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Noob questions regarding AS6604T

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Noob questions regarding AS6604T

Postby GardG » Wed May 19, 2021 8:58 pm

Hi all

I'm considering buying an AS6604T for my very small (2-4 people) business. It will be used for storing all sorts of project assets, including video files, raw photos, 3D models (and lots of text and spreadsheets, but that shouldn't pose much of a challenge ;) )

The NAS will be accessed remotely over VPN, but for security reasons we won't expose it to the Internet, so no such features will be used. I don't really expect to use any multimedia features either, with the possible exception of video transcoding, which I could see coming in handy (but not 100% essential). Due to our budget we'll need to start off with just two drives in RAID1, then expand to RAID5 later.

I've been debating quite a lot back and forth on what unit to get. I'm noticing that there are some slightly less expensive models without NVMe slots and with lower powered CPUs. Could we get by with one of those instead for the scenario I'm describing? Our budget is really tight, so any savings are appreciated (would go towards larger drives), but on the other hand, we'd prefer to buy something that could last a good while.

I think the choice boils down to whether there is any real advantage to adding NVMe SSDs? If not then we might as well get a cheaper unit without that facility. I've seen lots of conflicting info on the use of SSD cache/tiered storage in SMB environments: many people claim it's a waste of money – but then on the other hand I guess those NVMe slots are there for a reason?

I'm noticing that the mid-range Intel 4-bay units only have 2.5G ports, while some of the cheapest ARM units have native 10G SFP ports. This goes both for the Asustor lineup and for another brand I've been considering. How come? Wouldn't the lower-powered units be less likely to saturate a 10G network? Is it just a gimmick?

Speaking of networks speeds: with just a RAID1 I don't expect to saturate the 2.5G capacity of the AS6604T, but in the future, by adding more drives and possibly SSD cache, I'd hope to get closer to 5G (using port trunking obviously). Is this realistic?

We'll also be upgrading some other network infrastructure, as all our current kit is limited to 1G. I'd like to get the necessary hardware to utilise the Lockerstor's port trunking, to avoid 2.5G becoming a bottleneck when we add expand to a 4-drive RAID5 later on. I'm considering replacing our current router with a Mikrotik CRS309-1G-8S+IN running RouterOS, while repurposing our current consumer-grade Wifi router as an access point. There are multi-gig SFP adapters available for the Mikrotik, and it supports port trunking, so I'm thinking I could run two 2.5G copper lines to the Lockerstor, and run SFP DAC cables to our workstations (laptops using Thunderbolt-SFP docks). Are there any potential problems with this approach that I've overlooked?

TIA
GardG
 
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Re: Noob questions regarding AS6604T

Postby orion » Thu May 20, 2021 10:27 am

GardG wrote:I think the choice boils down to whether there is any real advantage to adding NVMe SSDs? If not then we might as well get a cheaper unit without that facility. I've seen lots of conflicting info on the use of SSD cache/tiered storage in SMB environments: many people claim it's a waste of money – but then on the other hand I guess those NVMe slots are there for a reason?

You can use NVMe M.2 as data volume or cache (exclusively). I prefer data volume, rather than cache.

GardG wrote:I'm noticing that the mid-range Intel 4-bay units only have 2.5G ports, while some of the cheapest ARM units have native 10G SFP ports. This goes both for the Asustor lineup and for another brand I've been considering. How come? Wouldn't the lower-powered units be less likely to saturate a 10G network? Is it just a gimmick?

The ARM model with 10G RJ45 (not SFP) cannot saturate full 10G bandwidth. https://www.asustor.com/product/performance?p_id=57 However it's still fast enough. But CPU power cannot compete with Intel models (AS66). For single user usage, it should be good (no VM function). For more than one user, AS66/AS53 should be better (based on my point of view).

GardG wrote:Speaking of networks speeds: with just a RAID1 I don't expect to saturate the 2.5G capacity of the AS6604T, but in the future, by adding more drives and possibly SSD cache, I'd hope to get closer to 5G (using port trunking obviously). Is this realistic?

Yes. Nowadays, one HDD can output 200MB/s (SSD is more). So RAID-1 should be higher than 2.5GbE when read (2 disk accesses at the same time). But write speed should be only equal to one disk speed in RAID-1. You can deduce the speed in RAID-5.

GardG wrote:We'll also be upgrading some other network infrastructure, as all our current kit is limited to 1G. I'd like to get the necessary hardware to utilise the Lockerstor's port trunking, to avoid 2.5G becoming a bottleneck when we add expand to a 4-drive RAID5 later on. I'm considering replacing our current router with a Mikrotik CRS309-1G-8S+IN running RouterOS, while repurposing our current consumer-grade Wifi router as an access point. There are multi-gig SFP adapters available for the Mikrotik, and it supports port trunking, so I'm thinking I could run two 2.5G copper lines to the Lockerstor, and run SFP DAC cables to our workstations (laptops using Thunderbolt-SFP docks). Are there any potential problems with this approach that I've overlooked?

I don't know about Mikrotik CRS309-1G-8S+IN. So, no comments about it.
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orion
 
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Re: Noob questions regarding AS6604T

Postby GardG » Fri May 21, 2021 11:42 pm

Cheers orion!

I take it that RAID5 would yield better read speeds, possibly approaching saturating 5GbE in a 4 disk configuration (?) but somewhat worse write speeds. So I guess an SSD cache might be an advantage for write speeds, but not make much of a difference for reading?

After lots of consideration back and forth I think the choice is either Lockerstor 4 or Qnap TS-653D. The latter has two more bays and 10GbE expansion possibilities – but I don't really like the plasticy look of it. I want something that could last, and I suspect the Lockerstor might be better in that regard.

Any further good arguments to push me in that direction? ;)
GardG
 
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Re: Noob questions regarding AS6604T

Postby orion » Mon May 24, 2021 5:24 pm

You can consider that there are 3 disks accessing (read or write) at the same time in 4-disk RAID-5 configuration. (Read action can achieve almost 4 disk accesses for striping.) So, 3 * 200MB/x = 600MB/s (max). The internal disk bandwidth should be able to support two 2.5GbE outputs.
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