Thecus N7770-10G Elite-Class Business 7-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a real pleasure for me as I get to take a closer look and test an elite class business NAS with built-in 10GbE and high availability function. I got Thecus’ N7770-10G 7-bay business NAS on the table and I’m going to give it thorough testing to show you just how amazing it is.

When I review consumer class NAS devices, I often talk about how they are suited for all sorts of media and streaming needs as that is the main focus for that group. The Thecus N7770-10G does all this too and it does it great, but it isn’t what it was designed for. This is a business class NAS and as such it needs a whole other set of features and functionality. You get a complete backup solution that includes the use of external devices, cloud backup, snapshots, and client backup as well as total security thanks to Intel Security Antivirus, AES 256-bit encryption, and VPN server functionality. The N7770-10G still provides all the mobile connectivity and media streaming capabilities as well as centralized authentication control.

The Thecus N7770-10G NAS isn’t built around a low-power ARM or Intel Celeron CPU, instead it’s built with a full Intel Core i3-2120 dual-core processor that has a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. To go with that CPU, you get 8GB DDR3 ECC memory that is expandable all the way to 32GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE card pre-installed, and 7 drive bays for a lot of raw storage.

It is my personal opinion that we have been stuck at 1Gbps ethernet connections for way too long. While we had the ability to link those together to achieve better connections, it is old by now and today’s needs also increase the need for better connectivity. In that regard, I’m glad to see Thecus having this model with an included 10GbE adapter, making it ready for the step into the next speed category. It still features two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet connections too, which you naturally all can link aggregate and trunk. Further, you get a total of six USB 2.0 ports where two of them are on the front and two USB 3.0 ports on the rear. The HDMI port further allows you to turn your NAS into the ultimate multimedia hub by connecting the NAS directly to your TV or monitor.

The N7770-10G supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 10, 50 and JBOD modes besides single disk usage. You can create multiple RAID volumes with different modes, only limited by the amount of drives you have available for the pool. Should a hard drive malfunction occur, changing one is simple thanks to online RAID migration and expansion, hot spare, and auto rebuild. You can also pick which filesystem you prefer as the N7770-10G supports EXT3, EXT4, Btrfs and XFS for increased flexibility and ability to suit many different types of environments. Users can simultaneously use different file systems across multiple RAID volumes to get the best of each one.

iSCSI Thin-Provisioning is a thing that many people still read past as they don’t really know what it is, but it is well worth getting the handle on, as you can manage your storage better and get better speeds. Connect through iSCSI for the fastest data transfer speeds available and make wasted disk space a thing of the past with thin provisioning’s flexible storage functionality. Windows Server, NT, and XP users will need to download the iSCIC initiator from Microsoft, but Windows 7, 8, and 10 users, for example, have it built right into the OS. If in doubt, just search for iSCSI from your Windows start menu search.

Two awesome features in Thecus NAS’ that often are overlooked, are the Disk Clone and Disk Wipe functions. Both can be extremely useful for both business and home users. The Disk Clone features allows you to copy the entire contents of a disk to one or many other disks while the Disk Wipe function allows you to permanently destroy a volumes data.

Business data is sensitive data and sensitive data needs to be protected. Thecus N7770-10G offers AES 256-bit RAID volume encryption that allows you to fully encrypt the entire RAID volume. Sensitive data also has to be sent and received with the proper security, for this you can set up the VPN server. It allows users to remotely access a secure network with the equipment already at hand.

Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes and external drives. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. It makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient. But there are many ways to backup your data and the Thecus N7770-10G pretty much supports them all.

With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups. Snapshots of data at various time points can be manually or automatically made and just as easily later restored to rollback files or folders to previous states. Rsync is probably the most common used technique and Thecus supports this too. It gives great flexibility with remote backup capability, a flexible scheduler, and the stability of Linux-based transfer.

You can easily create your own cloud solution with the Thecus N7770-10G, but that doesn’t mean that the existing cloud providers should be counted out. There can be many reasons to use these services and Thecus supportsDropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. The best here is that it is as easy to use and setup as all the normal and local sharing functions.

Data Burn is another great feature that comes in line with the previous mentioned Disk Clone and Disk Wipe features. With Data Burn, you can connect a CD, DVD, or Blue-ray burner and create physical optical backups of your data. In addition, it also supports burning of ISO image files instead. You can of course also use a connected optical drive to easily backup the data to your NAS.

When you buy a Thecus NAS like this, you also get a few extra software pieces that are well worth having. The hardware in itself is solid quality while failovers and redundancies are available for almost all systems. But you also need to protect your files and an Antivirus software is perfect for this. Thecus partnered with McAfee and includes their award-winning software for free.

Acronis True Image is also included for free and it is one of the easiest ways to manage your backups, I use it quite often on both a personal level and for my reviews setups. It is one of the easiest pieces of backup software available with a long set of functions and One-click protection setups.

Keeping an eye on the NAS while you’re on the go isn’t a problem either thanks to iOS and Android connectivity. With T-OnTheGo and the T-Dashboard, you can manage your NAS, and upload to and download/stream from your NAS using an iOS or Android device on the go.

Feature Highlights

  • Intel Core i3-2120 (3.3.GHz Dual Core) processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 ECC Memory (Expandable to 32 GB)
  • 10GbE card included
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • Hot-swappable hard drives
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD

Packaging and Accessories

The front and the back of the box look the same, and it looks stunning. There is no doubt looking at the package that we’re dealing with a premium NAS. The feature highlights as well as the NAS itself are shown clearly and easy to spot.

The side of the box goes more into detail on the specifications and package content. This is also where it will be marked what market it is intended for, which really only comes down to what power cable is included.

The other side shows the feature highlights and how it can be useful in pretty much any scenario. As the box says, A NAS for every need.

Inside the box we find a power cable for our region, a single RJ45 ethernet cable, four keys for the drive trays, screws for seven 3.5-inch drives and screws for seven 2.5-inch drives as well as a utilities disk, warranty card, and quick installation guide.

Supermicro X10DAX (Intel C612) Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today I’m taking a look at a motherboard for those that need that extra bit of power behind the curtains for heavy workstation or server tasks. The Supermicro X10DAX is aimed at workstations, but it would work well as a basis for a server as well with the features at hand. In the end, as always, it comes down to what tasks the system has to perform.

Supermicro’s X10DAX is a dual CPU motherboard with plenty of memory and multi-GPU support. The motherboard supports up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz LRDIMM memory over its 16 DIMM memory banks as well as Triple-SLI setup or Quadro-SLI with dual-GPU graphics cards. Those who will use RDIMMs instead of LRDIMMs will be limited to 512GB maximum memory capacity.

The motherboard supports up to two processors from the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 family thanks to the Dual Socket R3 (LGA 2011). That means up to 18 cores and 45MB cache per processor which in return equals a lot of power. The chipset is the Intel C612 which by itself provides a lof of features and enhancements over the predecessor.

One of the unique features on this motherboard versus its brothers is the overclocking features thanks to the BCLK settings in the BIOS and Supermicro has dubbed this Hyper-Speed on their motherboards. This will allow you to get that extra power from your system when it is needed and if it is needed. A great bonus that surely will be appreciated by many of the people purchasing this motherboard. Next to the Hyper-Speed technology, the Supermicro X10DAX also includes Hyper-Turbo mode which allows more power to be delivered to the CPUs and thereby maximize the CPU Turbo Mode frequency.

Supermicro also made sure that the motherboard is Thunderbolt 2 ready, but that’s an optional add-on you’ll have to get. Since this is a workstation board, it also comes with an onboard sound card. It could, for example, get a pretty hard job to edit videos without sound. The Supermicro X10DAX provides onboard 7.1 channel HD audio for just that reason.

Storage connection isn’t a problem either and we don’t have to pay for an extra SAS controller here that we probably don’t need in a workstation. Ten SATA3 ports, of which two supports SuperDOMs, should be plenty for your storage needs. If you need more than that, you’ll most likely have a server located somewhere anyway and thus eliminating the need again. You also get a Type-A USB 2.0 connector on the motherboard, placed right next to the SATA connectors. Since the SATA3 ports are controlled by Intel’s C612 chipset, we have RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 at our disposal on this board.

Dual Gigabit LAN is included thanks to a couple of Intel i210 network controllers, but we don’t find any dedicated IPMI on this motherboard. The PCI Express connectors available are three PCI-E 3.0 x16, two PCI-E 3.0 x8, and one PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8).

With such an amount of power at our disposal, we also need proper cooling. The Supermicro X10DAX has eight 4-pin fan headers that support tachometer monitors, status monitoring, and PWM fans. There are no dedicated CPU fan headers, so you can use any two of the eight for that.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Supports Hyper-Speed
  • Supports 3-way Geforce SLI
  • Supports 4-way SLI support with dual GPU graphics cards
  • Dual socket R3 (LGA 2011) supports Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 family; QPI up to 9.6GT/s
  • Intel C612 chipset
  • 16x DIMM slots for up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz memory
  • 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16, 2 PCI-E 3.0 x8, and 1 PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8) slot
  • Intel i210 Dual port GbE LAN
  • 10x SATA3 (6Gbps) ports (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
  • 6x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 2 via header), 5x USB 2.0 (2 rear, 2 via header, 1 Type A)
  • 7.1 HD Audio with optical S/PDIF

Packaging and Accessories

The box for the Supermicro X10DAX is a default layout for the entire line-up and as such presents key features from all boards. While we can spot such things as 40GbE here, we won’t find it on this board.

The rear of the box details the different boards from Supermicro in this category for easy comparison.

Inside the box, next to the motherboard itself, we find six SATA3 cables and an IO shield with proper padding and yet unopened ports. Remember to only pop the ones that the motherboard actually has.

Included is also a Quick Start Guide that will show you the headers and jumper positions, how to install your memory depending on the amount of modules you are using, as well as front header layout and other vital information for installation.

GIGABYTE Releases Its First ARM Based Server Solutions

GIGABYTE released their first server products based on the ARM architectures on the opening day of WHD.global last week in Germany. The new solutions are developed in partnership with AppliedMicro and Annapurna Labs, two innovative members of the booming ARM for server ecosystem, and offer excellent performance-per-watt capabilities.

The new motherboard and servers are built around the AppliedMicro X-Gene’s ARMv8-A architecture and have the capabilities for up 128GB memory with the 8 DIMM slots. The network connectivity has plenty of coverage for even the most demanding operations with two 10Gbit SFP+ LAN ports and two normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports. There are four SATA3 ports, one USB 2.0 header, and an Aspeed AST2400 remote management controller.

Fully compliant with ARM Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) and Server Base Root Requirements (SBBR) standards, the new MP30-AR0 server board represents an optimized application solution for cloud and scale-out computing, supported by a robust network of over 1,000 open source software developers. AppliedMicro’s X-Gene processor, which became commercially available in 2014, is the industry’s first enterprise-hardened, ARM 64-bit Server on a Chip solution. Designed for cloud, enterprise server, and HPC applications, X-Gene’s distinguishing features include multiple high-performance processors running at up to 2.4GHz along with robust, high-speed memory and I/O.

Gigabyte also released the R120-P30 single socket 1U rackmount server with the above-mentioned motherboard. It’s built with 4 hot-swap bays to fit the onboard connectors and comes with a 350W 80 Plus Bronze certified PSU.

Now you might think that a server like that needs way more storage at its disposal, and so did GIGABYTE. The D120-S3G system is designed as an add-on storage expansion of existing server infrastructures and can support up to 100TB of raw capacity within a single 1U rackmount enclosure. It connects to the network over a dual 10GbE SFP+ interface and facilitates SATA3 ports for sufficient bandwidth and transfer rates.

It is powered by an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL5140 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor, based on the ARMv7 architecture and the Cortex-A15 core, and has an impressive low 10W power consumption. It is equipped with hardware RAID and Erasure Code engine supporting RAID 5 and 6 levels protection. It comes with a 400W 80 Plus Gold certified PSU, one ECC DIMM slot, and 16 HDD slots.

Thanks to GIGABYTE for providing us with this information