FreeNAS Mini XL+ Performance
We are going to look at three key areas of performance for the FreeNAS Mini XL+. First, we are going to look at CPU performance. Then we are going to look at storage performance. Finally, we are going to look at network performance.
FreeNAS Mini XL+ CPU Performance
Our standard Linux-Bench suite runs under Linux, not FreeBSD. Luckily, it was trivial to boot to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and run our CPU benchmarks on the FreeNAS Mini XL+. We wanted to show a few quick views of what the CPU performance is relative to other server options. A key selling point of the FreeNAS Mini XL+ is that it has extra CPU and memory capacity so you can run additional virtual machines, jailed applications, and Docker containers on the system. Here is the lscpu output of the Intel Atom C3758:
We are going to do an abridged set of benchmarks, but you can see our full Intel Atom C3758 Benchmarks and Review for more.
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:
There are parts of this benchmark that are single-threaded. Still, if you are buying lower-spec servers for edge virtualization/ container hosts, the Atom C3758 has fairly solid performance nearing that of much higher power alternatives such as the Intel Xeon Bronze 3204.
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.
On the compression side, we see great gains. We have the AMD Opteron X3421 here which is the CPU from the higher-end HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen10. As you can see, the FreeNAS Mini XL+ has 10GbE, a faster CPU, more memory and storage capacity, and out-of-band management. The FreeNAS Mini XL+ is more of a low-spec HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 competitor but is smaller and lower power.
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:
UnixBench Dhrystone 2 Benchmarks
Some of the longest-running tests at STH are the venerable UnixBench 5.1.3 Dhrystone 2 results. They are certainly aging, however, we constantly get requests for them, and many angry notes when we leave them out. UnixBench is widely used so we are including it in this data set. Here are the Dhrystone 2 results:
Single-threaded performance may not be the best, but with eight-cores, the net impact of an Atom C3758 can be significant. Just because it says “Atom” does not mean it is necessarily slower than everything that is called a “Xeon” but it uses less power to achieve the same multi-threaded performance.
We wanted to give some sense of the overall compute performance as a big part of the FreeNAS Mini XL+ is the ability to run applications at the edge.
FreeNAS Mini XL+ Storage Performance
We wanted to take a few views of the storage performance since this is a NAS platform. At the same time, with eight modern hard drives, lots of RAM, and 10GbE networking, this configuration has more performance for the majority of sequential workloads than most deployments will need. We also wanted to look at the sync write performance of the ZIL Write Cache SSD option our unit came equipped with.
Intel NAS Performance Toolkit
The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (Intel NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable performance comparisons between network-attached storage (NAS) devices. It tests several common workloads. You can take these results and compare against many of our other consumer NAS reviews.
Overall great results and generally ahead of most of the consumer NAS devices we test by a double-digit margin.
FreeNAS ZIL Write Cache SSD Testing
Here we are again using the FreeBSD diskinfo tool to simulate the type of activity patterns one sees with ZFS ZIL/ SLOG devices. Although the industry likes to quote 4K random write numbers, that is not the most relevant. A 100GB drive written continuously at 100% load will fill up quickly. Instead, logging operations often perform some writes, then need to flush data to make room for the next set of data. Here is the raw result for the FreeNAS Mini XL+ Zil:
Here are the latency figures:
Some time ago, we did a piece around Exploring the Best ZFS ZIL SLOG SSD with Intel Optane and NAND. This is not quite the same performance, but it is still very good. Sync writes are important for applications like writing database data to the NAS. Here the FreeNAS ZIL drive performed relatively well for a SATA III offering.
FreeNAS Mini XL+ Network Performance
The FreeNAS Mini XL+ has two 10Gbase-T Ethernet ports. We tested these both using 10Gbase-T as well as running in 1GbE mode.
As you can see, we got solid performance from the onboard NICs. We expect slightly better performance using SFP+ networking, but this is fast enough to do 4K video as an example. In 2019, we suggest your NAS units use 10GbE if at all possible.
Next, we are going to look at power consumption and noise before getting to our final thoughts on the FreeNAS Mini XL+.