Asustor AS-7010T Review

Asustor AS-7010T front facingSince moving into the NAS market in 2013, Asustor has steadily increased its hardware portfolio from 6 to 26 models and is now a force to be reckoned with. It may not be able to match the likes of QNAP and Synology for features but it certainly gives them a good run for value.

The latest AS-7010T on review is a prime example as this 10-bay desktop appliance has a very reasonable starting price of $1,799. It doesn’t disappoint in the hardware department either as it’s equipped with a speedy 3.5GHz Core i3-4330 CPU while the base 2GB of memory can be upgraded to a healthy 16GB.

Asustor 7010T Rear PanelThe port count looks good as the AS-7010T has pairs of Gigabit, USB3, USB2 and eSATA at the rear. There’s another USB3 port at the front and pressing the One-Touch Backup button alongside fires up a backup job on the appliance that copies data to or from a storage device inserted in the port.

The LCD panel’s menu is easily controlled with the group of four buttons alongside and it can be used to locally configure storage if you wish. Chassis and drive cooling are handled by a pair of 12cms diameter fans which we found to be very quiet during testing.

Installation

Asustor AS-7010T Installation Wizard

Initial installation is swift as a wizard discovers the appliance and helps with RAID array configuration

Asustor’s Control Center tool simplified installation as it discovered the appliance on our network and provided a wizard to help get our drives configured. For testing, we fitted a quartet of 4TB WD Red NAS SATA drives and created a RAID-5 array.

Ongoing management is just as easy with Asustor’s well-designed Data Master (ADM) web interface which opens with a home page full of chunky icons providing quick access to all key functions. Drives and RAID arrays are configured from the Storage Manager but unlike QNAP and Synology, it doesn’t offer SSD support for read and write caching.

As with all Asustor appliances, the AS-7010T supports IP SANs. We could create thick or thinly provisioned targets, apply CHAP authentication and define access rights for specific initiators but LUN backup facilities are not provided.

Asustor’s apps

Asustor AS-7010T web interface

The ADM web interface is well designed and Asustor offers a reasonably good range of apps for backup and file syncing

The Backup & Restore app allowed us to run backups to and from Rsync and FTP servers plus external USB and eSATA devices. It’s short on cloud backup support as it only has an option for Amazon’s S3 service whereas QNAP and Synology offer one for Amazon’s Glacier as well.

Dropbox and Google Drive file sharing apps are available and Asustor has its own cloud storage service which you link up with via its WebStorage app. We also installed the WebStorage agent on a Windows 8.1 client and linked it to our account so any files dropped into the client folder or on the appliance were then synced across all systems using the same account.

Asustor Surveillance Center

Asustor’s Surveillance Center provides useful camera recording and mapping facilities

The Surveillance Center app worked fine with our D-Link DCS-6511 IP camera where we could view its live feed, create recording schedules and design an e-map of our office to show where cameras were placed. Should you want them, there are plenty of multimedia apps and we attached an HDMI monitor to the appliance for video streaming.

Virus scanning comes courtesy of avast! but Asustor only includes a free one-year subscription to updates. It allows you to run on-demand scans on selected folders, schedule them regularly and move infected files to a quarantine area.

 

Bad design

We came across a number of issues with the AS-7010T that are purely down to bad design. To upgrade memory, the lid is easily removed but we were surprised at how thin it was making it very easy to damage or bend if you’re not careful.

The spare SO-DIMM slot is accessible at the side but to upgrade to the full 16GB, we had to dismantle most of the appliance as the motherboard must be removed to replace the 2GB module on the inside. Asustor has a good instructional video on its web site but the procedure does also require removing the system warranty sticker to get at the final screw.

The other hardware glitch we found centered round the 10GbE PCI-Express expansion slot. Asustor lists Intel’s X520-SR2 dual-port fibre 10GbE card as supported but without removing the entire rear panel, we couldn’t see how to fit it as there simply isn’t enough space.

The card requires a proprietary mounting bracket which isn’t included and the snake’s nest of power cables has to be pushed down hard to make space for the expansion card. In the end, the only card we managed to fit was an Emulex OCE11102-NT 10GBase-T card which the appliance accepted without any complaints.

Performance

With our Emulex 10GbE card connected to a Dell PowerEdge R730 rack server, the AS-7010T proceeded to deliver some fast NAS speeds. Using a share mapped to the server, our 50GB file copy test returned high sustained read and write speeds of 434MB/sec and 376MB/sec – very similar to Synology’s mighty DS3615xs.

General backup speeds were good as well with our 22.4GB test folder and its 10,500 small files copied to the appliance at an average of 229MB/sec. As 10GbE upgrades are so problematic we also ran further tests over Gigabit.

The 50GB file copy returned read and write speeds of 107MB/sec and 104MB/sec. Backup speed is still respectable with our 22.4GB test collection secured to the appliance at 78MB/sec.

PROS:
  • Fast Gigabit and 10GbE performance
  • Good value

CONS:
  • Bad design limits 10GbE options
  • 16GB memory upgrade not easy
  • Not as many software features as Qnap and Synology

Conclusion

For a big 10-bay desktop NAS appliance, the AS-7010T is good value and delivers a fine performance over Gigabit and 10GbE. However, although Asustor has developed a lot of useful apps for its storage products, it falls short of those offered by QNAP and Synology while the appliance’s poor internal design will cause problems if you want to upgrade its memory and network connections.

7 Total Score
Good Value

For a big 10-bay desktop NAS appliance, the AS-7010T is good value and delivers a fine performance over Gigabit and 10GbE. However, although Asustor has developed a lot of useful apps for its storage products, it falls short of those offered by QNAP and Synology while the appliance’s poor internal design will cause problems if you want to upgrade its memory and network connections.

Performance
8
Features
7
Build Quality
6
Usability
8
Value
7
User Rating: 3.55 (1 votes)