Asustor Flashstor FS6712X NVMe NAS Software
The Asustor web management interface is very intuitive. It is probably not as heavily laden with wizards for extreme novices like a Synology or QNAP. On the other hand, it is also more accessible to novice users than something like TrueNAS.
One gripe with this is that it would be nice if the SSDs were displayed which are top and bottom SSDs. The chassis has multiple screw access to either side, so knowing where a drive is should be shown in management instead of being a 50/50 guess.
Setting up a volume is easy, but very slow on our system. It took almost 7 hours to initialize our 12x 4TB volume.
One item that we would strongly suggest is to set SMB multichannel in the SMB screen. If you have a device with multiple NICs that supports it, it tends to be a huge performance increase.
There are a surprisingly large number of apps to install. This is a big reason that we wish this came with 8GB or 16GB instead of 4GB of memory.
One can install Portainer CE even for Docker management.
Here is Portainer running on this unit. Many years ago (2017) we did a Docker Swarm Management: A Quick Overview of Rancher, Portainer and Shipyard piece and Portainer was our favorite. It is great to see the project on a NAS like this.
Next, let us get to the performance.
Asustor Flashstor FS6712X NVMe NAS Performance
The performance of the Asustor Flashstor FS6712X is dependent on a number of factors including the CPU, network, and the drives used. Since we had Docker we could validate the N5105 performance easily.
Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark
This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:
These benchmarks are less exciting, so we are just going to show them to show we are getting fairly standard N5105 performance.
7-zip Compression Performance
7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.
For a NAS, the N5105 is plenty of CPU.
OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:
Here are the verify results.
Where we would want more CPU is if we wanted to run several apps on the NAS. It is a shame since this ends up being a decenly costly NAS due to the cost of M.2 storage, but then it has limited performance beyond a few lightweight apps as well.
Black Magic Disk Speed Test
We hooked this system up to the TP-Link TL-SH1832 and the QNAP QSW-2104-2T-A and saw fairly similar performance. Here is the result with a RAID 5 12x Crucial P3 Plus array:
Read speeds are fairly good, but the write speeds are meager. We could get much higher write speeds in RAID 0, 1, or 10, but RAID 5 results were meager. Part of this is also the drive selection.
258MB/s may seem bad, but under compressed formats, one should remember that many cameras, especially with h265, are shooting only 200-400Mbps data rates today. On the read side, it is much higher.
Quick SMB File Transfer Tests
We set up the recent HP Elite Mini 600 G9 with a 10Gbase-T NIC and just tested the out-of-box performance with the unit. This was fairly interesting transferring a project file for the HP Elite Mini 800 G9 video folder:
Here we got around 900MB/s which is good. Still, there were some performance inconsistencies with some transfers falling into the 400-500MB/s range writing to the NAS. Part of that is the RAID 5 array, part is the drives that can fall to 75MB/s each on long-term sequential testing. Still, this is an OK performance for a file server.
If you want ultra-fast VM storage, this is the wrong device. The PCIe lane situation is just too burdensome on this unit for ultra-low latency operation. Basic VM storage via iSCSI or other protocols is fine, but our suggestion would be to get a faster NAS for that application.
Our sense is that this was really designed as a lower cost flash NAS from a portability and reliability standpoint, instead of for all-out performance. That totally makes sense.
Next, let us get to the power consumption and noise.
Definitely looks interesting. Kind of disappointed that the speed seems so low. I get that they had to use a low powered CPU to keep the power/heat low but those nvme drives are restricted (even with the pci switch it seems). If you’re dropping $2.5k on this machine, you would expect better performance.
Hopefully they’ll come out with an updated version that at has more pcie lanes because the power efficencies alone would make me consider moving from my HDD NAS that idles around 100W.
useful enough is neither a product that delivers on its promises nor indispensable with 12 NVMe SSDs much much more was to be expected
I have one of these. Opted to just load Linux on it, being it’s basically a standard x86 PC that didn’t take doing anything special. There is an 8 GB emmc storage built in that can act as the boot loader drive allowing you to put your / onto your main disk pool if you want. Overall I’m happy with it. I did opt to swap the fan and run the quieter fan at full all the time. This original fan just didn’t sound smooth for whatever reason so even though the new fan is running max all the time it’s actually quieter on top of delivering better airflow. I also decided to do the 2×16 GB. The processor is only listed as supporting 16GB so expecting it to do 4x as much seemed to be asking for trouble. No issues with 32 GB yet though. The only other thing I’d say is the power button is in a really awkward place, right under the overhanging ledge on the side where you’d naturally want to pick the box up from.
The upcoming AMD Epyc Sienna platform would be much more interesting for something like this. Much more expensive, but still. You could cram stupid amounts of M.2 drives into a 1U case, or 2U if you wanted more tolerable fan noise and room for a PCIe slot or two.
“If you want more performance than 10GbE, then it is worth looking at other solutions.”
I would say if you want more performance than 10GbE, then you are an enterprise, not a home user.
Looks like this supports Ext4 and Btrfs? How reliable is Btrfs? Are they doing the same trick as Synology where they still use the more reliable mdadm to manage the RAID array and then just format the individual drives as Btrfs?
Can you run TrueNAS on this? Is the network card supported?
This would have been somewhat more interesting with a part like the Atom P5322 or Xeon D-1702. Without ECC and with such poor PCIe resources this is a bit of a joke.