Today, many technical experts believe that ZFS is something that works only under FreeBSD, in clusters, with configuration from the command line, and mere mortals there is better not to meddle, because it is the lot of the elect. In fact, it is not, and even the ZFS on Linux port has already reached the level of stability when it is used in scalable production-grade hardware solutions. Many system administrators in small organizations, quite clearly understand the advantages of ZFS and you can justify to management the savings that software compression and deduplication, LZ4 when buying a new product, only inexpensive decisions under this file system was not. But the Holy place is never empty, and QSAN decided to combine in one device all that we love in Linux and all that we value in ZFS.
Things we love about ZFS? For the snapshots, deduplication and absolute reliability given to us by Oracle. What’s not to love? For FreeBSD, which is able to do one thing, but stuck in its development somewhere in the first decade of the 21st century, and therefore is not suitable for NAS.
Because a modern NAS is not only a file saver, but also an application server that runs containers, virtual machines, databases, and native programs. Few NAS manufacturers are ready to develop software for FreeBSD, including because of licenses, and what about Linux - you are wellcome: here you have a well-working and regularly updated kernel.
Test bench configuration:
- CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2603 V4
- Cooling: Noctua NH D9DX i4 3U
- Motherboard: ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R
- Memory: 48 GB Transcend DDR4-2400
- Intel X520-DA2
- VMware ESXi 6.5
- Windows Server 2016
- IOmeter patterns of real problems
- Firmware version 3.1.6
- HDD: 3 x Seagate IronWolf 14 Tb, RAID 5, Gzip=On
- SSD: Kingston 3 x 1.92 Tb, RAID5 3x, Gzip=On
- Intel X520-DA2
Perhaps that’s what the developers of the company QSAN, the oldest manufacturer of entry-level storage. They decided that modern processors are ready to handle all the delights of ZFS: memory becomes cheaper, SSD drives-too, and therefore you can make a NAS, which has no analogue on the market. Previously, we have not tested QSAN products, and the more interesting it will be to get acquainted with the idea of its authors: everything is different - a different ideology, a different design… well, let’s go for it.
It is single-controller NAS based on 4-core Intel Xeon CPU with 3.3 GHz, the device has:
- 12 bays for 3.5-inch SATA drives,
- 4 separate bays for SATA SSD
- 2 bays for hot plug SSD 2.5,
- 2 bays for expansion cards,
and it is only what regards to hardware. As for the software, the manufacturer promises multi-level storage (Tiering), support for SSD caching, built-in virtualization, backup to the cloud and all the delights of ZFS, including compression, deduplication and renowned reliability.