Some performance benchmarks of QNAP TS 109

I bought a QNAP TS-109 with the intention of using it as a linux server (DNS, DHCP, www, vpn, ssh, file, mysql). The QNAP comes with its own (very nice) linux based firmware, but my plan was to run Debian on it. However, performance seemed not so good (found something on Google about missing DMA Engine in the kernel), so I decided to do some benchmarks before picking Debian or qnap firmware.

The harddrive is a Samsung 2TB drive (so those one works). All tests are made with a 500 Mb mpeg-file (high entropy). The server is a Mac OS X machine.

The commands used are:

#nc
  qnap$ nc -l -p 9999 > nc-500Mb.img
  mac$ time nc 192.168.0.21 9999 < 500Mb.img

#scp
  qnap$ time scp o@192.168.0.20:500Mb.img scp-500Mb.img

#md5sum
  qnap$ time md5sum nc-500Mb.img

#cp
  qnap$ time cp scp-500Mb.img cp-500Mb.img

Results follow:

                   nc       scp      md5sum   cp   
Debian 6.0 btrfs   87s      273s     40s      71s
           ext3    73s      284s     22s      39s
           ext2    59s      273s     22s      27s
Debian 5.0 ext3    81s      259s     23s      40s
           ext2    62s      246s     23s      26s
Qnap FW            N/A      394s     N/A      27s

The commands nc and md5sum was not available in the qnap firmware.

Bricking, and recovery
I made a mistake when making backup of the original qnap firmware. So, when intending to restore the qnap firmware over Debian, I ended up making the qnap unbootable.

Another mistake was to not follow good advice; they tell you very clearly to "install recovery mode" before trying Debian.

I got a USB to 3.3V TTL serial cable and tried to revive it. It worked using these instructions 🙂 I ended up doing some soldering inside the qnap.

My advice: when you backup /dev/mtdblocks, make a simple cmp to verify that the file you created matches the block you intended to backup. Much quicker than realising later that recovering old OS actually bricks you machine.

Conclusion
As I see it, there are no performance reasons to use the Qnap firmware with the Qnap. Debain seems to be equally fast. Still, both are surprisingly slow - do I have a hard drive incompability issue?

After deploying Debian, I can say that real world performance for rsync (mostly large files) is just over 5 Mb/s.

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