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QNAP TS-109 Pro Single-Drive NAS Server

For SOHO and SMB.

June 11, 2008



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We are also interested in patterns, which imitate disk operations as part of a server. We use DataBase, File Server and Web Server patterns for this purpose.







As we could assume from the above said, QNAP TS-109 Pro is again faster than Synology DS107+ by 25-35% (it's a good result). However, advantages of the gigabit interface are ruined by mediocre performance of the Marvell processor, while some other network solutions (e.g. Floston) can demonstrate higher results even with the 100 Mbit interface.



QNAP TS-109 Pro redeems itself only in the pattern of simultaneous streaming reading/writing in 64 KB blocks, which is typical of some tasks in media servers. In this case the TS-109 performs well, and the gigabit link yields its benefits (although not as good as we'd like to see).

Direct read / write tests

Test results of the internal hard drive in TS-109 Pro and DS107+ enclosures by using batch copy command (Xcopy) with various patterns (see above) are published below.

Table 1. The XCopy performance, MB/s

DS-107+ 1Gb Nvidia 100Mb Nvidia 1Gb RealTek 1Gb RealTek Jumbo Frame 100Mb Realtek
  write read write read write read write read write read
ISO 17.21 23.07 8.24 8.92 15.82 23.14 18.29 27.27 8.83 9.50
MP3 16.48 15.46 8.52 8.72 16.23 17.48 17.85 14.70 8.96 9.12
JPEG 8.71 7.24 5.74 7.07 9.76 8.00 9.20 7.82 6.27 7.30
WEB 1.53 2.14 1.51 1.71 2.68 1.84 1.61 2.21 2.51 2.62
TS-109 Pro 1Gb Nvidia 100Mb Nvidia 1Gb RealTek 1Gb RealTek Jumbo Frame 100Mb Realtek
  write read write read write read write read write read
ISO 18.99 20.55 9.38 8.67 18.99 20.55 24.19 31.91 9.87 9.32
MP3 17.65 14.71 8.88 7.85 17.44 14.71 22.06 14.85 9.32 8.38
JPEG 2.78 8.23 2.42 7.02 2.54 8.04 2.93 9.41 2.52 7.42
WEB 0.04 4.27 0.04 2.99 0.04 3.92 0.04 4.6 0.031 3.43

Having analyzed these results, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • TS-109 Pro vs DS-107+: out of doubt, TS-109 Pro reaped much more benefits from using Jumbo Frame than its predecessor, which makes this product an absolute champion in large file operations. In other respects, we might have said that competing products have similar characteristics (TS-109 Pro is a tad faster at writing, DS-107+ is better at reading), but for the fast degradation of TS-109 Pro as files for writing grow smaller in size. Its speed becomes indecently low with 50 KB files - 40 KB/s! QNAP apparently does not cache data for writing yet (we used this feature in DS107+ here).
  • We can also add that results of TS-109 Pro practically do not depend on the network card type (Nvidia or Realtek). On the contrary, DS-107+ showed a pronounced dependence.

Pricing and availability

At the time this article was written, both QNAP TS-109 Pro and Synology DS107+ had price tags of about $300. Taking into account a tad higher performance and the metal passively cooled enclosure of the former, TS-109 Pro looks better, prices being equal.

Conclusions

The leading single-drive NAS server from QNAP, TS-109 Pro, produces ambiguous impressions. On one hand, it offers excellent design, a good case (acting as a heat sink), so it's practically noiseless. Excellent speed for copying large files, it even breaks all records with large MTU. On the other hand, the list of fixed and known existing problems on the QNAP web site is very long, while Synology DS-107+ adds new features in its latest release, not fixes old bugs. And the oppressive speed of writing small files indicates serious mistakes in caching algorithms, if TS-109 Pro uses them at all. As a result, we have weak performance as a web server or a database... I'd like to remind you that the board in Synology DS107+ had a special I/O chip. TS-109 Pro lacks this feature.

So we have to admit that QNAP TS-109 Pro is a raw product that comes for the same price as Synology DS107+. Let's wait for two or three releases of its firmware, when it matures. Then we'll see. By the way, when the article was ready, the manufacturer announced a new modification of this product with improved performance.


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