Infortrend EonStor GSe Pro 108 Review

SMEs that want more from their NAS appliances could find InforTrend’s EonStor GSe Pro family has the answer. Whereas the vast majority of NAS vendors focus on Gigabit and 10GbE connectivity, the GSe Pro models also support fiber channel (FC) and can be customized with expansion modules to suit just about any requirement. The GSe Pro 108 on review may look like a standard 8-bay desktop appliance but its single expansion bay at the rear accepts an extensive range of host boards. Its embedded quartet of Gigabit ports can be augmented with four more Gigabit ports or you can go for a dual-10GbE RJ-45 board.

GSe Pro 108 is simple to manage

The appliance is simple to manage and the converged host board supports three operational modes

Of more interest is Infortrend’s four-port converged host board. Supplied to us for review, this can be configured to provide quad 10GbE SFP+ iSCSI or 8Gbps FC services or the first two ports can be set to super-fast 16Gbps FC mode.

You can expand hugely outside the box as the GSe Pro 108 accepts a dual-port SAS3 board which supports four 8-bay JB Pro 208 desktop expansion units. With only one active slot available on the GSe Pro 108, you’ll have to choose between more ports or storage but you can have the best of both worlds with the higher-end GSe Pro 208 model which has dual expansion slots.

GSe Pro 108 Business-class storage features

Along with unified NAS, FC SAN and IP SAN services, the GSe Pro 108 offers a wealth of quality data protection features. It runs the same software as Infortrend’s enterprise storage arrays so out of the box, you get features such as volume snapshots, thin provisioning, file and block-level remote replication, support for WORM (write once, read many) volumes and SEDs (self-encrypting drives) plus SSD caching.

The price includes a volume snapshot license that enables 64 per volume and 128 per system which can be optionally increased to 256 and 4,096 respectively. It’s licensed for 4 replication pairs per volume and 16 per system which can increased to 8 and 256.

GSe Pro 108 detailed product views

Infortrend also offers optional automated data tiering across HDDs and SSDs. And then there’s the EonCloud Gateway license which allows you to perform off-site syncing, snapshot backup, caching or tiering with a range of cloud providers including Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 and Alibaba Cloud.

The only catch with the EonCloud Gateway app is it requires a minimum of 8GB of memory. The GSe Pro 108 only comes with 4GB of DDR3 as standard but you can upgrade it to a maximum of 16GB.

Installation and storage provisioning

We found the appliance simple to manage as its embedded EonOne web console provides easy access to all features. If you have multiple appliances, they can all be managed via the free Central EonOne app which presents the same interface.

GSe Pro 108 make light work of managing storage

The web console’s Workflows make light work of configuring and provisioning storage

For performance testing, we installed an octet of 4TB WD SATA hard disks and employed the console’s initial setup wizard to create a RAID5 array, add storage pools and define volumes. Workflows are a great feature of the web console as these provides wizard for a range of common tasks including creating a volume and mapping it to a LUN, setting up a shared folder, configuring volume replication and scheduling folder synchronizations.

For FC SAN and IP SAN block level storage, volumes can be mapped to selected data ports while NAS file sharing services require Gigabit and 10GbE ports set to file-level access. The appliance supports SMB/CIFS, FTP, AFP and NFS services and offers good access controls such as local or LDAP/AD authentication and per-user quotas.

WORM can be enabled on NAS file-level volumes where you select a retention period in years. All files will be protected from deletion by applying the Compliance mode or you can permit system administrators to delete files with the Enterprise mode.

GSe Pro 108 Mixed FC and IP SAN performance

The appliance is powered by a modest quad-core 2.4GHz Atom CPU which had a clear impact on top performance. For our speed tests, we set the converged board to dual 16Gbps FC operations and hooked it up to a Xeon Scalable Windows server fitted with an ATTO Celerity FC-164P quad-port 16Gbps FC card – a high-performance HBA capable of delivering up to 6,400MB/sec.

The GSe Pro 108 is easily managed

Access can be easily controlled by mapping block-level volumes to specific host ports

With a block-level volume mapped to the server, we recorded Iometer sequential read and write rates of 12.3Gbits/sec and 9.5Gbits/sec. Moving over to a 32Gbps dual MPIO link to the volume resulted in a huge read rate of 24.2Gbits/sec but only a modest increase to 12.6Gbits/sec for write operations.

We then changed the converged board to quad 10GbE iSCSI mode and mapped a 1TB target to the server’s embedded 10GbE ports. With a single connection, Iometer reported read and write rates of 9.1Gbits/sec and 4.3Gbits/sec and with a dual-10GbE MPIO link in action, we saw these rise to 18.2Gbits/sec and 4.4Gbits/sec.

During these tests, we kept an eye on appliance CPU utilisation and for the MPIO FC tests, we watched it peak at around 43 percent. IP SANs are clearly more demanding as utilisation stepped up to 85-90 percent during the iSCSI MPIO write test – hence the low speed.

Conclusion

The EonStor GSe Pro 108 stands out as it’s one of very few desktop appliances that can provide unified NAS, IP SAN and FC SAN storage services. FC read speeds are seriously impressive although to enjoy these, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the converged host board which has a hefty price tag of $1,855.

The appliance itself is good value although the elderly Atom CPU does impact on write speeds and you’ll need a memory upgrade to enable the cloud app. Even so, the GSe Pro 108 is a good choice for SMEs that want it all as it’s a highly versatile desktop appliance with an impressive range of business-class data protection features.

Purchase from The NAS Experts

Buy your GSe Pro 108 from SimplyNAS. We offer pre-sales support to make sure you get the right storage solution for your needs.


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8.5 Total Score
GSe Pro 108 is a good choice for SMEs

The EonStor GSe Pro 108 stands out as it’s one of very few desktop appliances that can provide unified NAS, IP SAN and FC SAN storage services. FC read speeds are seriously impressive although to enjoy these, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the converged host board which has a hefty price tag of $1,855.

Performance
6.5
Features
9
Build Quality
9
Usability
8
Value
7
PROS
  • Unified desktop storage solution
  • Very good FC SAN read speeds
  • Great range of storage features
  • Versatile host port options
  • WORM support
CONS
  • Underperforming Atom CPU
  • Expensive converged host board
  • EonCloud app needs more memory
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)

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