Cavalry Storage CAND3001T0 1TB Network Drive ReviewNemo - February 4, 2009
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The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit is a set of tools used to test and analyze file systems and enable direct comparison of the performance levels of different network attached storage devices. It utilizes a set of tests based on real world applications such as HD video playback and recording, office productivity, photo album manipulation, and file and directory copying. The toolkit uses a set of traces based on these applications, mimics the file system traffic generated, and records the system response. In our evaluation, the toolkit was run in batch mode, which runs the series of tests five times in succession and the median throughput value is used to report the results. The hard drives were reconfigured and the CAND3001T0 was rebooted before each test was run.
HD Video Playback (higher is better)
The HD Video Playback series of tests involve streaming a 720p HD video file using Windows Media Player and 256kb reads. The tests play either 1, 2 or 4 files simultaneously using different percentages of sequential reads (99.5% for the single file, 18.1% for the 2x HD Video Playback and 9.6% for the 4x HD Video Playback).
2x HD Video Playback (higher is better)
4x HD Video Playback (higher is better)
During testing of the CAND3001T0 using the three HD video playback tests, we see the unit posting throughput numbers ranging from 10.3-13.7 MB/s with the EXT2 file system. Using the EXT3 file system results in a performance penalty that varies anywhere from 1- to 21 percent depending on the test and hard drive configuration used. The standard (single drive) setup is the the place where the EXT3 file system eked out a slight performance gain. You would expect to see a convincing argument for using RAID-0 in these playback tests, but that isn't the case. Except for the 2x HD Playback test, configuring your drives in JBOD will yield better results.
When we compare the results against those from the D-Link DNS-323, we can only use the results for the EXT2 file system, as that is common to both NAS appliances. This series of tests was the forte of the D-Link DNS-323 and also some of the best tests for the CAND3001T0. The DNS-323 shows clear dominance over the CAND3001T0 in this series with throughput that is anywhere from 31-46 percent higher.
HD Video Record (higher is better)
This test writes a single 720p HD video file to the NAS device employing 99.9% sequential 256kb writes.
During the HD Video Record we see a drop in throughput due to writing across the network, as expected. With the EXT2 file system we see rates of 11.8-13.7 MB/s. The EXT3 file system shows rates that are 36-44% slower. The throughput rates are not too bad, but once again are bested by the DNS-323 by 22-29% depending on the setup.
HD Playback and Record (higher is better)
The HD Video Playback and Record test combines the two previous tests and reads and writes a HD 720p video file simultaneously.
During the HD Playback and Record tests the CAND3001T0 cranks out its second-best set of test results. Again we see that using RAID-0 doesn't provide any real benefits as you would expect. While the JBOD configuration pulled almost even with the similar setup on the DNS-323, the other configurations lagged behind the DNS-323 by as much as 24%.
Content Creation (higher is better)
This test simulates content creation on the NAS device such as might occur when rendering a video. There are 99 files used and is composed of 95% write operations with up to 64kb block sizes and consists of 39.1% sequential operations.
The CAND3001T0 starts to come into its own against the D-Link DNS-323 with the Content Creation test. While both units were taxed by this test, the CAND3001T0 didn't suffer as badly as the DNS-323 and came out ahead across all setups by margins ranging from 11-31%.
Office Productivity (higher is better)
The Office Productivity test is roughly evenly distributed between read and write operations using 607 small files consisting of 1kb and 4kb reads and mostly 1kb writes.
This test continues to confound me as the CAND3001T0 turned in its best results of the entire suite with throughput values varying from 13.4-16.6 MB/s. When we ran this test on the DNS-323, the results took such a nosedive, I felt compelled to rerun the entire series of tests just to make sure they were right. I was faced with the same dilemma again with the CAND3001T0, but with values surging in the opposite direction. After rerunning the tests for the CAND3001T0, we see it performed at a level four to five times higher than the the DNS-323. This isn't just an indication of how poorly the DNS-323 fared on this test, as this was the best results I saw for the Cavalry unit during testing.
File Copy to NAS (higher is better)
The File Copy test copies a single large file to the NAS unit using 100% sequential 64kb write operations.
Copying a single large file to the NAS unit results in throughput number in the double digits, except for the RAID-1 setup that takes a pretty big hit for having to mirror the data. Again, the DNS-323 beats out the CAND3001T0 by a healthy margin with the DNS-323 beating the CAND3001T0's RAID-1 performance by over 50%.
File Copy from NAS
This test reads the single large (1.4GB) file from the File Copy test from the NAS using 64kb read operations.
Reading the same file from the NAS shows the CAND3001T0 can achieve a 9-13 MB/s throughput rate, but again is bested by the D-Link DNS3-3 by 46% in RAID-1 and 24-39 percent in the other drive configurations.
Dir Copy to NAS (higher is better)
This test copies a directory structure with 126 files to the NAS device using predominately 64kb writes, but also includes a wide distribution under 16kb.
The multiple consecutive writes performed brings down the CAND3001T0 to its lowest performance values in all the tests. The EXT3 file system setup turns in rates around 4 MB/s with the EXT2 file system running 13-19 percent better. The D-Link takes this test as well.
Dir Copy from NAS (higher is better)
This test copies the same directory structure of 126 files from the NAS device using 64kb reads.
Copying the directory back eliminates the write penalty and the CAND3001T0 moves back up into the 6-7 MB/s range, but it's still not enough to best the DNS-323, which takes the test by margins ranging from 18-37%.
Photo Album (higher is better)
The Photo Album test simulates the viewing of 169 photo files of various sizes stored on the NAS and consists of 100% read operations.
The last test plays against the relative strength of the CAND3001T0 versus the DNS-323, allowing it to put up one last fight and come out ahead across all drive configurations even though it only posted throughput rates in the 4.1-4.8MB/s range.
After looking at the test results there a couple of takeaways. First is that with the CAND3001T0, the EXT3 file system suffers a performance penalty compared to the EXT2 file system. This is most apparent in the HD Video Record test that uses 99.9% writes, highlighting this with EXT2 showing 36-44% better throughput. You would need to carefully assess whether the better recovery capability of a journaled file system (EXT3) is worth it when using the CAND3001T0.
The next item to consider is that, with the CAND3001T0, there is no overwhelming case for choosing a RAID-0 configuration over JBOD. With both setups you get the full storage available on both drives, but in most cases, running a JBOD setup on the CAND3001T0 trumps RAID-0.