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Thecus N8810U-G NAS Review

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The N8810U-G from Thecus stands out from the NAS crowd as it’s one of very few appliances available today that includes a 10GbE network adapter as standard. What’s more, it does it at a price that’s substantially lower than all of the competition.

Thecus doesn’t skimp on the hardware either as this 2U rack chassis is endowed with a speedy 2.9GHz dual-core Pentium G850 CPU teamed up with 4GB of DDR3 that can be upgraded to 32GB. It comes with Thecus’ own C10GTR card installed in its single PCI-Express expansion slot which provides one 10GBase-T high-speed port.

Build quality is good as the sturdy chassis provides 8 hot-swappable and lockable drive bays at the front. These can be protected by a flip up grill although this only has two thumbscrews to secure it and it can’t be locked in place.

The port count is high as along with the 10GbE port and dual embedded Gigabit, there are six USB2 and two USB3 ports. You can also keep an eye on the proceedings as the central backlit LCD panel displays the status of the drives, arrays and ports while the control pad alongside can be used to manually configure them.

Value looks even better as power redundancy is included in the price as the N8810U-G comes with a pair of hefty 400W hot-plug PSUs. Internal cooling is also a cut above the rest as removing the lid gives you access to four main cooling fans which are all hot-swappable.

Installation and expansion

Thecus N8810U-G Web Interface

The appliance’s web interface provides easy access to the various features on offer

We found installation easy enough and loaded four 4TB WD Enterprise hard disks in the solid metal drive carriers. Thecus’ Finder utility located the appliance on the network and provided us with a quick link to its web interface.

Thecus really could do with refreshing its web console as it doesn’t look anywhere near as classy as Synology’s DSM or Qnap’s QTS interfaces. However, we had no problems configuring storage as a wizard helped us create a RAID-5 array using all four disks.

RAID features are also good as you can expand arrays into spare drives, migrate from RAID-5 to -6 and designate extra drives as dedicated or global hot-spares. The N8810U-G doesn’t have any physical expansion ports but the appliance does have a trick up its sleeve that helps makes up for this omission.

NAS Stacking Features of the N8810U-G

The NAS Stacking feature can be used to expand storage into iSCSI targets presented on other appliances

The NAS Stacking feature allows you define up to five external iSCSI targets to the appliance which it makes available as standard network shares. Naturally, Thecus would like you to use its own appliances but we found it also worked with a thick provisioned iSCSI target on a Synology DS1813+.

Impressive performance

For performance testing we made a beeline straight for 10GbE. We chose an Intel 1U rack server with dual 14-core E5-2683 v3 Xeons, 64GB of DDR4, mirrored SSDs plus dual embedded Intel 10GBase-T ports and loaded with Windows Server 2012 R2.

Running Iometer on a share mapped to the server over a direct 10GbE connection saw fast raw sequential read and write rates of 875MB/sec and 365MB/sec. This translated to good real world speeds as copies of our 50GB Iometer test file returned sustained read and write speeds of 280MB/sec and 276MB/sec.

To test general backup operations we copied our 22.4GB test folder containing 10,500 small files to the share which averaged 180MB/sec. Synology’s RS3614xs+ (www.simply.reviews/synology-rackstation-rs3614xs-nas-review/) is much faster as it returned 218MB/sec for this this test but the downer is this 12-bay rack appliance costs over twice as much

IP SAN performance is on the money as a 100GB thinly provisioned target delivered excellent raw sequential read and write speeds of 1040MB/sec and 450MB/sec using 256KB transfer requests. Maximum I/O performance is particularly good as reducing the Iometer transfer request size to 4KB for sequential read operations saw an impressive 97,000 IOPS.

Features and apps

Thecus DataGuard Manager

DataGuard can manage a fine array of backup tasks to local and remote appliances or Amazon’s S3 cloud service

The N8810U-G offers extensive backup features as it can replicate with other Rysnc compliant appliances while the DataGuard app manages backups of shares, LUNs and folders. DataGuard is a star performer as you can use it to manage real-time and scheduled backups to local storage, external USB devices and remote appliances plus it has a direct link to the Amazon S3 service.

The software bundle includes a 5-user copy of Acronis True Image Personal for image based workstation backup. However, this version is over four years old and to get features such as job scheduling, disk cloning and incremental backups will require a paid-for upgrade.

We had no issues using the integral Amazon S3 service with our AWS account and for more cloud backup options you can download free modules for DropBox and ElephantDrive. However, Thecus is lagging behind Synology as its appliances support Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Glacier while its Google Drive integration is vastly superior.

Mobile apps are thin on the ground with the oddly named T-OnTheGo iOS app allowing us to remotely access folders and files from our iPad. With the DashBoard app we could monitor the appliance and control its various network services but it doesn’t currently support iOS 8.

The free McAfee VirusScan module is of more value as it provides local antivirus scanning. We used this to run manual scans of selected folders, schedule them at regular intervals and quarantine dubious files in a separate folder.

PROS:
  • Good performer
  • 10GbE adapter included
  • Very affordable
  • Dual power supplies
  • Useful backup apps

CONS:
  • Web interface needs improving
  • Modest feature set
  • No expansion ports

Conclusion

The N8810U-G falls well short on features when stacked up against similar appliances from Synology and Qnap but it does score highly for value with a diskless model costing only $1,799. If you’re looking for a low-cost storage appliance that’s 10GbE enabled out of the box and serves up fast NAS shares and IP SANs then this is well worth considering.

7 Total Score
Low Cost 10GbE Entry

The N8810U-G falls well short on features when stacked up against similar appliances from Synology and Qnap but it does score highly for value with a diskless model costing only $1,799. If you’re looking for a low-cost storage appliance that’s 10GbE enabled out of the box and serves up fast NAS shares and IP SANs then this is well worth considering.

Performance
8.5
Features
6.5
Build Quality
8.5
Usability
8
Value
9
User Rating: 3 (1 votes)