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Buffalo Technology TeraStation TS5810DN Review

Buffalo Technology has been busy of late upgrading its TeraStation NAS appliances with faster CPUs, more memory and 10GbE as standard. On review we have its new TS5810DN which steps up as its largest desktop appliance to date.

The TS5810DN offers 8 hot-swap drive bays accessed from behind its lockable front door. Unlike most competing vendors, Buffalo doesn’t offer diskless models and the TS5810DN is available with 16TB, 32TB or 64TB capacities.

We have the 32TB version on review which comes with a full house of 4TB Western Digital Red NAS SATA hard disks. If you want some room to grow, Buffalo also offers this model with four 8TB drives.

The TS5010 family of rack and desktop models all sport a 1.7GHz Annapurna Alpine AL-314 quad-core SoC (system on chip) with the TS5810DN including 4GB of non-upgradeable DDR3 memory. At the rear are dual Gigabit and USB 3 ports plus an embedded 10GBase-T port which comes courtesy of the Alpine SoC.

Build quality and installation

Buffalo’s NASNavigator 2 simplifies deployment and the appliance offers a simple, intuitive web interface

The TS5180DN exhibits excellent build quality with a solid steel chassis and cover. The two rear 9cms diameter cooling fans are very quiet with our sound measurements recording only 39.5dB at one meter in front.

With the hard disks already loaded and preconfigured as a RAID6 array, we only had to connect the appliance to the network and turn it on. Buffalo’s NASNavigator 2 Windows utility discovered the appliance and provided direct access to its web interface along with a handy share mapping service.

Before you start creating shares and IP SANs, we recommend taking time out to understand Buffalo’s LVM (logical volume manager) feature. Out of the box, LVM is disabled allowing it to support NAS shares and file- or block-based iSCSI volumes.

To support multiple NAS volumes in the RAID array plus on-the-fly volume expansion, you enable LVM but this will cause all existing shares and targets to be deleted. Don’t worry as you get plenty of warnings and a nice safety feature for all critical operations is the web interface presents a randomly generated 4-digit number which you must enter before the operation is carried out.

Tight security

Buffalo claims its appliances are the most secure on the market. Unlike many competing NAS vendors, the administrative account doesn’t have root rights and you can decide which protocols will be active on individual network ports.

Buffalo doesn’t allow third-party apps to run on its appliances either, saying it reduces the risk of a security breach. Volume encryption is supported while optional antivirus scanning comes courtesy of Trend Micro with a three-year OP-TSVC subscription costing around $150.

Next up is Buffalo’s free Boot Authentication Tool which is run on a separate Windows host. If enabled, the appliance looks for this system during boot-up and if it can’t find it, it will load but won’t make the web interface or shares available and neither can it be reset – very handy if the appliance gets stolen.

Buffalo offers an impressive range of access controls as shares can be designated as read/write or read only and you can decide whether they will be accessible over CIFS, NFS, AFP and FTP. A local user and group list can be applied to each share, the appliance will integrate with Active Directory (AD) and user limits have been pretty much removed as the appliance now supports up to 10,000 AD users.

Backup and new features

The new Rsync support allowed us to back up shares on the TS5810DN to a third-party NAS appliance

Tick the share Backup check box during creation makes them available as a destination for Buffalo’s on-appliance backup utility. Freshly added Rsync support means shares can be replicated to any compliant NAS appliance and failover between identical appliances is also available.

Cloud support isn’t as good as Qnap and Synology but the TS5810DN can synchronise data between shares on a non-LVM volume and Amazon S3 accounts. Dropbox is also supported and we found it easy to create file syncing jobs with our cloud accounts.

The price includes NovaStor’s handy NovaBackup 19 software for securing workstation and server data

Value looks even better as the price includes the NovaStor NovaBackup 19 software with one server and ten workstation licenses. It’s very easy to use and we had no problems backing up our Windows 10 clients to shares on the appliance.

Another new feature is Buffalo’s RAID Mode Manager (RMM) which allows you to expand existing arrays into multiple spare drives simultaneously and create new RAID arrays without data loss. If, for example, you have two separate drives, you can combine them into a mirrored array using RMM and choose which drive will have its data preserved.

10GbE performance

For performance testing, we used a non-LVM array and mapped a share over a direct 10GbE connection to a Dell PowerEdge R640 Xeon Scalable rack server running Windows Server 2016. For the best 10GbE performance, we recommend enabling Jumbo frames as we found this can increase overall throughput by around 7-8 percent.

Raw NAS speeds are good with Iometer reporting read and write rates of 9.2Gbits and 4.9Gbits/sec. Real world speeds aren’t quite as impressive with our 25GB file copy returning average read and write speeds of 4Gbits/sec and 3.2Gbits/sec.

General backup speeds over 10GbE are acceptable with a 22.4GB test folder and 10,500 small files secured to a share at 1.5Gbits/sec. IP SAN performance was a mixed bag with a 500GB target returning high Iometer read rates of 9Gbits/sec dropping to 4.3Gbits/sec for write operations.

Conclusion

SMBs that want a solidly built, 10GbE-enabled desktop NAS appliance with a sharp focus on data security will find the TeraStation TS5810DN a good choice. It can’t match the likes of Qnap and Synology for sheer software features but overall 10GbE performance is equal to Synology’s DS1817+ and Buffalo’s inclusion of a great backup software bundle makes it particularly good value.

9 Total Score

SMBs that want a solidly built, 10GbE-enabled desktop NAS appliance with a sharp focus on data security will find the TeraStation TS5810DN a good choice. It can’t match the likes of Qnap and Synology for sheer software features but overall 10GbE performance is equal to Synology’s DS1817+ and Buffalo’s inclusion of a great backup software bundle makes it particularly good value.

Performance
7
Features
7
Build Quality
9
Usability
8
Value
9
PROS
  • Good value
  • Great security features
  • Embedded 10GBase-T port
  • Decent 10GbE NAS performance
  • NovaStor backup software included
CONS
  • Below-par iSCSI write speeds
  • Limited choice of apps
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)

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