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Performance

IOzone was used to test the performance of the CABE (the full testing setup and methodology are described on this page). The test unit had the latest 3.5.74 firmware. It was tested with 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps with 4k jumbo LAN connections.

Like the Central Axis, the CABE's NAS Chart rankings depend on the comparison group. Compared against all NASes, it ranks rather low. But if you compare it to dual-drive RAID 1 products, it moves up to the middle of the pack with RAID 1 writes using a 1000 Mbps LAN connection averaging 11.7 MB/s over 32 MB to 1 GB file sizes and 14.1 MB/s RAID 1 reads.

Figure 10 shows all the NAS Chart benchmark results, with some write tests plotted. Note that read performance is slightly faster than write and RAID 1 causes a slight performance hit. Jumbo frames also provide a bit of a performance boost.

Write benchmark comparison

Figure 10: Write benchmark comparison

To see how the CABE ranked against competitive products, I chose three other diskful dual-drive products, the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Duo, Iomega ix2 and HP MediaVault Pro. The HP and Iomega both use the same Marvell 88E5182 "Orion" processor, while the NETGEAR uses Infrant's IT3107 storage processor. The ReadyNAS Duo has the most memory at 256 MB, while the HP and Iomega have 128 MB.

Figure 11 shows the RAID 1 write performance of the HP, Iomega and CABE to be virtually identical.

Competitive comparison - RAID 1 Write - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 11: Competitive comparison - RAID 1 Write - 1000 Mbps LAN

RAID 1 read results (Figure 12) are a bit more dispersed and you can see a big drop in read speed on the NETGEAR once file size is equal to and greater then its 256 MB of RAM.

Competitive comparison - RAID 1 Read - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 12: Competitive comparison - RAID 1 Read - 1000 Mbps LAN

In the end, the CABE's performance looks pretty similar to other dual-drive products of similar hardware design.

Use the NAS Charts to run other comparisons.

Closing Thoughts

The only thing "business" about the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition is its name and the data protection afforded by the addition of RAID 1. It's really just a RAID 1 version of the Central Axis—a nice consumer NAS, but not particularly designed for "business" use.

But RAID is not a substitute for backup and I'd like to see Maxtor provide network and perhaps "cloud" backup options in addition to backup to an attached USB drive. Adding some of the missing business features that I touched on would probably help competitively, too. And finally, if this product is really targeted at businesses, it should not go offline when a drive fails and during rebuild. And the whole communication and logging process during failure and rebuild could be much improved.

On the plus side, pricing is in line with other multi-Terabyte diskful products (remember that the ReadyNAS Duo comes with only one drive when looking at prices) and the 5 year warranty will come in handy when one of the drives eventually fails. And the hassle-free (and free) remote file access feature will be particularly handy for travelers and even just the occasional retrieval of a file left back at work.

So if you can do without the missing features, are ok with mid-teen MB/s RAID 1 read/write speeds and can deal with a slightly scary RAID 1 fail and recovery process, then Maxtor's Central Axis Business Edition might be the NAS for you.

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