Best Value

Asustor AS6208T Review

Asustor AS6208T front views

Sitting pretty in the upper echelons of Asustor’s business NAS portfolio, the AS6208T is designed to offer a solid combination of power and affordability. With a diskless unit costing $899, it certainly looks good value and with eight drive bays up for grabs, it provides plenty of storage expansion potential as well.

Asustor AS6208T rear view

Click for a closer look

At its heart lies a 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3160 CPU which delivers quad cores and an embedded AES-NI hardware encryption engine. This CPU was launched this year and differs from the older N3150 version used by many other NAS vendors as it has a slightly higher burst frequency of 2.24GHz and superior embedded graphics.

The price includes a decent 4GB of DDR3L memory which should be enough for the majority of storage-related tasks. The CPU supports up to 8GB of memory and the AS6208T can be upgraded but you will need to replace the resident pair of 2GB SO-DIMM modules.

Port permutations look good as the appliance offers quad Gigabit, triple USB 3, dual USB 2 and an HDMI port for attaching an HD monitor. It also has a pair of eSATA ports at the back but, unlike Qnap and Synology, there aren’t currently any expansion disk units in Asustor’s product catalogue.

Easy deployment

AS6208T ADM web interface

The ADM web interface provides easy access to a good range of apps

Asustor’s Control Center tool makes light work of installation and provides a wizard to help get your drives configured and load the latest firmware. For testing, we fitted a triplet of 4TB WD Red NAS SATA hard disks into the sturdy metal hot-swap carriers and opted for a RAID5 array – the appliance also supports mirrors, stripes and RAID6.

Further management is simplified with Asustor’s well designed Data Master (ADM) web interface. Its home page opens with a set of chunky icons providing quick access to all key functions.

Disks are configured from the Storage Manager which works well enough but looks a little dated when compared to Qnap’s and Synology’s versions. All Asustor appliances support IP SANs and you can create thick or thinly provisioned targets, enable snapshot support, apply CHAP authentication and define access rights for specific initiators.

Top performance

Asustor AS6208T has a Celeron CPU

The appliance’s Celeron CPU held up well under our extreme performance tests

The AS6208T delivered excellent NAS speeds with Iometer reporting raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec for a share mapped to a Xeon E5-2600 v4 server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Our real world tests tallied with these as a 25GB drag and drop file copy averaged the same speeds.

Backups won’t take long either with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files secured to the share at an impressive average of 94MB/sec. We also found encryption performance on the money with the 25GB test file copied to an encrypted share at 84MB/sec.

The good news continued with IP SANs as Iometer recorded top raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec for a 500GB target. We upped the pressure with a dual-Gigabit MPIO link and watched Iometer read and write speeds ramp up nicely to 226MB/sec and 220MB/sec.

To test Asustor’s maximum speed claims we gave four E5-2600 v4 servers mapped shares over dedicated Gigabit links. With Iometer running on all four servers, we saw impressive cumulative raw read and writes rates of 404MB/sec and 385MB/sec with appliance CPU utilisation hovering around the 82 percent mark.

Data protection features

ADM includes a good range of data protection tools with the Backup & Restore app providing a central location for managing all backup jobs. These include options for securing data to other local folders, FTP servers, Rsync compatible NAS appliances or external USB and eSATA devices.

Cloud backup options are limited to Amazon S3 as Asustor doesn’t currently offer apps for services such as Amazon Glacier or Microsoft Azure. However, separate file syncing apps are available for Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive and each one supports multiple accounts.

MyArchive is a handy feature that allows you to use hard disks to store backups off-site or for fast data transfer to other remote Asustor appliances. This latest version adds AES-256 encryption, supports EXT4, NTFS and HFS+ formats and lets you use N-1 drives as removable media so, for the AS6208T, you could have up to seven MyArchive drives loaded.

Snapshots are limited to iSCSI LUNs but these can now be scheduled at regular intervals via the Storage Manager app. Workstation backup is handled by Asustor’s separate Backup Plan utility which supports Windows 10 plus Server 2012 R2 systems and allows data to be backed up or synchronized to the appliance or an FTP server at regular intervals.

Surveillance and security

Asustor AS6208T includes an Avast! Antivirus scanner

Appliance anti-virus scanning comes courtesy of the free Avast! app

Asustor has updated its Surveillance Center app with a new plug-in that, along with IE, Safari and FireFox, now supports Edge and Chrome – something Synology is still having big issues with. It also scores over Synology’s app as Asustor includes four camera licenses for free as opposed to two.

The number of supported IP camera models has been increased and you can assign quotas to control storage usage for recordings. There’s more as the app portal can be accessed directly instead of having to go through ADM and new real-time camera controls provide enhanced playback controls.

On-appliance antivirus measures are handled by Avast! and you get a free license key after registration. We could run manual or scheduled scans on the entire system or selected folders, place infected files in a quarantine area and set the app to automatically update its signature file as often as every day.

Conclusion

Asustor’s ADM software isn’t as feature-rich as Qnap’s QTS or Synology’s DSM but it provides plenty of data backup tools and the new surveillance app is a winner. For an 8-bay NAS appliance, the AS6208T is also very good value and it delivers a mean performance as well.

8.2 Total Score
Delivers Good Value and Mean Performance

Asustor’s ADM software isn’t as feature-rich as Qnap’s QTS or Synology’s DSM but it provides plenty of data backup tools and the new surveillance app is a winner. For an 8-bay NAS appliance, the AS6208T is also very good value and it delivers a mean performance as well.

Performance
9
Features
6.5
Build Quality
8
Usability
8.5
Value
9
PROS
  • Good value
  • Excellent performance
  • MyArchive feature
  • Good data protection tools
  • Very quiet
CONS
  • No eSATA expansion units supported
  • NAS folder snapshots not available
User Rating: 4.85 (1 votes)

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