Thecus N16000PRO

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Thecus’ second generation N16000PRO evolved out of the N16000 series. The N16000 has been a staple in many businesses, but while the needs of businesses grow to require high availability and even higher bandwidth, the N16000 was understandably unable to adapt. Thecus’ answer to this dilemma, the Thecus N16000PRO, is a powerful beast packing intensely fast hardware with a set of features that covers all the bases. In that regard, the N16000PRO stands with the best of the best options on the market now. The N16000PRO also now fully supports 10GBASE-T High Availability. The N16000PRO is a 3U rack appliance housing sixteen trays for hot-swappable SATA/SAS hard disk drives. Connectivity is plentiful, with six USB2 ports, two rear USB3 ports, and two PCI-e slots which allow for 10GbE ports. Two onboard Gigabit Ethernet data ports are available and there’s a third exclusively for HA heartbeat monitoring.

Out of the Box

The unit itself is well protected in three layers of packaging, protecting against even the roughest treatments. Included in the box is a utilities disk containing a free copy of Acronis Backup in addition to some required software. Thecus is also the only manufacturer to include mounting rails pro bono, showing that they care more about customer satisfaction than making a quick buck. Installation of the unit is a walk in the park especially when the drives are already installed and formatted by a reseller like SimplyNAS or eAegis, as all you have to do is plug the unit in and connect it to your network from there and you are good to go.

Usability and Aesthetics

The Thecus N16000PRO has drive bays that are simple to remove and install HDDs in. The unit’s case is also sturdy and well-designed; no cheap materials here. Placing the NAS on a rack is smooth as butter; the mount is rounded off and fits snugly on, and installing the optional mounting rails is trivial. Although the unit won’t win any awards for silent operation, your server room won’t sound like an Air Force base either. As for airflow, the design of the case allows for efficient cooling even when the unit is filled with drives, so no worries about an impromptu BBQ occurring in the server room. Normally if a drive or two are subject to overheating that is often a sign of bad drives, so take note and monitor when that happens.

Notable Thecus N16000PRO Features

The comprehensive features of the N16000PRO are quite appealing as they enable businesses to manage multi-protocol data and cut down on hardware. One such feature is the amount of backup options. Data Guard allows for both remote and local backup and synchronization under a single instance, while the popular Acronis Backup software is included with five licenses at no additional cost.As previously touched upon the N16000PRO was conceived with high availability in mind and supported by the 10GbE expansion features. Local HA can be configured in no time, however remote HA may prove more challenging due to the high bandwidth requirements. The N16000PRO is as expandable as anything on the market, allowing you to create an iSCSI stack for a single massive volume, or even directly connect multiple units under one storage pool.

Performance

The Thecus N16000 performed spectacularly when we tested that unit, so we expected similar performance from the N16000PRO. We were not disappointed; rather impressed at how much better it was. Gigabit Ethernet performed admirably on its own but the 10GbE speeds blew us away, even while using an Intel 10GbE adapter known more for reliability than speed. The real world test performances results are taken from an average of twelve full test cycles. The N16000PRO was directly connected using UTP wires, and the performance was impressive with a raw read speed of 724MB/sec. We also tested a 4GB video file using IOMETER which returned a combined average read and write speed of 322MB/sec.