Judging by the specs, the Synology DS209+ is going to be good in our tests in which we will use a new benchmark from Intel developed especially for NASes. It is called NAS Performance Toolkit and allows benchmarking a NAS under real-life conditions. With NASPT you can launch a set of NAS usage scenarios with a click of one button, which is very handy. The test can be launched in single-run or batch mode (in the latter mode the test is performed several times and the results are averaged).
This is the equipment we used for this test session:
- Synology DS209+(DSM 2.1)
- Synology DS207+(DSM 2.0)
- Desktop PC (X6800/4GB/Gigabit Ethernet/Windows XP SP2)
- Category 5e Ethernet cable
- Two Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard disk drives (250GB, SATA-2)
- Transcend JF130 USB flash drive (2GB)
- D-Link DIR-655 router (Gigabit Ethernet)
- NAS Performance Toolkit
- Intel Centrino notebook
- Putty SSH-client
- FlashFXP FTP-client
Yes, we tested the DS207+ with older firmware in order to see how Synology’s products are evolving over time.
So, first we used NASPT to check out the performance of the SMB protocol, i.e. when the NAS is used as a networked disk. We used all the scenarios available in NASPT 1.7, running tests in batch mode. The names of the tests are quite self-explanatory.
The results seemed somewhat disappointing to us because IOMeter had produced much higher numbers. But IOMeter is a synthetic benchmark and its results are often higher than what the device can yield under real-life load. Having run NASPT under identical conditions, we also noticed that even the results of the batch mode varied up to a couple of MBps. It means that you should view similar results as identical.
NASPT actually sets the scene. We can see that the DS209+ is faster throughout most of the tests. A performance increase in RAID0 mode can also be observed whereas IOMeter wouldn’t make this increase obvious.
Now that we’ve got a general notion of how the DS209+ performs as a networked disk, we can run another test we have not used before. Today, BitTorrent is the main protocol for sharing files. Many NASes offer the opportunity of downloading files via this protocol, and some, like Synology’s ones, can also seed files. However, a NAS can often lower its SMB performance, for example, if it is downloading too many torrents. To check out the behavior of the DS209+ in such a situation we connected it to the router (before that, the NAS had been attached directly to the desktop PC), launched a couple of torrents (with a total of about 200 peers) and performed another round of NASPT tests (we had also run this test with the torrents disabled to make sure the router would not be a bottleneck). During the test we accessed the NAS remotely via SSH and issued the top command to monitor the usage of the NAS’s resources in real time. The screenshots were made at peak moments, i.e. when the resources were used the most.
As you can see, both devices show similar performance when torrents. The speed is lower than without the torrents, but acceptable anyway.
So far we’ve been testing the NASes’ internal HDDs, but you can also attach an external drive to them. To test the data-transfer speed of the USB port we use an ordinary USB flash drive with a capacity of 2 gigabytes. We have to use IOMeter for that because NASPT’s test data just don’t fit into this capacity.
We don’t quite understand these results even though they are similar for both NASes. The speed is too high because the flash drive yields only 20MBps when connected directly to the desktop PC. Anyway, the speeds of writing to the flash drive are high with both NASes, the DS209+ being somewhat faster.
The next test is about the integrated FTP server available in both NAS devices. FTP remains an important data-transfer protocol and we measure the data-transfer speed not only for the integrated HDD but also for an external device, a USB flash drive. We upload and download files with FlashXFP and mark the average download speed reported by the program in the server connection log. We use the following content types: a 3.8GB image of a DVD (L), a 200MB folder with MP3 files (M), and a 200MB folder with photographs (S).
The results are impressive, again, even though there are odd fluctuations of speed when exchanging data with the USB drive. Perhaps they are due to the inaccuracy that occurs when we extrapolate the transfer speed of small files (they are transferred in less than a second) as well as due to very low latencies between transfers of individual files (that’s another point in favor of the DS209+).
As we have seen in each test, the DS209+ can really put its hardware resources to good use. Its performance will make a new reference point for every other NAS to try to achieve.