Performance and an IT Perspective
Starting with this review, we will benchmark network attached storage devices using IOzone, a high quality, freeware application that is especially well suited to measuring the performance of network based storage devices. IOzone includes a number of tests. We use the basic write and read tests.
We use a record size of 64 MB in our tests, because this is the size most often used by Windows applications. Tests are done using 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 and 1024 (1 GB) MB file sizes. We run our tests 10 times and average the results.
Our tests are conducted on a 100 Mbps and a 1000 Mbps (Gigabit) network. The networks consist of a 100 or 1000 Mbps switch, the NAS device and our test workstation, which features a modern and pretty fast Celeron CPU and 1 GB of RAM. The workstation is outfitted with a built-in 100 Mbps network adapter, which we use for the 100 Mbps tests, and an add-on LinkSys Gigabit networking card.
The following two charts show the results of our IOzone tests of the WD NAS in RAID 5 configuration. RAID 5 is the safest data protection mode offered, but it’s also the slowest, not just on the WD device, but on any up-to-RAID-5 NAS device. Both charts show quite typical performance for a NAS device. Write and read speeds decrease as file size increases. Based on some preliminary tests using IOzone on other NAS devices, I feel comfortable saying that this isn’t the fastest performing RAID 5 NAS I’ve seen, but it’s not too far off the mark.
An IT Perspective
I have lots of hands-on experience in business Information Technology planning, management and implementation. I had to dig into that experience and fiddle a lot with the ShareSpace NAS to get some of its functionality to work.
FTP wasn’t all that easy, and I can’t imagine how a novice home user would get it to work. Additionally, I had to dig deep to re-share the ShareSpace’s public folder on a computer after the original mapping had been messed up. See the previous page. The WD software’s discovery mode didn’t discover the device and I had to play around until I got it back.
Active directory ? Forget about it if you don’t have Windows Server experience.
I guess the good news is that if you have a simple Windows home network, with a workgroup as opposed to a domain setup, and you stick to simple file sharing, and don’t mess with it, the ShareSpace NAS can work for you. Go beyond simple uses at home or in a business environment and you’ll need some IT help, even if only a few hours from a consultant. The additional good news is that the WD ShareSpace NAS is business ready, if you’ve got the resources to support it.
Finally, I was surprised that the ShareSpace has to be turned off to replace a bad drive. Hot swappable drives are a feature of most RAID capable devices in the WD NAS’s price range. It’s a feature that should be provided, especially given that this is a product marketed as easy to use at home or small business environments.