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Short Review: Infortrend EonNAS Pro 200

Short Review: Infortrend EonNAS Pro 200

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Infortrend have been producing storage products since 1993.  In this post we will look at one of their desktop SOHO products, the 2-drive EonNAS Pro 200, which I’ve recently had on short review for a couple of weeks.

Hardware

The box itself is a smart, matt-black unit, with minimal buttons and external lights.  It feels solid to the touch without being too heavy.  My evaluation unit was delivered with two 1TB drives, which integrate using individual caddies.  At the back of the device, apart from power and screen connections, there are two Gigabit Ethernet ports, an expansion eSATA ports and four USB ports.

Inside, the EonNAS Pro is powered by an Intel Atom processor running at 1.8Ghz.  There is also 4GB of internal DRAM.

Power Up

On power up of the device the rear fan spins up quite noticeably.  Boot seems to be a two-stage process in which the fans were spun up twice.  Obviously the fan needs to be tested as the unit comes online, but I don’t understand why this process seemed to be repeated.

I expected discovery of the device to be easy using the provided software.  However there appeared to be no Mac OSX version and installing the software into a virtual machine didn’t work as the software failed to find the device.  Eventually I identified the assigned DHCP IP address by looking at the message log of my DNS server.  This is not an ideal situation as although many SOHO installations will have simple flat networks, SMBs may not.

Features

The EonNAS supports a wide range of protocols, including SMB, AFP, NFS, FTP, HTTP, iSCSI and NDMP.  Some protocols need to be turned on as they are not enabled by default.  Probably more interesting is the support of block-based features for iSCSI LUNs, including thin provisioning, deduplication and compression.

There are also a number of features we have come to expect on this class of product, including Active Directory integration, SNMP monitoring, connectivity for printers and external backup drives, snapshots and replication using rsync.

One nice feature is the Dashboard.  This provides a view of the operation of the system, including processor and memory usage, disk I/O and protocol utilisation.  The ability to see what’s going on within the device is important as we will see when looking at the performance results.

Finally it’s worth mentioning that the underlying file system is ZFS (if you’re not sure what ZFS is, follow the link).  ZFS is used in products like NexentaStor and provides both performance improvements and the advanced features like dedupe and thin provisioning, although the within this device ZFS logging will not be accelerated as much as it could be due to the lack of SSD/NAND.

Performance Testing

EonNAS200 - Throughput

The following graph shows a performance test that was completed against the EonNAS 200.  Four  1GB LUNs were created, one standard LUN, a thin provisioned LUN, a compressed LUN and a de-duplicated LUN.  The graph shows throughput in MB/s for a rising block size, with a queue depth of 8, in order to load the array.  Each LUN was written to with random data.  For the standard LUN as block size reaches 64KB, the increase in performance tails off around 100MB/s.  For the other LUN types, throughput is lower than experienced at around 50% throughput for the thin LUN.  Presumably that’s because as each block of data is written, the device has to look where to locate it, updating control blocks in the process.

While the tests were being performed, I monitored processor and memory utilisation.  The Atom processor peaked at around 100% on all tests but the standard LUN.  Pushing the processor to this limit also triggered the rear fan as the device looked to keep up with the workload.  Memory utilisation increased for the deduplicated and compressed LUNs; again this wasn’t surprising.  It’s clear that pushing this unit to the limit isn’t that hard.

Summary

Overall the Infortrend EonNAS Pro 200 is a capable box with lots of nice features.  Using ZFS is a great idea; with the dashboard it reminds me of the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance I reviewed a few years ago.  Performance could have been better and it was easy to max out the processor and memory.  The issue of lack of Mac software also needs to be sorted.  That said, this is a SMB/SOHO device.  It would be nice to see how some of Infortrend’s bigger cousins perform by comparison.

About Chris M Evans

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