D-Link DNS-323 NAS Enclosure
Results & Conclusion
Following my benchmarks, it's safe to conclude that the device's Samba implementation is much speedier than the aging FTP protocol. Write speeds were slower than read speeds, which I somewhat expected. Writing to a drive it always slower than reading from the drive. Using HDTach or hdparm tells us that the individual drives are capable of read and write speeds exceeding 40MB/sec. Even with a gigabit connection to the device, we are seeing speeds around 30% of this.
One solution may be the device's processor. Linux' implementation of Samba is often benchmarked at speeds beating those of Windows, but it can be limited by processing power. The DNS-323 is running on a 500MHz ARM Processor, which is a likely cause of these speeds. A possible fix to this would be to use a Via C3 or C7 CPU, which also require very little power to operate, but would offer better performance. Another solution is that neither the drive, switch, or host computer are using the full bandwidth offered by gigabit. This means using jumbo frames and more. Sufficient to say, gigabit networking is something we will want to explore further in the future.
Despite running Linux, the device does not run an SSH or Telnet server on it. After some research, we found that there are hacks out there that will enable these services, but they go beyond the scope of this review (and is an exercise remanded to the reader).
Overall, I found the DNS-323 Network Attached Storage enclosure to be a very flexible device. Being able to run two drives in a RAID1 formation provides an excellent back-up solution whether the device is used from home or the office. Although we found the transfer speeds to be somewhat mediocre, the device definitely pulls its own weight with a full range of services offered such as iTunes and uPnP servers.
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Runs iTunes, uPnP, and print servers
- Several options for drive configuration
- Easy-to-use web interface and Windows utility
- No SSH or Telnet access
- Transfer speeds are a little slow
- Network File System (NFS) not supported. Would be a giant gain for Linux users.
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