NAS Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 review, a practically infinite archive even in plain sight
HomeMacityEmulations, virtualization, Mac and WindowsAlthough usually the standard of NAS we try here on macitynet.it is 2 or 4 sleds (bay), we have welcomed the arrival of this Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8, a beast (pass us the term) with 8 slots for discs, plus a couple more for fast M.2 discs.
Having so many slots available allows you to manage the internal space in an incredibly elastic way and to opt for solutions that are difficult to implement with alternatives to 4 disks. Let's see how we worked.
Anything and more
From a technical point of view, the Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 is an 8-disk NAS capable of officially obtaining up to 144 TB of space (in RAID 0 configuration with 18 TB disks, but which can reach up to 160 TB with 20 TB), more than enough for most companies in the Italian SME sector, and we are sure the vast majority of private users or small professionals who are looking for a solution for smart working and something more.
Equipped with a Quad Core 2.1GHz Intel ATOM C3538 64-bit processor with 8 GB of RAM (expandable up to 64 using the two slots), it offers enough power for hosting different materials, with several users connected even simultaneously and one good solution both operating independently (especially as storage) and in collaboration with one or two servers in cluster.
The front view of the Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8, austere but interestingThe dimensions are certainly not contained (on the other hand it can accommodate up to 8 3.5 “discs): we are talking about 215.5 × 293.0×230.0 mm, even if considering the capacity it is not the largest.
On the front there are all the slides and a large monochrome display for essential information (such as the IP address, the server name and other info available via the front buttons, very useful when we have more than one identical model in the server room).
In the back instead there is room for the four Ethernet connectors, two of 10 GbE and two of 2.5 GbE, which can also operate in aggregation (but be careful, you need a suitable router or switch), offering an incredible operating speed. .
In addition to this, the second USB-A port for copying data (the first is located on the front) and the connector for the power supply, with internal power supply (very positive aspect).
Considering the speed obtainable on the network and the high storage capacity, its use in a creative perspective should not be underestimated
Switching on and first start-up
After using almost all the slots (then we will see why not all of them) with a hybrid solution of mechanical disks and SSDs, then 3.5 and 2.5 drives (both the screws are all included inside), we tried to tackle various RAID solutions to understand how both NAS and storage drives behave.
For the disks we opted for 12 TB WD RED drives and SanDisk Ultra SATA SSDs in a mixed way, both operating with a single volume in RAID 0 of just under 70 TB (which had its reason only because it is a solution from review, in production much more caution is needed) and in two distinct solutions always in RAID 0, however separating the SSD drives (faster) from the mechanical disks (more capacious).
All supported by a memory unit M.2 WD RED SN700 for the cache, which has greatly speeded up all the most “fast” operations and which in a short time becomes essential to use the NAS at its best.
The sleds appeared good and the supply of video was adequate: the ADM 4 operating system, updated during the test days, is now a mature solution capable of offering a very good experience both for the completeness of the options and, above all, for the extreme simplicity of all the controls, perfectly rationalized and within reach even of those who do not have similar experiences.
The slides are comfortable and easy to manage, thanks to the front extraction Here we are, a few lives and we are immediately operational
The key to data passage
Faced with such a large space, we have well thought of carrying all our archive inside, as a backup copy, while hosted on another NAS, an Asustor AS6604T Lockerstor 4, substantially a smaller but very similar version of the Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 available.
This operation, typical of when you buy a new NAS, is quite delicate and can be done in various ways: via network, using one of the integrated backup functions (but if the network is not done very well you risk congesting the network for several hours) or via USB, if we have a disk available to dedicate.
Asustor for its part has a function that we liked a lot instead, we haven't talked about it much but we usually always use it for all the times we have to do a migration.
To access the M.2 fast memory you need to unscrew three screws and remove part of the case, which is still a simple operation. There is room for two modules, which can be used as both cache and actual archivesThe name is MyArchive and allows you to transform a disk (whether it is mechanical or SSD technically does not matter, but it could change the space available in it) into a kind of cartridge, being able to move it from one NAS to another as if it were an external disk , only it is used internally (with speeds of about 140 MB / s when formatted in HFS +).
The function is practical for two reasons: first it does not overload the network, using an internal copy, the second is that during the creation phase the operating system of the Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 asks for the type of filesystem.
We can opt for Unix-derived Filesystems such as Ext4 or for more common HFS (macOS only) or ExFAT (macOS and Windows), with the advantage that, in the end, the disk can also be read by a Mac or a Windows PC easily with a external case or an adapter.
The MyArchive function can be used both for the first, delicate, step (for us it meant 14 TB of data passed in a few hours) or it can become an interesting method to archive little used data, saved on external disks and then placed in a distant closet. from the server (therefore 100% safe) or instead of tape backup systems (any disk is much faster than a tape drive, both reading and writing).
The RAM module, like the M.2 memory, is inside the case.
Once put to work, it is clear that one of the most interesting aspects to evaluate is speed: Asustor does not have a special app for controlling the internal speed of disks or volumes, even if we really appreciated Netdata, which in practice offers a complete x-ray of all the log data of every single part of the NAS (in real time).
But one of the most interesting points is certainly the networking part: using two 10 GbE connectors in Link Aggregation mode (having a switch that supports it) with a volume on the M.2 SSD memory you can have a data reading speed greater than 2,000 MB / S, which means that with a dedicated infrastructure the NAS can operate with an external disk even for highly professional tasks, such as 4K video editing, instead of a local disk (functionality practically impossible until a few years ago) .
The four network sockets, two 10 GbE and two 2.5 GbE allow very high speed, in the right network as if it were a local disk.This capacity, together with the fact of having a deposit of 8 + 2 easily manageable units, allows professional firms to organize themselves in a really interesting way for even very large and progressive archives.
However, the writer allows himself to recommend a not so extreme use of the NAS, as it is more economically sustainable to use a mixed SSD or mechanical SATA archive, and leave the M.2 drives with the task of caching, which as we said a little earlier becomes fundamental.
One of the phases of creating a MyArchive drive, which can be used as a cartridge and removed and put on other Asustor NAS even when hot
While we're at it …
Basically many of the features seen in this NAS replicate, faster and more robustly, what has already been seen in the Asustor AS6604T Lockerstor 4, in particular from the software point of view because the operating system and the apps are the same, although precisely with 8 sledges available you can play much more as regards the management of volumes.
The mobile apps are complete (check, among all, AiMaster for complete control of the unit even remotely) and quite diversified, although the writer complains of a certain static in the interface that deserves more attention (and there is also a small problem in very large media files via https).
And although it is certainly not a device suitable for home use, here we immediately activated our copy of Plex and used it with the TV via AppleTV, an experience that now cannot be missing in smart TVs alongside the various Netflix and Amazon Prime Video : on the other hand, all the effort you do with iPhone photos and videos must also have a reward, and seeing them correctly on the TV in the living room is what they deserve.
Although formally considered an Enterprise NAS, the Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 probably does very well even in Italian SMEs.
The wide possibility of configuration given by 8 slides and two slots for SSD M.2 is very useful in an environment where storage is essential and access must be fast even by an important number of users (for which the use SSD cache must be assigned very carefully).
In addition to this, the very high silence is very interesting, which allows the NAS to stop quietly even outside a dedicated room, because not all offices have one, considering that the aesthetics are pleasant, even if austere.
The price seems to be in line with the potential of the product and competitive with the offers of other vendors, with a complete, functional and simple operating system even for those who are fasting NAS operations.
A must for the MyArchive functionality, capable of transforming a disk into a virtual cartridge, to be used on multiple NAS or even on a Mac or PC.
• 8 slides plus 2 SSD M.2 allow a wide range of configurations • Very quiet • In a dedicated network it is very fast
• With such a large archive M.2 cache is necessary • Mobile apps should be updated
• € 1,079.00 (Diskless Asustor AS6508T) • € 449.00 (Western Digital WD Red 12 TB) • € 59.99 (Western Digital WD Red 1 TB) • € 59.99 (SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD 500 GB ) • € 90.00 (Western Digital M.2 WD RED SN700 500 GB)
Asustor AS6508T Lockerstor 8 is available (naked) starting at Amazon.it, more information on the official page.