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NAS Reviews

Performance - Comparative

To put the EonNAS Pro 500's performance in perspective, we created a set of custom performance charts using the NAS Finder filtered for D525 Atom processors. We included products with four bays and greater in the filter, because our RAID 5 tests are always run with four drives to keep the playing field level.

The plot composite below shows Windows and NASPT RAID 5 file copy write and read results for the select group of NASes. The products shift positions in the various comparisons. But while data integrity may be a strong suit of the EonNAS Pro 500, the comparison shows that large file copy throughput isn't.

RAID 5 file copy performance comparison

RAID 5 file copy performance comparison

We also compared NASPT directory copy performance for this group of products. The smaller files and heavy disk interaction that are hallmarks of these benchmarks helped the Infortrend's ranking, especially for reads. But running similar comparisons for the Office Productivity and Content Creation benchmarks landed the Pro 500 at the bottom of the rankings once again.

RAID 5 NASPT directory copy performance comparison

RAID 5 NASPT directory copy performance comparison

Use the NAS Charts to further explore and compare the EonNAS Pro 500's performance

Performance - Special Modes

Given the unique deduplication feature, we just had to see what effect it had on performance. Likewise for encryption. But first, let's see if deduplication actually worked. We took our standard 4.35 GB ripped-DVD file copy test folder and drag-and-dropped it to the deduped folder multiple times, renaming the copied folder each time.

The figure below shows the total pool stats with one folder copied on the top (there was nothing else stored on the NAS), the Explorer view of all four folders copied in the middle and the pool stats with the four folders on the bottom.

Deduplication test result

Deduplication test result

We are not sure why Used Space acutally dropped a bit. But the fact that it didn't go up by 4X and the deduplication ratio of 77.8% are solid evidence that deduplication worked. We also tried another experiment copying about 12 files over to the deduped folder, then renaming those files and copying them again to the folder. As expected, this also worked. These tests are admittedly crude and more of a file-level deduplication test. But we're pretty confident that the EonNAS Pro's deduplication will significantly reduce the storage requirements in typical office file storage use.

We checked the performance hit for deduplication and encryption separately, creating a test folder on a RAID 5 pool with each option enabled, then running our standard benchmark suite using the folder as a mapped drive. The results are summarized in Table 2 below.

  Normal Dedup % Diff Encrypt % Diff
FileCopyToNAS 33.57 24.85 -26.0% 17.38 -48.2%
FileCopyFromNAS 53.10 69.22 30.4% 19.32 -63.6%
DirectoryCopyToNAS 14.26 13.49 -5.3% 11.54 -19.1%
DirectoryCopyFromNAS 19.87 20.10 1.1% 10.54 -47.0%
ContentCreation 2.31 1.88 -18.6% 1.52 -34.0%
OfficeProductivity 39.67 40.90 3.1% 25.56 -35.6%
HDVideo_1Play_1Record 50.85 61.33 20.6% 18.93 -62.8%
HDVideo_4Play 70.82 85.19 20.3% 32.60 -54.0%
           
Win File Copy Write 66.33 45.79 -31.0% 31.02 -53.2%
Win File Copy Read 71.24 58.71 -17.6% 39.20 -45.0%
Table 2: Special folder mode performance comparison

The deduplication hit varies from benchmark to benchmark. But it's clear that write benchmarks reveal a performance penalty from the mid 20 to low 30% range. The penalty for using encryption is much more severe and present for both write and read. With a performance hit of up to 64%, you really better need to encrypt folders due to the high performance price you'll pay.

Drive Pull

We always like to see how new NASes handle failed drives. We started a large folder filecopy, waited until it got going, then pulled drive 1. The file copy kept going and it took 30 seconds for the system to start beeping an alert. The LCD panel also lit up to display an option to silence the alarm, which we took advantage of. When the alarm stopped, the display changed to System Error Check Logs, so we did.

We logged in to see the Home page below that displayed multiple indications of the problem that are outlined in yellow. So kudos to Infortrend for not making us hunt for an indication of volume failure and for using multiple alert methods. We also received multiple emails informing me that the pulled drive wasn't online and the pool was degraded.

Drive pull reflected in admin GUI

Drive pull reflected in admin GUI

Before pushing the drive back in, we checked the EonNAS Hardware Manual for drive replacement instructions. The manual had clear instructions for removing the drive and physically swapping it out, but no instructions on rebuilding a failed pool. So we just reinserted the drive. Shortly after, the drive lights starting blinking blue, so something was in process.

We checked the Storage Pool and Home screens and were surprised to find the Pool status back to Online after only a minute or so. This was similar to our experience when changing between volume types. There was no long sync process, or at least not an indication of one in the admin GUI. The drives were still flashing away, which continued for another few minutes when they settled back to a steady green light status.

So the whole fail and recovery process was pretty painless with recovery starting automatically upon replacing a failed drive. Our only complaint is that there was no LCD screen, admin GUI, email notification or log indication that the failed pool had been fixed.

Closing Thoughts

We're not sure how successful Infortrend is going to be in making headway against companies better known to small business NAS buyers. While the EonNAS Pro certainly has some unique and useful features, most notably deduplication, its performance lags—in some cases significantly—behind products built on similar hardware platforms.

The 500's $700 price isn't too far out of whack for a five-bay dual-core Atom based NAS. But keep in mind the D525 is a generation behind the D2700 and D2550 Cedarview models that most other manufacturers have moved on to.

A key concern of business buyers is always support. But Infortrend has some work to do there, too. The Support area of Infortrend's site is pretty sparse, once you get past the required login. There is a Forum, but it doesn't look very active. FAQ are there too, but not very informative.

The deal-killer for many may be the lack of U.S. phone support. It is available for Infortrend's high-priced ESVA (Enterprise Scalable Virtualized Architecture) products, but not for EonNAS or EonNAS Pro products. Although numbers for the San Jose and Libertyville, IL offices are posted, there is only a link to online support and no support hours posted.

In contrast, QNAP, Synology and even Thecus all have support phone numbers and hours posted for their U.S. phone support. At least EonNAS Pros are covered by a three-year limited warranty.

We got a taste of EonNAS support while preparing this review. But even with a direct email line to an EonNAS support specialist, it took a few days for some replies to come back.

All things considered, the EonNAS Pro 500 was certainly different from most NASes we've had on the SmallNetBuilder test bench. But unless you really need deduplication and are willing to accept lower performance than you can get from similarly-priced products, it's probably best to leave the buying to somebody else.

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