QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP Storage Testing with 10 GbE Support

It would seem that the manufacturers of NAS-s for small business have long ago worked out the technological limit of a 1-gigabit network interface, and combining several network ports in the final project is not always possible. And if we are talking about NAS-e, which is already out of childhood and claims the market share of Promise, IBM and HP products, then new interfaces are needed. Fortunately, there was no need to reinvent the wheel, and the 10-gigabit network interface has long been successfully used in this business sector. In addition, 10-gigabit controllers have dropped significantly in price. Therefore, today every self-respecting manufacturer of network storages releases a model with support for 10GE technology, but does it a little tricky: not wanting to add $ 300-500 to the cost of a device in the factory configuration, vendors leave us, so to speak, a choice, offering an empty PCI Express slot for expansion boards. Fiber Chanel is not supported, Infiniband too, but even so, this is already a big step into the future, a great gift to integrators, which we will talk about.

It must be said that QNAP has released not one, but two 2U rack-mount 12-disk storage: TS-1279U-RP and TS-EC1279U-RP with 10 Gb Ethernet support. The first model & ndash; simpler, based on an Intel Core i3-2120 3.3 GHz processor with 2Gb DDR3 memory installed. But TS-EC1279U-RP boasts truly server components - Intel Xeon E3-1225 3.1 GHz and 4Gb DDR3 memory with ECC support. We will talk about this model today.

QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP Specifications
Processor Intel Xeon E3-1225 3.1 GHz
RAM 4GB (ECC DDR3) * Expandable up to 8GB
Flash-memory 512 MB
Disk space 12 disks 3.5" or 2.5" HDD with SATA I, SATA II or SATA III interface
HDD slots 12 hot-swappable slots
Network Interfaces 4 RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet

It is possible to install additional network interfaces 10 Gb/s or 1 Gb/s

Status Indicators Status, LAN, USB, eSATA, 10GB LAN, HDD1-HDD8
USB 2 x USB 3.0 (Rear)

4 x USB 2.0 ports (Rear)

Supported USB printers, USB sticks, USB hubs, USB UPS, etc.

eSATA 2 eSATA ports (Rear)
Buttons Power, Backup, Reset
LCD display Monochrome display for quick setup and system notifications
Buzzer System Warnings
Form Factor Rack (2U)
Dimensions 88 x 439 x 520 mm
Weight Without power adapter and hard drives - 15.88 kg

In the box: 22.92 kg

Noise level Idle: 48.17 dB

In operation: 48.17 dB (with 12 1TB drives installed)

Power Consumption Sleep: 68W

Active: 167W (with 8 1TB drives installed)

Operating environment Operating temperature range: 0 ~ 40? C

Relative humidity: 0 ~ 90% non-condensing

Power supply Internal power supply, 600 W

Input voltage: 100-240V

Security K-lock connector
Expansion slot 2 slots for network adapter or disk connector
VGA Reserved
Cooling 3 quiet fans (6 cm)

In general, it is quite an ordinary 12-disk server. Nothing special. Let's take a look at its construction.

QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP Design

The design of the NAS with the ability to install twelve 3.5-inch drives looks extremely predictable - the trays occupy the entire front side of the 2U case, leaving no room even for system indicators. They are located on the right, in the same place as the power button. There are four indicators: work status, 10GbE, network and eSATA.


Trays for hard drives are made of metal (the tray itself) and plastic (front side), have a K-lock. They are convenient to use and allow you to install not only 3.5 "hard drives, but also 2.5" (including SSD). Of course, the maximum amount of file space can be achieved only by installing 3.5 ”disks with a capacity of 4GB, in which case the user will have up to 48GB of total space. Recall that the expansion of disk space is possible when using multiple NAS-s via the iSCSI interface or via eSATA.


The rear of the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP looks like a server of this class: two massive hot-swappable power supplies, two slots for expansion cards, network and USB ports, as well as a VGA port for configuration systems.


The number of ports for connecting peripheral and network devices is more than sufficient: as many as 6 USB (four familiar 2.0 format and two blue 3.0 ports), two eSATA for connecting external drives, a reserved VGA port, two network connectors directly on the motherboard, and two more on the expansion card. The user has only one free expansion slot, for example, to install a 10 GbE network card. Although: if you develop the idea, in its place there may be a SAS controller for external connection of a disk shelf and hardware RAID, but you never know what opportunities are opened when using expansion slots in NAS ... we hope QNAP implements them all.


Power system - fail-safe, on two 600 W power supplies manufactured by Delta Electronics. Although the manufacturer claims that when idle, TS-EC1279U-RP consumes no more than 70 W, and at full load - up to 170 W (when installing 8 hard drives).


So in case of failure of one of the two power supplies, you can take it out with a clear conscience and take it to the SC, without fear that the remaining power supply will not withstand the load.

To remove the top cover, just unscrew a couple of screws for a Phillips screwdriver. But thanks to the convenient hats, it is not necessary to take the tool, the bolts can be unscrewed with bare hands (of course, if they were not previously tightened `` from the heart '').


One of the advantages of the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP is the shallow depth of the case, only 520 mm, which will allow you to easily install the NAS in a cabinet 600 mm deep. Unsurprisingly, the motherboard doesn't have much room left - hard drive trays take up almost half of the space, and a third of the remaining free space is taken up by power supplies.


The only large heatsink on the processor is cooled by a module of three 60 mm fans. The module is not collapsible, so if one fan fails, you will have to buy the whole module or remember the circle of `` skillful handles ''. Not a very rational approach. But the relatively quiet operation (if we are talking about server hardware) will appeal to those who are destined to sit next to a cabinet or rack, into which the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP will be installed. After all, not everyone has the opportunity to allocate a separate room for a server room, and they have to share the workspace with the equipment.


There are two slots for RAM, one of which is already occupied by a 4 Gb stick. Nothing prevents you from installing another such module and getting 8 Gb, which will be more than enough for the most resource-intensive tasks. Interestingly, the pre-installed memory module is `` sealed '' with a plastic clip so that you don't pull it out.


Expansion slots - two PCI Express 8x. One has a "two-headed" network card installed. There are also two free SATA connectors directly on the motherboard.


And one of the USB connectors is occupied by flash memory, which stores the storage operating system.


A set of Marvell 88SE9125 chips supporting SATA 3.0 is responsible for the disk system.


And the "sponsor" of the two USB 3.0 ports is the NEC D720200F1 controller, located right next to the ports themselves.


Since the motherboard itself is small and there is only one radiator, it is not very difficult to blow through the system. Air intake is from the front via hard drive trays. The three-fan module provides ample airflow for good cooling of the processor and nearby components. Individual fans are installed in the power supplies, which also successfully cope with their tasks. In total, there are five not the loudest coolers for the entire storage. This approach promises high energy efficiency for the entire system.


Let's summarize the intermediate results. The advantages of QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP include: shallow depth of the case, two power supplies, the same number of expansion slots. And, of course, twelve 3.5 "/2.5" HDD trays with hot-swap support, as well as the ability to expand the file space using external media connected to two eSATA ports or six USB ports (two of which are USB 3.0).

We have already discussed the capabilities and advantages of QNAP NAS OS in a separate article , so we will not focus on this article parts of the review. Better to go directly to testing. After all, for sure not only us, but also you really want to know what the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP is capable of when connected via 10GbE. Is he able to fully exploit the potential of ten gigabits over the network, or is it more of a marketing ploy?


For testing, we used 1TB Western Digital Black Raid Edition 4 series hard drives. Today it is the most optimal HDD option for use in corporate NAS-ah. Firstly, thanks to the optimization of the firmware for RAID, these HDDs do not fall out of the arrays in case of media errors, that is, bad blocks. Secondly, over the years of existence, this series has proven its reliability. Thirdly, they are on the compatibility list of all storage systems for 3.5-inch drives (not counting HP, Dell, IBM, which only recognize HDDs with their own stickers). Last but not least, they are damn fast and are priced on a par with conventional desktop hard drives.

As a test system, we used a computer with the following configuration:

  • Intel Xeon 3220
  • 4 Gb RAM
  • Asus P5B Deluxe
  • Hitachi HDS721010CLA332 1Tb HDD 7200 rpm
  • Windows 7 Ultimate x64

All novelties of the QNAP lineup with 10GbE support are participating in testing, namely: directly, the hero of the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP review, as well as TS-1279U-RP, TS-EC879U-RP, TS- 879U-RP, TS-1079 Pro and TS-879 Pro. First, let's look at the results of testing by the Atto Disk Benchmark program when connected via iSCSI.



When writing to storages, some problem is revealed in the iSCSI implementation - the maximum performance is observed with a block size of 64 KB and is about 430 MB/s, and at a block of 128 KB it drops to 15 MB/s , and then no longer even reaches 100 MB/s. The reading graph looks much more attractive, with a block size of 1024 KB, a speed of 950 MB/s is demonstrated. In general, all devices demonstrate approximately the same speed, the difference of 10-20 MB/s at speeds close to Gigabytes per second is not significant. It is impossible to identify a clear leader, but the numbers are certainly impressive.

Now let's look at the results of the same synthetic test, but when connected via the Samba protocol.



A new "record" of speed of 1055 MB/s is set on the recording, and the hero of the review - QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP - sets it. But such results are demonstrated only on small blocks of 128 KB. Further, the results are slightly worse, but still decent - almost 950 MB/s for each participant.

The second synthetic test is CrystalDiskMark. First, the results when connected via iSCSI.


Here the participants do not demonstrate stability - the results dance a little. Although the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP still looks very good against the general background - up to 810 MB/s for writing and 540 MB/s for reading, the TS-EC879U-RP and TS-1079 Pro are good competitors.

When connecting via Samba, the results are even more interesting.


Again QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP sets the bar for other participants - 1090 MB/s for writing. But the read results are much weaker than with iSCSI connection - TS-1079 Pro got closest to 300 MB/s.


Let's summarize. We have seen more than once that even a two-gigabit connection (combining two gigabit ports in a team) severely limits storage performance. And in this testing, we made sure that all participants squeeze out almost everything that it is capable of from a 10 GbE connection - with an accurate calculation, the figures are slightly less than 9 Gigabits/s, which is very close to the "ceiling". One has only to think about the speed - 1 Gigabyte per second. In simple terms: a FullHD movie with a volume of 40 GB will be copied in less than one minute. Of course, these are ideal conditions, which can be achieved only in isolated cases.

And in the framework of industrial operation, this means that due to high storage performance, high network bandwidth, high storage density (up to 48 TB on 12 disks), you can consolidate all network file resources, file space for business applications and custom software on a single NAS. And the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP looks very attractive both in terms of implementation, capabilities, and in terms of subsequent maintenance.

QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP without hard disks will cost 215 tr. The "lightweight" version of QNAP TS-1279U-RP is almost a quarter cheaper - 160 tr. Again, no HDD. This is very inexpensive for 12-disk storage, not to mention all the goodies that come with it. At the same time, both amounts are on the shoulders of even medium-sized offices. And the expediency of the purchase and the "return" are visible to the naked eye.

Lutovinov Maxim (aka. Kok)
10/09 .2012

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