Thecus N12000PRO

N12000PRO_ANGLE_LARGE4Thecus was amongst the first to launch 12 and 16 bay NAS servers, with the N12000 starting life off performing its role in small businesses as either a primary or secondary storage appliance. Through word of mouth, it has become an instant hit in the SMB scene. It is exactly the same as the N16000PRO except it has twelve bays as opposed to sixteen. Now with the possibility of higher performance and a 10GbE NIC the dream of using the unit in a High Availability (HA) situation becomes a reality. There are plenty of connectivity options, with 6 USB ports, two of which support USB 3.0, and the ability to use two PCI-E expansion cards to provide 10GbE capabilities. There are also two embedded Gigabit Ethernet data ports are available and there’s a third which is used only as a heartbeat link to another N12000PRO for high availability (HA). Thecus advised us that support for appliances with multiple arrays under HA is now standard, which is a huge plus for the N12000PRO. Do keep in mind that it will take some careful planning to properly implement high availability in your environment, and that in regards to the 10GbE expansion cards you must ensure other devices on your network also support 10GbE. Otherwise, you will not see an increase in performance from 10GbE The N12000PRO is equipped with the Xeon® E3-1275 processor, incorporating four cores running at 3.4Ghz. The CPU is paired with 8GB of DDR memory which is expandable to 32GB. Performance can be further enhanced by 10GbE PCI-e cards, and Thecus’ OS also supports link aggregation.

Out of the Box

The NAS is encased in what can be described as a triple layer of packaging, carefully crafted and designed to ensure the 2U form factor N12000PRO does not get damaged. Despite the robust packaging the unit and its mounting rails are out in minutes, accompanied by a utilities CD containing the valuable Acronis Backup software suite. Thecus is the only manufacturer to include mounting rails, showing they do not mess about with petty options to make its extra buck!

Usability and Aesthetics

The external case of the unit is well-built and sturdy, and the mechanism for removing the drive trays is not complicated. With a quick tug and pull, the trays are out and ready for HDD insertion. The rack mount is easy to manage with well-rounded edges, and fitting the rails to the unit is a smooth process.. As for the noise once the unit is powered on, it’s a rather typical affair. The fans tend to spin up upon the initial install of a new drive, but they quickly return to normal levels once regular airflow is achieved. The form factor of 2U does afford the system a better airflow to ensure the system stays aerated well and allows for drawing out the heat generated by the drives. The design of the case allows for superbly low temperatures even when the NAS is fully populated. The N12000PRO can be easily installed by an end user, but if you purchase from eAegis or SimplyNAS installation of the unit is a breeze. It’s as simple as plugging the device into a power socket as well as your network, as those distributors preinstall the drives according to customer specifications.

Prominent Features

The unified features of the N12000PRO are very appealing as they enable businesses to manage multi-protocol data and reduce total cost of ownership.Thecus allows users to select a backup solution that suits their needs. Data Guard allows both remote and local backup under a single instance. Data can be pulled from USB, eSATA, and other sources to be locally backed up and transferred remotely to any NAS. The files can be synced from then on. As already discussed the N12000PRO has evolved with HA in mind. Local HA is achieved after the two units are synchronized, which provides for business continuity in the event of a failure. Remote HA may prove to be expensive, including the near-requisite 10GbE infrastructure. If you run out of drive bays on your N12000PRO, you can simply add more using the D12000, a model made specifically for directly attached storage. In this manner you can chain multiple units together without a major hit to performance. You can also use iSCSI to chain up to eight other units together in an array

Performance

We anticipated that the N12000PRO would perform on a level equivalent to that of the N16000PRO; the processor is the same after all with the main difference between the two models being the number of drive bays. Rather than the excellent gigabit ethernet adapters, we also opted to make use of the 10GbE NIC for the absolute best performance. The Real World test performance results are taken from an average of twelve full test cycles. The N12000PRO was connected directly via UTP and the performance was impressive with a combined average read and write speed of 693MB/sec for a mapped share. We also tested a 4GB video file using IOMETER which returned a combined average read and write speed of 289MB/sec.