QNAP TS-879 Professional & Synology DS3612xs NAS Assessment

Hoping to grow small and medium-sized businesses' sales, NAS manufacturers have pushed for enterprise features like cloud storage, virtualization support, automated backup software, and iSCSI support. Attempts have also been made to incorporate technologies such as link aggregation, which can increase network bandwidth when dealing with multiple users and also provide redundancy in the event that one of the links fails.

It is possible to use link aggregation on multiple ports. So if a NAS device has four ports, you can create a pair of aggregated ports. However, this poses a problem as it occupies many ports on the switch and each connection is still limited to gigabit speeds. As a result, we have started seeing high-end business-oriented NAS devices that offer optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) support.

First introduced over a decade ago, 10GbE is not a new technology but largely reserved for expensive corporate devices. It's ten times faster than Gigabit Ethernet and only supports full-duplex point-to-point connections, which are generally connected through network switches, so there are no 10 GbE hubs.

The 10 GbE standard is slowly gaining momentum. One million ports were delivered in 2007, twice the volume was delivered in 2009 and three million in 2010. That number will only increase as 10GbE networks become a more affordable option for small and medium-sized businesses.

The performance shown above when copying files at 10 GbE rates.
Obviously the speed is there, so it's a question of whether or not you need that type of throughput.

With that in mind, we're reviewing two new high-end SMB NAS devices: the QNAP TS-879 Pro, which costs $ 2,200 without the optional 10GbE network card, and the Synology DS3612x, which costs $ 3,500.

Obviously, both of these devices sell for a premium, but given their somewhat unique capabilities, they could prove invaluable to many businesses. Continue reading.

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