Asustor’s Lockerstor family of desktop NAS appliances have performance as a high priority as they come as standard with dual 10GBase-T and 2.5GbE multi-Gigabit network ports. This port combination gives businesses the best of both worlds as they can use their legacy cabling to boost network speeds beyond 1GbE and have the option for future 10GbE upgrades.
The 8-bay Lockerstor 8 AS6508T on review sports a 2.1GHz quad-core Intel Atom C3538 CPU teamed up with 8GB of DDR4 memory expandable to 32GB. Another key feature is the dual internal M.2 slots which support both SATA and NVMe SSDs that can be used as a performance-enhancing cache.
Along with the quartet of network ports, you have USB 3 ports fore and aft where the front one links up with the One Touch Backup button that surrounds it so you can quickly copy data to or from an inserted USB storage device. The USB 3 ports can also be used to expand capacity outside the box by adding up to two 4-bay AS6004U desktop expansion units.
Build and installation
The AS6508T is very well constructed with a sturdy steel chassis and solid metal drive carriers. These have small locking screws to stop them being accidentally popped out and for testing, we loaded up four 16TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives.
Memory can be easily upgraded as removing the lid provides access to the two SO-DIMM slots in the side with the base 8GB of memory supplied on one stick. The M.2 slots are easily accessible on the top panel and Asustor provides standoffs and thumbscrews so you don’t have to fiddle around with tiny mounting screws.
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. We opted for a RAID5 array but the appliance also supports mirrors, stripes and RAID6.
10GbE and 2.5GbE NAS performance
For performance testing, we used an HPE ProLiant DL180 Gen10 rack server equipped with dual Xeon Scalable Platinum 8153 CPUs, 64GB of DDR4, an Emulex 10GbE dual-port adapter and Windows Server 2019. The appliance’s Atom CPU does impact on 10GbE performance as with a NAS share mapped to the server, we saw Iometer report top sequential read rates of 9.3Gbits/sec but significantly lower write rates of 5.5Gbits/sec.
Real world performance was reasonable with our 25GB drag and drop file copies returning read and write averages of 5.1Gbits/sec and 3.6Gbits/sec. Backup performance was less impressive as securing a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files to the share averaged 1.3Gbits/sec.
For 2.5GbE testing we called up the lab’s Netgear ProSafe MS510TX 10-port switch which supports all multi-Gigabit speeds. With the server connected to the switch’s 10GbE port and the AS6508T to a 2.5GbE port, we recorded Iometer read and write rates of 2.3Gbits/sec and 2.2Gbits/sec.
These held steady for our real world tests with the 25GB drag and drop file copies returning read and write averages of 2.3Gbits/sec and 2.1Gbits/sec. Backup performance dropped marginally with the test folder secured to the share at an average of 1Gbits/sec.
Asustor provides plenty of data backup services and choosing BTRFS during volume creation enables NAS volume and iSCSI LUN snapshots. Configured from the separate Snapshot Center app, these can be run on-demand or scheduled to run as often as every five minutes.
Currently in beta, the new Cloud Backup Center app provides a single location for managing backups to Alibaba Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Back Blaze B2. Also in beta, the DataSync Center app provides file syncing for Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Asustor’s own NAS cloud backup service.
You can use Amazon S3 but this must be managed from the standard Backup & Restore app which provide a central location for managing Rsync, FTP, internal, external and One Touch backup jobs. Asustor also provides separate apps for syncing data with Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive for Business.
A unique feature of Asustor’s NAS appliances is MyArchive which allows you to use hard disks to store backups off-site or for fast data transfer to other remote Asustor appliances. It’s easy to use as you insert a spare drive in a bay, format it as a MyArchive drive, enable encryption if required and then access the drive from the File Explorer app or as a network share.
Virtualisation and security
Virtualisation is handled by the VirtualBox app but as the AS6508T doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can’t use the Portal app and need to ensure web services are enabled. It’s more fiddly to use than the virtualisation apps from Qnap and Synology as you also need to enable RDP to access the VM’s console.
That said, we were able to create a Windows Server 2019 VM from an ISO stored on the appliance and have it up and running in 20 minutes. VirtualBox works well enough and you can use it to clone VMs but it doesn’t have the same level of protection features as Qnap and Synology which both offer integral VM protection plans and snapshots.
On-appliance antivirus measures are handled by the open-source ClamAV. The app can be used to run manual and scheduled malware scans on the entire system or selected folders, place infected files in a quarantine area and automatically update its signature file as often as every day.
With its dual 10GbE and 2.5GbE ports, the Lockerstor 8 AS6508T is a very versatile NAS appliance offering a great range of connection options. Asustor’s software isn’t as well-featured as Qnap’s or Synology’s but it does provide plenty of data protection apps and the appliance offers a great hardware package at a very good price.
- Good value
- Dual 10GbE and 2.5GbE ports
- Two M.2 SATA/NVMe SSD slots
- Very quiet
- Good data backup and snapshot services
- Low 10GbE write speeds