by Greg King on February 26, 2019 in Storage
ASUSTOR has been making NAS units for years, but it’s begun to make a name for itself the very crowded market by doing something a bit different. Under review is one of the least expensive NAS units on the market to feature 10Gbps Ethernet in a 2-bay enclosure. Let’s see how it performs.
Testing and Performance
Since the AS4002T is a 10GbE capable NAS, we had to completely revamp our testing platform. Not only did we rethink the servers we use to test, but we also had to rethink the hardware we used to test with. We can’t do the AS4002T justice if we don’t test its 10G capabilities.
In preparation of more 10G NAS testing, we upgraded from a 1G switch to one capable of 10G, the Quanta LB6M. Long discussed and the darling of many home lab engineers, the Quanta LB6M offers 24 SFP+ ports, each offering 10G connectivity. Since the AS4002T requires a copper connection, we needed more hardware to get things going.
A 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver was required. We chose the FS.com SFP-10G-T module. This would allow us to connect the NAS to the switch at 10G speeds using the ASUSTOR provided CAT6a.
The AS4002T was tested with a pair of Samsung 480GB Enterprise SSDs in RAID1 as well as a pair of 6TB Seagate Enterprise hard drives in RAID 1. We chose RAID1 for the same reason we test four and greater bay NAS units in RAID5. Very few users will run their NAS in RAID0, regardless of the possible speed benefits. Therefore, it makes no sense to us test under that scenario. We chose SSDs to maximize the performance on the two bay NAS in 10G tests and conventional hard drives to test a normal user’s experience.
For our NASPT, CrystalDiskMark and iSCSI, we revamped our client-side PC. We also consolidated two test machines into one. We cannibalized our previous boxes for some parts and ended up with the following.
- Dell Optiplex 990
- Intel Core i5-2400
- 8GB DDR3
- 250GB Crucial SSD
- Intel PRO/1000 PT Dual Port NIC – 1G Copper
- Intel X520-2 – 10G NIC (SFP+)
- Windows 10
|Seq. Read (Q32)
|Seq. Write (Q32)
|Rnd. Read 4KiB (Q8)
|Rnd. Write 4KiB (Q8)
|Rnd. Read 4KiB (Q32)
|Rnd. Write 4KiB (Q32)
|Rnd. Read 4KiB (Q1)
|Rnd. Write 4KiB (Q1)
The ASUSTOR AS4002T surprised us. We’ve said for years that NAS has been able to saturate a 1G pipe, so the best way to increase value to the consumers is through software. Over that same period of time, we’ve seen the slow trickle of 10G networking into units that are affordable to most anybody.
ASUSTOR has leaped ahead of its competition by introducing 10G capabilities to a line of NAS that is priced evenly with other comparable 1G units from other manufacturers.
The gotcha with anything 10G related is the infrastructure required to take advantage of those speeds. Switching is expensive and so are individual NIC cards. The cheapest 10G switch we could find was the NETGEAR GS110MX for $160 USD at the time of writing. Even still, it only has a pair of 10G ports.
Say you buy that switch or another that offers 10G connectivity, you’ll still want at least one other machine on your network to really take advantage of the speeds offered. You’ll then need a NIC for your desktop or another device. That’ll run you another $80 for an Aquantia AQtion AQN-107 NIC (the cheapest we could find on Amazon).
You’ve now exhausted both ports on your GS110MX, to the tune of an additional $240, but at least you have a device able to talk to your AS4002T at 10G speeds.
10G performance of the AS4002T was a little surprising as it wasn’t quite as fast as we were expecting. That said, it is over double the real-world speed of traditional 1G networking and in some cases, over three. That’s still a considerable jump up in performance and one that is basically free on the AS4002T.
With that last comment in mind, let’s pivot away from the AS4002T being a 10G NAS and consider that it’s a conventional 1G NAS with a 10G port. If you look at it that way, you have NAS as fast as any other 1G NAS we’ve tested, and at a price better than most of its competition. For example, let’s look at Synology’s offerings compared to the AS4002T, and its four-bay brother, the AS4004T. All prices accurate at time of publication.
For $10 USD more, you get a two-bay NAS that competes with the Synology, but… you get a 10GbE port for future use, should you want/need it. For $10 USD less, you get a four-bay NAS that offers the same 10GbE connectivity. That’s a compelling argument.
The ASUSTOR AS4002T, when viewed as a 1GbE two-bay NAS, offers performance on par with all other comparable NAS units on the market. That’s because, as we’ve all known for some time, the 1GbE pipe is easily saturated by any hard drive. When viewed as a 10GbE NAS, the AS4002T is priced evenly with other NAS boxes with the same number of drives, but that have 1GbE NICs. ASUSTOR basically eats the cost of the 10GbE NIC and provides it for free.
There’s a lot to consider when buying a NAS, and that journey begins with identifying what your needs are. If it’s fast network addressable storage at a fair price, look no further than the AS4002T. If it’s the software that sits on top of a NAS, there’s a very good chance that ASUSTOR offers it. There are a few specialized apps that offer functionality on other platforms that ASUSTOR does not have yet, but beyond those outlying examples, App Central has you covered.
The ASUSTOR AS4002T earns an Editor’s Choice award.
ASUSTOR AS4002T 2-Bay NAS
- 10GbE copper NIC.
- Price is comparable to other NAS units that lack 10GbE.
- ADM is mature and delivers an excellent UI.
- Tool-less design.