New To The Charts: Cisco NSS324 4-Bay Smart Storage

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Tim Higgins

The Cisco NSS324 4-Bay Smart Storage has been added to the NAS Charts.

The four-bay member of Cisco’s NSS300 line, the NSS324, has QNAP’s TS-459 Pro [reviewed] hardware beneath its slightly modified exterior.

I didn’t bother taking it apart, since I already did that for the TS-459 Pro and didn’t expect to see anything different from its innards pictured below.

TS-459 Pro inside
Click to enlarge image

Like the NSS322, the 459’s hardware platform uses an Intel D510 Atom clocked at 1.66 GHz. The board close-up below shows one SODIMM socket holding 1 GB of DDRII RAM and a 512 MB IDE DOM (Disk on Module), with an ITE IT8718F "Super I/O", two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet Controllers and Intel 82801IB (ICH9) I/O controller rounding out the rest of the design.

TS-459 board
Click to enlarge image

I’m pleased to report that the NSS324 didn’t share the NSS322’s bad habit of spinning its fan up to full speed as I ran performance tests. The 324 remained very quiet the whole time, with the loudest sound being the quiet thunks of drive head noise.

Power consumption measured 45 W with the four 1 TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 3.5" SATA drives that came with the NSS324D04-K9 model that Cisco sent for test and 29 W with the drives spun down after a programmable idle period.

I loaded up the latest 1.1.0.6 version firmware before running the new Version 4 NAS Test suite.

The Windows File Copy test. RAID 5 write ranking is shown in the screenshot below. At 89.9 MB/s, the NSS324 sits a tad higher than two other D510 Atom-based NASes (Synology’s DS1010+ and QNAP’s TS-459 Pro) for write and at 97.7 MB/s for read.

Cisco NSS324 RAID 5 Windows File Copy Performance

A less optimistic view of performance is provided by the new Directory Copy To and From NAS tests from the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) suite. These tests copy 236 MB consisting of 2,833 files in 44 folders to and from the NAS under test.

The NASPT directory copy tests move many more smaller files in multiple directories, so are much less sequential in nature than the Windows-based filecopy tests. This certainly shows in the results, which came in at 14.7 MB/s for RAID 5 write and 14.8 MB/s for RAID 5 read.

I was able to run all of the backup tests for USB and eSATA and FAT, EXT3 and NTFS formats. Like the NSS322, best results of 93 MB/s were obtained using an NTFS-formatted drive connected via eSATA.

The network backup benchmark, using Delta Copy running on the NAS Testbed system as an rsync target, came in just about the same as the NSS322 at 39.9 MB/s.

I also tested write and read speed to a 10 GB iSCSI target volume created on a RAID 5 array. Running the Windows-based filecopy test yielded a write speed of 92.5 MB/s and 76.9 MB/s for read.

Explore the NSS324’s performance further using the NAS Charts and check out the family review.

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