Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
It is getting a little funky with Asustor as every review that we pump out it extremely positive. That is for good reason though, I consider them to be a tier 1 manufacturer on every foreseeable level. They offer NAS units in every budget, for enterprise all the way down to the 200 USD/EURO level. And all these NAS units do perform well. Next to that security is a key factor, your software needs to be up-to-date as all these NAS servers are in some way or form connected to the web. Here as well I see regular firmware updates from Asustor (I have been running a unit for my office and another one for personal usage as media-file server ). The AS6208T however for me was the next-level NAS unit, it is still a NAS that could end up beautifully in any consumer household as a home-server. Face it, with eight HDD trays you get the very luxurious option of redundancy. I mean if a HDD starts to fail you can easily insert a new one and transfer your data.
The AS6208T at a price of 899 USD/EURO screams performance, features and even within this category even value. Choose the 10-bay version (and you can fill them up-to 80 TB) but you'll need to settle at 999 USD/EUR. I do need to make a small note here as street prices are different, I spotted the AS6208T for 810 EURO here already in the Benelux (incl VAT). Combined with a quad-core processor that offers plenty power and 4 GB of memory with the option to upgrade to 8 GB this NAS is very comfortable for you centralized storage needs. The AS6208T is incredibly silent and relatively energy friendly as well. Combined with the extensive ADM software suite that now sits at revision 2.6.x this NAS simply ticks all the right boxes as we haven't even talked about the amazing software suite that is available to you.
With eight or alternatively ten hot-swappable and removable trays the AS6208T is incredibly configurable and flexible in terms of HDDs capability. Go full RAID with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 or JBOD functionality and with that many trays, surely you will be adding a hot-spare well. See if one drive fails your hot-spare will kick in and the RAID array will restore itself. That's the beauty of that. Performance wise with current gen HDDs you will not need RAID as you simply cannot pass the 125 MB/sec marker Gigabit over Ethernet) anyway. The difference in-beteen an SSD and the RAID5 array was negligible. Only once we activated link aggregation (pairing) your performance will go up. But for the regular consumer link aggregation is simply not viable. For SOHO environments it however is recommended, but even then you'll by tied to expensive solutions as capable compatible switches let alone getting your PC compatible. I do hope that 10 GigE will go mainstream soon as even HDDs these days are much faster and are bottleneck by Gigabit connections. But hey, with this unit on one Gigabit jack you'll still hover close to 120 MB/sec on read and write performance, not bad Sir... not bad at all.
BTW one suggestion, if you opt an Asustor NAS unit please check the HDD compatibility list and purchase your HDDs based upon their tested and recommended HDDs. I used Seagate Archive 8 TB HDDs, and these after the latest ADM updates they seem incompatible. So yes, please make sure you select your HDDs wisely.
I've already spilled the beans here a bit, but we reached high transfer speeds over a Gigabit Ethernet connection and though Ethernet will always bring in some performance and lag issues over a network connection I must admit that I liked what I saw, it's plenty fast for all your activities. With large files and a fast enough HDD over a Gigabit connection you will reach 110~118 MB/sec on read and writes. So for this type of Ethernet connection, really it can hardly go any faster. In a SOHO environment with 4-way link aggregations and proper equipment you can multiply that number by roughly three, but I do admit it is a feature mostly used in business solutions. The performance is lovely when you take the processor into account, the quad-core low power Celeron combined with 4 GB memory. The AS6208T simply did not run into any performance issues and is has plenty stamina thanks to very clever memory management. Then only thing that was slow was the array synchronization buildup with the RAID5 array, but considering that happens in the background I'm fine with that. The GUI and ADM OS we feel is responsive and very fast. The usage of this processor also makes your applications fast enough, anything Apache and MySQL/MariaDB related for home usage will function fine as well as it serves all your download needs. We reached 30 MB/sec downloads on torrents and NZB files, that last one even over a proper SSL connection.
Here we land at the rest of the features and functions. You'll have your FTP server, you can upload images and music, make slide-shows out of it and show it on the web server of the device or watch photos and videos with the help of a software suite on your smartphone. You can stream DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and this NAS can be automatically discovered by Digital Media Players (DMP), Digital Media Renders (DMR) and Digital Media Controllers (DMC) allowing Pictures, Music and Video to be shared instantly at any time at home. All DLNA Certified Devices are capable of streaming content instantly from this NAS. The NAS can act as an iTunes server, with your mobile or say Apple iPod Touch you can stream music over Wifi. You can share files over the internet if you wanted to, and the list goes on and on. Keep in mind though that everything on this box is targeted at consumers and small business users (SOHO). Though you can access the WEB directory and make your own website, control and configuration over say the MySQL server we do warn you to take security measures. Make sure you secure your public files with proper Unix/Linux permissions. Thus at least a CHMOD 755 on Directories and preferable 644 on files. You can login to the box through SSH. The application list you can use on this machine is ginormous. Who even thinks of making a torrent download server inside the NAS box? You insert a .torrent file in the software option and all of the sudden the NAS is downloading content from the internet. It's nearly crazy to witness, how nice is that.
If you are not bothered by a little power consumption then you can go RAID with redundancy as well, like RAID 5 or 10. In our case we tested RAID 5 with a hot-spare and an SSD for fast IOPS operation. Adding more HDDs obviously will increase power usage, so you do need to factor that in. In a single SSD/HDD setup the NAS in it's entirety consumes roughly 25~30 Watts, which is great. Once we setup one SSD for fast application performance and then another 4 HDDs (RAID5+hotspare) we idle at the 45 Watt range, and when the HDDs go to sleep we end up at that 25~30 Watts range again. I am very comfortable with that. If your HDDs are not used for say 30 minutes (or your own configured sleep time), it'll go into sleep mode and thus does not use any extravagant power. The unit also offer hibernation mode, the unit will go to sleep and consume less then a watt when sleeping, waking it up again however involves pressing a button or use a smartphone app an activate it by WOL. ASUSTOR offers very energy efficient NAS units, which is an important thing considering they run 365 days a year 24 hours a day.
Final Words & Verdict
It truly is hard to not be impressed by an Asustor NAS unit. We do have to admit that the unit as tested today might be a little much for the average user. Surely this is best suited more for a SOHO environment, but when you think about it, right now each household might have 3 or 4 PCs all with their own storage units. Smart TVs and media boxes stream series and movies, and so on... doesn't it make sense to have a centralized server in your house-hold? And if you purchase one, why not add redundancy? NAS units like these will easily last you 5 to 10 years, so in the grand scop of pricing it might just be a very relevant purchase. Any negatives you might wonder? Well not really, just two wishes. For a NAS unit of this caliber I would have liked to see some sot of power failure UPS functionality. And yeah, an optional 10 Gbit Ethernet jack would have been nice as in the upcoming years we all will make that move. Let's just call it wishful thinking then. Other then that the unit is future proof, even with the nice upgradable memory configuration. Obviously the AS6208T also comes with a HDMI 1.4b output that you can use. Install Kodi (available app) and your can playback Full HD content, even HD audio streams. As lovely as that features is, we however doubt people actually use a unit fo this size next to your modern age TV. Also most TVs have excellent Smart TV functionality and thus you access your data from your NAS that way. But it's certainly a nice feature to have and yes, it did work well with KODI. Pricing wise the 8-bay AS6208T unit as tested at 899 USD feels on the high side, but actually it is pretty spot on for a product in this class. As stated you'll find it cheaper easily when you look around a little. Combined with the ADM 2.6.x software suite and applications this relatively low power unit will be a terrific choice for a truly proper home server. File-sharing, Usenet, file-server, streaming you name it this AS6208T offers it all The Asustor NAS is not just a file-server anymore, it really is a fully fledged centralized file serving server with a plethora of applications and functionality ranging from your UPnP needs towards fast file serving and then the dozens of apps you can use for Usenet, torrents, Joomla, and on and on. In closing I do have to admit that it truly is hard to not be impressed by an Asustor NAS unit these days, they all make sense relative to budget and requirements. This one is top of the line with excellent performance and upgradability. We can recommended highly. The NAS is covered with a three year warranty and absolutely deserves our storage sweetness award.
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