RAID 1 read performance (click to enlarge)

Conclusion

If you have a Thecus N2100 and haven't upgraded to the 2.1.03 firmware, the iozone test results show that installing the upgrade will provide a nice performance boost. Who says that nothing comes for free? Be sure to check the NAS Charts to see how far up the charts the upgraded N2100 moved.

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