Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX File Transfer Performance Report


After Thecus Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, I am expecting to see how it competes with others in real-world. Recently, I have a chance to test W5000 with Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Thecus W5000 with Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essential

Thecus W5000 uses an Intel Atom D2550 which is a 1.86GHz dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading Technology. It has 1MB L2 cache, Intel 64 Architecture, and supports up to 4GB DDR3.

The test machine comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and is upgradable. It also comes with a Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500GB as a system drive.

I install two Seagate Barracuda Desktop HDD as RAID 1 in it.

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a x64 Windows based on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2. In specification tab of Thecus W5000, you will see a comparison table of Workgroup, Standard, and Essentials. Essentials doesn’t support Hyper-V but is capable of being a domain controller running Active Directory service.

Although WSS 2012 R2 Essentials is a x64 Windows, it is limited to 4GB of RAM due to processor architecture. Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases on Microsoft provides a clear explanation.

Mac Mini Late 2012

I have upgrade my Mac mini to 16GB RAM and use a Seagate Laptop SSHD 1 TB which spins at 5400rpm and comes with 8GB MLC cache build-in to replace the slow hard drive.

Test Method

It is detail explained in Prepare Your NAS File Transfer Performance Test with Mac OSX Client. I test both Samba and NFS.

I also add test results from QNAP TS-119PII with OSX and NAS with Edge 72z. The later is running OpenSuSE with different hard drives in orange color as reference.

  1. QNAP TS-119PII with Mac OSX File Transfer Performance Report
  2. Thecus N7710-G File Transfer Performance Report
  3. Thecus N2800 File Transfer Performance Report
  4. Thecus N2560 File Transfer Performance Report
  5. Thecus N2310 with Firmware 743 File Transfer Performance Report

Performance

File transfer performance on Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX via Samba.
File transfer performance on Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX via Samba.
File transfer performance on Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX via NFS.
File transfer performance on Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX via NFS.

Analyze

In above test, both W5000 and TS-119PII are test with OSX client. W5000 is about 50% slower on Samba reading than TS-119PII. According to Improving OS X SMB server share performance to Windows Server 2008R2 on JAMF Nation, the poor performance comes from incompatible and exist for years. There seems no solution yet. How to speed up SMB connection between a Mac client and Isilon storage server? on ServerFault is another thread discussing the slow issue. Although OS X Lion (10.7) begin to support SMB 2.0, not much help on throughput.

Like TS-119PII, W5000 perform better with NFS but still significant slower than TS-119PII. CPU consumption is less than 20% while RAM takes up 80% during test. I don’t think it is due to heavy swapping.

You may see huge difference compared to reference data with Edge 72z. Except for OSX‘s poor support for Samba, different hard drives should be considered, too.

Edge 72z is using Seagate Desktop SSHD 1GB which is faster (7200rpm vs 5400rpm) and has higher disk density (1 disk for 1TB vs 500GB). According to UserBenchmark: SeagateST1000LM014 vs SeagateST1000DX001Desktop SSHD 1GB is about 43% faster than Laptop SSHD 1 TB.

More Thoughts

I have work with Thecus support team for more than 2 weeks. Here are some test results I got with different configuration.

Informal file transfer performance on Thecus W5000.
Informal file transfer performance on Thecus W5000.

Improving OS X SMB server share performance to Windows Server 2008R2 on JAMF Nation suggest to use cifs instead of smb in finder, yes it helps on reading but worse writing.

OS X is holding back the 2013 MacBook Air’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds on ArsTechnica explains when using wireless device, the TCP window size stay within 64KB which limiting file transfer speeds to about 21.2MBps. I think it’s worth the time to read for detail.

As I have mentioned earlier, RAM is not an issue in my case. Upgrade to 4GB doesn’t help.

RAID 1 by Storage pool is a little bit slower than Disk Management. But I might need to do more test to confirm, it’s just quick test data.

Performance gain huge when I switch from Mac mini with SSHD to  ThinkPad X131e with SSD. This is what I expect from a NAS.

I conclude the poor performance is due to poor comparability between Windows Server 2012 R2 and OSX. If you have OSX in your network, stay with NFS.

Even worse, I read a user experience “… upload speeds generally around 5Mbps…” on 1513+ & DSM 5.1 -> EXTREMELY slow after update from 5.0 on Synology forum. It’s not easy to live with unofficial Apple device for Mac users.

Reference

  1. ArsTechnica: OS X is holding back the 2013 MacBook Air’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds
  2. Apple: Mac mini (Late 2012) – Technical Specifications
  3. Apple: OS X
  4. Intel 64 Architecture
  5. Intel Atom Processor D2550
  6. Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
  7. JAMF Nation: Improving OS X SMB server share performance to Windows Server 2008R2
  8. Lenovo: ThinkCentre Edge 72z
  9. Lenovo: Shop: ThinkPad X131e (Intel) Laptop
  10. Linux.org
  11. Microsoft: TechNet: Overview of Disk Management
  12. Microsoft: TechNet: Domain Controller Roles
  13. Microsoft: TechNet: Hyper-V
  14. Microsoft: TechNet: Storage Space Overview
  15. Microsoft: Windows Server 2012 R2
  16. Microsoft: Windows: Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases
  17. OpenSuSE
  18. Prepare Your NAS File Transfer Performance Test with Mac OSX Client
  19. QNAP TS-119PII
  20. QNAP TS-119PII with Mac OSX File Transfer Performance Report
  21. Samba.org: [Samba] Question marks, asterisks, colons in filenames
  22. Seagate Barracuda Desktop Datasheet
  23. Seagate Desktop SSHD Datasheet
  24. Seagate Laptop SSHD Datasheet
  25. ServerFault: How to speed up SMB connection between a Mac client and Isilon storage server?
  26. Synology: forum: 1513+ & DSM 5.1 -> EXTREMELY slow after update from 5.0
  27. Thecus
  28. Thecus N2310 with Firmware 743 File Transfer Performance Report
  29. Thecus N2560 File Transfer Performance Report
  30. Thecus N2800 File Transfer Performance Report
  31. Thecus N7710-G File Transfer Performance Report
  32. Thecus Windows Storage Server 2012 R2
  33. Thecus: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  34. Thecus: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard
  35. Thecus: W5000
  36. UserBenchmark: SeagateST1000LM014 vs SeagateST1000DX001
  37. Wiki: Multi-level cell
  38. Wiki: Network File System
  39. Wiki: Mac OS X Lion
  40. Wiki: Samba (software)
  41. Wiki: Server Message Block: 2.1 SMB 2.0
  42. Wiki: Standard RAID levels: 2 RAID 1
  43. Wiki: x86-64: 6.6 Windows
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