Drive Pull Test
I decided to finally see how WHS handles drive failure by doing a simple drive-pull test. I started with the second drive on a system that was virtually empty. Pulling the drive caused no audible alarm, nor any alert in the WHS tray app. And since there is no email alert feature, I didn't get any of those. Instead, the System Health light on the X510's front panel turned red almost immediately.
When I logged into the WHS Console, I had to navigate to the System Status screen before I had any indication that something was amiss. But had I not looked carefully, I might have missed the subtle indication that I've highlighted in Figure 8. Note also the -1.0 byte Free Space indication in the right-hand column and lack of storage use graphic.
Figure 8: Drive failure indication
When I clicked on the Server Storage icon on the top menu bar, I found a proper Missing status for the second drive. But the Server Storage pie chart wasn't there, replaced by the Calculating sizes graphic shown in Figure 9. This eventually went away and was replaced by a proper pie chart.
Figure 8: Drive failure indication
But on a second pull of the #2 drive, an incorrect pie chart showing 1.8 TB of available space remained in place and I couldn't find a way to refresh it. When I pushed the drive back in, the Missing indication was replaced by Healthy shortly after the drive spun up and all was well again.
I next turned the locking latch that secures the primary drive (carrying the OS) in place and then pulled it. This time, the WHS Console threw an alert that it had lost contact with the server, the System Health light once again turned red and, as you might expect, share access went away. When I replugged the OS drive, however, the system didn't come back up and I had to shut it down and reboot. Fortunately, once I did this, the OS was intact.
I realize that this wasn't a very hard test of WHS' robustness. Had the system been actively writing data when I pulled a drive, I might have lost the OS or at least some unduplicated data. Despite WHS' ease of use advantages over RAID and its ability to automatically copy data to external drives, you should still never trust data to any single device.
The X510 was tested with our standard test process. I used the latest 126.96.36.199083 firmware and ran iozone and Vista file copy tests to the Public folder with a Gigabit LAN connection. I did not run tests with 4K jumbo frames enabled, because this requires Remote Desktop connection, which I consider equivalent to root console access on Linux-based NASes, i.e. not part of the supported feature set.
Figure 9 shows a summary of iozone benchmark results. Write cache boost is significant and doesn't go completely away until the 1 GB file size. Read speed is steadily in the mid 80 MB/s range, dropping to the mid-to-high 60 MB/s range for the 2 and 4 GB file sizes.
Figure 9: HP X510 benchmark comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN
Average write speed over the 32 MB to 4 GB file sizes with cached results above 125 MB/s removed from the average measured a chart-topping 86.9 MB/s for write and second-place 82.1 MB/s for read.
Results from the Vista SP1 file copy test pushed the X510 lower in the write chart (Figure 10), to 71.9 MB/s. I suspect that's because the X510 acts like a single-drive NAS vs. the multi-drive RAID 0 configurations of the higher-ranked NASes. Note that the X510 gets only a moderate write advantage over the older EX487 and even the entry-level single-drive LX195.
Figure 10: HP X510 Vista SP1 Filecopy Write
Figure 11, which displays file copy read results, shows the X510 achieving 99 MB/s—pretty much the maximum I've seen from any NAS.
Figure 11: HP X510 Vista SP1 Filecopy Read
Use the NAS Charts to further explore and compare the X510's performance.
If you've been looking for a bit more performance in a quad-drive WHS-based NAS, the X510 (or MediaSmart EX495) will fill the bill. There are no revolutionary advances here, just a nice speed bump for a solidly designed and built and attractively-styled NAS.