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The ioSafe N2 was tested with Synology DSM 4.2-3202 using our standard NAS test process.

The Benchmark Summary below shows Windows File Copy RAID 0 writes about 10 MB/s higher than for RAID 1 (59 MB/s vs. 50 MB/s). Reads track a bit closer at 89 and 82 MB/s for RAID 0 and 1, respectively.

ioSafe N2 Benchmark Summary

ioSafe N2 Benchmark Summary

NASPT File copy writes were much higher than their Windows File Copy counterparts, measuring 92 MB/s vs. 59 MB/s for RAID 0 and 74 MB/s vs. 50 MB/s for RAID 1. NASPT file copy reads trended slightly lower at 81 MB/s vs. 89 MB/s for RAID 0 and significantly lower for RAID 1 at 73 MB/s vs. 82 MB/s.

iSCSI target write performance to target volume came in at 47 MB/s, with read slightly higher at 53 MB/s.

Best attached backup performance of 21 MB/s was obtained surprisingly with USB 2.0 and EXT3. Using USB 3.0 for backup didn't provide any speed boost.

Rsync backup to the NAS Testbed running DeltaCopy acting as an rsync target came in at 22 MB/s.

For a competitive look, I compared RAID 1 File Copy charts filtered for comparable 2-bay NASes and selected three other Marvell Kirkwood-based products for comparison, i.e. the Ready NAS Duo v2, Zyxel NSA325 and Iomega ix2-dl. Note that the three comparison products have CPUs clocked at 1.6 GHz, vs. the N2's 2.0 GHz.

The N2 sits at the top in only the NASPT File copy chart and usually in the pack with the other top competitors, except in NASPT File Copy From NAS where you can see it was almost 20% behind the top competitor.

RAID 1 File Copy Performance comparison

RAID 1 File Copy Performance comparison

In all, performance is fast enough for a product that's primarily intended for backup purposes.

Closing Thoughts

To be realistic, a more economical solution to the ioSafe might be a fireproof box, a couple of USB drives and alternating backups. However, I know when I've had a USB backup solution, backups were often not done on a routine basis. If backing up multiple computers is a requirement, then you're either looking at painfully moving the USB drive to each computer for backups or buying a potentially expensive non-fireproof NAS for central backups that you then back up to USB to move to the firebox.

And let's say for some reason the drive that you've put in the DIY fireproof box does not come up. Data recovery can be very expensive. It can be included in the ioSafe purchase for peace of mind. Expensive if you never use it, economical if you do. The N2 NAS diskless is about $599.99 and does not include data recovery. Add two 1TB standard class drives with Basic Data Recovery ($2500/TB for 1 year) and it jumps to $899.99 or $947.99 if you want Pro Data Recovery ($5000/TB). Bump the Basic Data Recovery to 5 years and the price climbs to $995.03, 5 years of Pro is $1235.03. That's a good chunk of change initially, but could be well worth the investment if something were to go wrong. It covers a a one-time event for any reason, even accidental deletion.

The bottom line is that I burned the N2 for 30 minutes, pulled it out of the fire, hosed it off and then threw it in a tub of water for three days. After drying it out (or so I thought) and transferring the drives to another N2, I did lose one drive, but the other was fine. I was able to rebuild the array to a healthy status for redundant protection once again and all of my files were there.

Had our house burned down and then been flooded, my data would still be intact. In the end, the N2 passed its torture test with flying colors. If your data is worth protecting and you can't or won't use cloud-based backup, an ioSafe N2 could be a very valuable addition to your backup routine.

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