the smallest of the fastest / Storage

the smallest of the fastest / Storage


Server technologies for the home and small office are much more conservative compared to other IT areas. Not all users place high demands on the capabilities of their equipment and, in particular, on its performance indicators. However, many client devices are already ready to work with data rates of 2.5 Gbps and more. Such ports are mainly found in older models, which are designed to work in large offices and whose cost is prohibitive for the vast majority of private users. But there are also pleasant exceptions, such as the four-disc model ASUSTOR AS4004T, which we studied almost two years ago. In addition to two gigabit interfaces, this home network drive also has one ten-gigabit Ethernter channel.

In general, the Taiwanese company ASUStek Computer unlike competitors quite generous with a rich set of new products. The new ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 (AS6508T) only confirms this claim with its mesmerizing specification. This eight-disk NAS is primarily intended for office work, but it can be successfully used at home, especially since its cost is significantly lower than that of all well-known competitors.

⇡ #Contents of delivery

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 Package Contents

The device comes in a white cardboard box. The box is no larger than most four-disc models. Inside, besides the drive itself, the following accessories were found:

  • power cable;
  • two Ethernet cables for connecting NAS via 2.5 Gigabit interfaces (category 5);
  • two Ethernet cables for connecting NAS via 10 Gigabit interfaces (category 6);
  • four sets of screws for attaching drives of different form factors in sleds;
  • two screws for mounting M.2 drives;
  • multilingual quick start guide.

There is no CD included with the device. All necessary software is downloaded automatically from the manufacturer’s website. We especially note the presence in the delivery set of four Ethernet cables of two categories at once, which will be enough for any type of device connection.

⇡ #Specifications

Characteristic / Model ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 (AS6508T)
HDD 8 × 3.5 “/ 2.5” SATA3 6Gb / s HDD or SSD
File system internal hard drives: EXT4, Btrfs
external media: FAT32, NTFS, EXT3, EXT4, HFS +, exFAT, Btrfs
RAID level Single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
CPU Intel ATOM C3538 2.1 GHz
Operational memory 8GB DDR4 (expandable to 32GB)
Network interfaces 2 × 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
2 × 10-Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Additional interfaces 2 × USB 3.2
Protocols CIFS / SMB, SMB 2.0 / 3.0, AFP, NFS, FTP, TFTP, WebDAV, Rsync, SSH, SFTP, iSCSI / IP-SAN, HTTP, HTTPS, Proxy, SNMP, Syslog
Clients Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012
Mac OS X 10.6 and later
UNIX, Linux
iOS, Android
Cooling system two fans 120 × 120 mm
Power consumption, W work: 66.9
sleep mode: 37.2
Dimensions, mm 216 × 293 × 230
Weight, kg 6.2 (without HDD)
Warranty, month 36
Estimated price *, rub. 82,900

* Average price for “Yandex.Market” at the time of writing.

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 motherboard and processor heatsink

The NAS is based on a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom C3538 processor. The processor runs at a clock speed of 2.1 GHz and has 8 MB of cache memory. The calculated thermal power of the processor is 15 W, which is not so small. Therefore, the processor is covered with a massive aluminum heatsink.

RAM module

The processor works with DDR4-2133 DRAM RAM. At the same time, the NAS motherboard has two slots for SO-DIMM modules, but only one of them is occupied in the standard configuration. In our instance, an 8 GB TLA DDR4-2666 module was installed on the SEC 946 K4A8G08 chips manufactured by Samsung Semiconductor Inc. The memory speed will be limited by the bus bandwidth. The memory capacity can be increased up to 32 GB by installing two 16 GB modules.

This NAS has four network ports – two 2.5 and 10 Gigabit. Both pairs of ports with aggregation function, which provide connection at speeds of 5 and 20 Gb / s, respectively. To realize these possibilities, the manufacturer did not have to work hard. All network interfaces are based on an integrated SoC solution. Nevertheless, the fact that the manufacturer did not cut the device’s capabilities for marketing reasons deserves respect. Also, two external portUSB 3.2 and all eight SATA3.

ASM2806 PCIe bridge (left), eMMC SEC flash module (center), iTE IT8625 I / O controller (right)

But the M.2 ports for installing SSD cache modules work using the ASM2806 PCIe bridge developed by ASMedia Technology Inc. The device is compatible with cards of standards 2280, 2260 and 2242. Also on the motherboard it is easy to see the eMMC SEC KLM8G1GETF-B041 flash memory module with a capacity of 4 GB. Well, to control the I / O functions, the often used iTE IT8625E microcircuit is installed.

In general, the set of system logic fully meets the declared technical characteristics of the device and pleasantly surprises with its potential capabilities. The user can leave everything as it is, if he does not yet need high performance, or he can create a very serious server based on ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8, adding a couple of SSD cache modules to it and increasing the amount of RAM by four times.

External view

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 appearance

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 appearance

Externally, the ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 model is very similar to some four-drive NAS from the same manufacturer. As mentioned above, the dimensions of this network drive are also more similar to relatively compact four-disk models, and therefore it will not be difficult for it to find a place both in the office and at home. It can be placed on a table or even on a shelf, especially since the traditional form factor in the form of a small system unit makes it easy to do this.

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 Side and Bottom Views

It is gratifying to see that the manufacturer did not change the reliable metal construction of the case for a cheaper plastic one. In this case, only the front panel and the handles of the disk slide are made of this material. Everything else is made of metal – high quality painted on the outside, neatly bent at the edges, without sharp corners, burrs and other things. The workmanship is just perfect.

Front panel

Front panel

The front panel of the device does not have a protective door or any other removable panel. In this case, direct access to the drive sled is implemented, but at the same time the NAS looks so that you want to put it in a prominent place. The front part is visually divided into three parts. The main place is occupied by disk sleds with massive black handles, miniature locks and LED indicators, informing about the status and activity of each disk. Above them is a ventilation panel, and even higher is a mirror insert, behind a translucent window of which a small two-line LCD screen is hidden. We have seen the same screen on some other ASUSTOR NAS. Together with a control unit consisting of four square buttons, it helps to configure the network parameters of the drive, as well as change its other settings, without accessing the web interface.

Well, on the left, on the decorative vertical ledge of the front panel, there are LED indicators that indicate the connection of the device to the electrical network, as well as inform about disk and network activity. There is also one of the USB 3.2 ports for connecting external drives.

Back panel

Back panel

All other connectors and interfaces are traditionally located on the rear panel of the case: four RJ-45 ports, separated by colors depending on the connection speed, a second USB 3.2 port, a factory reset button recessed into the body, a standard jack for connecting a power cable and a hole for Kensington security lock fasteners. The main space on the rear panel is occupied by the ventilation grilles of two large, 120mm fans. But besides them, there is also a third small grill with a fan of the built-in power supply.

Well, the cooling system of ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 itself is designed according to the traditional scheme. Air intake takes place both from the front panels of the case and sled, and from the side ones. The air passes through all the component parts of the device, after which it is pushed out by the rear wall fans.

⇡ #Mounting hard drives and internal structure

Hard Drive Carrier Design

We have already encountered the drive cages used in the design of NAS when studying other models of this manufacturer. They are very well designed in terms of ease of installation and cooling of drives. At the same time, the company’s engineers made sure that the sled and looked nice. A lot of attention is also paid to design here. Despite the fact that the discs are traditionally fastened with screws, the slide is very pleasant to use. The side plates are made of plastic to prevent possible vibration during operation, as well as for the most simple installation – without the nasty grinding of metal on metal.

Disk bay

Disk bay

In the disk compartment, the slide is fixed with simple locks that open when you turn the plastic handle on the front panel of the slide. Locks can be opened and closed with a regular screwdriver or even a coin – no keys to get lost.

Internal structure of the hull.

To get to the inside of the case, you need to unscrew only three screws that fix the metal U-shaped cover on the frame. It can be removed quite easily, without any effort. Now the device structure is opened to the user. The upper floor is occupied by a 250 W power supply. There is a lot of free space next to it, but it can be partially occupied by two M.2 modules, the board with connectors for which is located right there.

Layout of main boards and fan panel

The motherboard is placed vertically next to one of the walls. Boards with SATA interfaces and M.2 slots are attached to it using soldered connectors. All wiring is very neat. It is tightened with plastic ties, does not dangle and does not interfere with ventilation. In general, the build quality, thoughtful arrangement of elements and simply aesthetic component of the internal structure of ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 deserve the highest praise.

Note also the fact that the manufacturer has simplified the process of accessing the slots for installing RAM modules as much as possible. To do this, you need to remove the U-shaped cover and turn the NAS towards you with the side with which the motherboard is fixed. Outside, it is pasted over with a thin sheet of plastic to avoid accidental contact with the metal wall. There are slots on the plastic in two places. By peeling back the edge of the plastic sheet, the corresponding slots can be found. The whole process of installing or replacing modules will take no more than five minutes.

Job from device

First time ADM OS installation and NAS setup

To install and configure the NAS, you can use a special application to find the NAS on the network, or you can simply find out its IP address assigned by the router and enter the web interface. If you want to configure the device from a smartphone, then you need to download and install the AiMaster application on it, with which you can subsequently carry out any work with the network storage, which is also available through the web interface.

ADM 3.5 interface

During initial setup, the device will automatically download and install the latest version of ADM (ASUSTOR Data Master) OS, universal for all ASUSTOR NAS… The last time we got acquainted with ADM version 3.2, at the time of testing, ADM 3.5 was available for ASUSTOR AS6404T.

Working with Snapshots in Snapshot Center

The most important innovation, which appeared in the previous version of ADM 3.4, is that now network drives with this OS have the ability to work in the Btrfs file system, which has many advantages when working with file server disks compared to other traditional file systems. When working with Btrfs, it is possible to create snapshots – copies of data stored on disks that take up almost no space. If files are damaged, changed or even deleted, they can always be restored using one of the snapshots. You can configure the creation of a snapshot for each change of files in a particular folder and thus make backup copies of data that will not take up additional space, unlike a real copy of a file or folder.

Working with snapshots in the built-in file manager

Snapshots can be managed directly through the built-in file manager or through the dedicated Snapshot Center application. Here you can set a schedule for taking snapshots or create them manually at any time. Up to 256 pictures can be taken in total.

The original MyArchive function, which we got acquainted with while studying other ASUSTOR NAS models, also received updates. As a reminder, this feature allows you to use one or more disks on a device solely as separate storage or data stores. Subsequently, these disks can be simply removed from the NAS and used as a permanent archive in a PC or other external storage device. Starting with ADM version 3.4, MyArchive disks can be formatted not only in EXT4, NTFS or HFS + formats, but also in Btrfs, and the function of creating snapshots is now available for them.

Control Panel Widget

And also in ADM version 3.5 there is a new original control panel widget. By clicking on the button in the upper right corner of the main screen, the user gets quick access to all system settings at once. Now you don’t need to think about where this or that setting is located, but just open this widget, scroll down and find the desired icon with a signature.

EZ-Connect Function Settings

Otherwise, ADM remains the same – just as user-friendly and with features that can satisfy the needs of a system administrator, even in a large office. This OS has a customizable multi-window interface to work with any client device, including mobile. Using the EZ-Connect service, you can configure access to data from anywhere in the world where there is an Internet. All you need to do is register in the system and receive an ASUSTOR Cloud ID.

Data backup options

Data backup options

ADM has very extensive data backup capabilities. You can work with FTP servers, mobile devices, other NAS, pluggable external drives and remote Internet storages such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive and others. You can set a backup plan.

To ensure the protection of stored data, encryption functions are provided, as well as various security solutions. The latter include the Defender ADM firewall and the Network Defender function, which protects the server from malicious attacks. With Network Defender, you can block the IP address of any client with too many attempts to log into the NAS for a certain amount of time. Also, this function allows you to create black and white lists of IP addresses. In addition, ADM provides secure HTTPS connectivity.

Application Library

Well, with the help of the application library, you can literally expand the capabilities of your ASUSTOR NAS to infinity. The library contains a whole host of different media players, office programs, backup utilities, data protection programs, databases, server applications and much more.

⇡ #Testing

Testing conducted with eight 2.5-inch Samsung SM863a MZ7KM480HMHQ SSDs. The performance test bench had the following configuration:

  • Intel Core i5-2500 3.3 GHz processor;
  • motherboard ASUS P8H67 rev. 3.0 (PCIe 2.0 x16);
  • RAM 16 GB DDR3-1333;
  • video adapter ASUS GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB;
  • 2 × SSD-drives Intel SSD 520 with a capacity of 240 GB each in RAID 0 mode;
  • ten-gigabit network adapter Intel X540-T1;
  • Windows 10 Pro.

During testing, the disks of the device were assembled into RAID arrays of levels 5, 6, and 10. The Btrfs system was used as the file system at all stages of testing. A publicly accessible folder was created on the disk, which was connected to the test bench OS as a network drive. The performance score was obtained using a specialized test. The test results are presented below.

Performance ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 with RAID 5 (left), RAID 6 (center), RAID 10 (right)

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 performance with RAID 5 disk array and encrypted folder

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 Performance with RAID 5 Disk and Encrypted Folder

CPU and other NAS subsystem load during testing

CPU and other NAS subsystem load during testing

As you can see from the results obtained, the type of the RAID array has practically no effect on the data transfer rate. Moreover, the connection of encryption of the folder, as well as parallel work (watching movies) from another computer connected to the NAS, had no effect.

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 Performance with RAID 5 Disk Array (16GB File Size)

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 Performance with RAID 5 Disk Array (16GB File Size)

Также мы проверили, как сказывается на производительности работа с файлом, размер которого превышает объём ОЗУ NAS. На приведённом выше скриншоте видно, что влияние отсутствует. Но на производительность может существенно повлиять установка модулей M.2 SSD, объединяемых в RAID-массив с основными дисками сетевого накопителя. Все часто используемые данные будут автоматически сохраняться на этих дисках. Также на твердотельных накопителях M.2 можно создать том iSCSI, чтобы, например, играть в игры с ноутбука. С расширяемой до 32 Гбайт оперативной памятью и возможностью установки SSD-кеша производительность ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 вполне может быть увеличена. Сам производитель заявляет, что при тестировании ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 в его тестовой лаборатории были достигнуты следующие показатели: 2348 Мбайт/с на чтение и 1040 Мбайт/с на запись. Правда, условия тестирования не раскрываются. Скорее всего, при этом использовались накопители M.2 для кеширования, был увеличен объём ОЗУ по сравнению со штатным значением, а сам NAS был подключён по двум 10-гигабитным каналам в режиме агрегации портов.

Остаётся добавить, что ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 оказался очень тихим устройством. И это несмотря на то, что он имеет три вентилятора! Даже в режиме повышенной производительности вентиляторы не шумят и, судя по всему, вращаются не на максимальной скорости. Это результат прекрасно продуманной системы охлаждения, о которой сам производитель специально упоминает на официальной странице с описанием устройства.

⇡ #Выводы

Сетевой накопитель ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 (AS6508T) вместе с обновлённой версией ОС ADM представляет собой новое поколение сетевых накопителей этого производителя, имеющих куда больший потенциал и круг возможностей применения, нежели модели ASUSTOR NAS прошлых лет.

К достоинствам ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 8 нужно отнести:

  • очень высокое качество изготовления и продуманную конструкцию;
  • наличие двух пар сетевых портов 5 и 10 Гбит/с;
  • возможность установки двух SSD-модулей M.2 для кеширования;
  • возможность расширения ОЗУ до 32 Гбайт и достаточно большой объём предустановленного модуля (8 Гбайт);
  • очень высокий уровень производительности с потенциалом увеличения;
  • низкие показатели шума и нагрева;
  • очень широкие возможности управляющего программного комплекса ADM, включая полноценную работу с файловой системой Btrfs и моментальными снимками.

Отметим, что конструкция этого NAS с металлическим корпусом куда интереснее, чем у конкурентов, а стоимость при равных возможностях ниже чуть ли не в несколько раз! При этом с ОС ADM стало очень комфортно работать, да и недостатка в функциях и приложениях больше нет.

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