I'd been looking at the Intel NASPT Benchmarking utility and the notes that said that SAMBA needed some updates for optimizing for file transfers. I have been thinking about updating the 5500's SAMBA myself because Intel showed the simple source code modifications (only a very few lines) and it looked like a fun project. Then I discovered today 10/24, that Thecus has published this new firmware. And the release notes mention some intriguing things:
"5) Improved the performance for large block and also small packet transfer."
Hmmmm... that got my interest! Then a note elsewhere: "5) Fixed the issue that Intel NAS Performance Toolkits installed in Windows 7 could not benchmark Thecus NAS."
So clearly, Thecus is aware of the benchmarking toolkit. Could it be that they upgraded their SAMBA already after having read the Intel documentation?
So I upgraded to this Firmware. (It took two tries, very scary, but I guess I have to keep my faith in the Dual DOM structure of the 5500 to protect users from these kinds of bugs. I wish Thecus would employ a better native English speaker for the manual, because it leaves all kinds of questions, like whether it checks the checksum or just displays it on the screen.
Not to make this post too long, I'll leave you all in suspense and check my benchmark comparisons before and after this firmware upgrade and reply to this post shortly. Previous firmware was 3.00.something. I apologize for not having taken note of it, it was what came with my Thecus 5500 when I bought it a year or two ago.
This firmware provides a MAJOR performance improvement. Let me repeat: a M * A * J * O * R performance improvement. Attached is a screenshot of the raw figures, but the graphs reveal significant improvement in consistency of throughput, in many cases over the period of time of the test at least 10 MB/s or more improvement. I'll bet that we will notice a snappier NAS as we begin to use this new firmware.
It would be nice if Thecus makes these SAMBA changes to all their firmwares. I'd like to see it applied for our Thecus 5200, for example. (I assume it was in SAMBA, I assume they made the Intel-recommended changes. If not, what did they do? This improvement is mind-boggling).
I fear to note that it appears that this firmware has screwed up AFP. All AFP clients are seeing a mixture of locked folders that they can't get into and some folders that they can. Have not investigated whether this is an easy fix or not. Fortunately I think we can live without AFP without too much of a hassle.
NFS setup is a bit screwed up in this firmware. The "Apply" button is missing when setting up an NFS share folder, but it will show up if you drag the bottom edge of the dialogue box downward. But more importantly, after you set up the folder, the share does not show up in the EDIT box, cannot be removed. I cannot even verify if NFS is working as I cannot figure out how to mount it from our Snow Leopard machines. We only were investigating NFS after AFP went down, so we don't really need it here, either.
If you don't need AFP or NFS I highly recommend this FW for its improved speed performance. Not that there was anything wrong with the Thecus before, but this puts the N5500 in an even higher category.
I use the Thecus N5200Pro as a Media server for our audio/video mastering business. It serves audio files, documents, and ISCSI to Pro Tools.
I installed the upgrade this morning. Would that I hadn't.
Yes, there's a big issue with AFP. All folders are locked or appear as UNIX executable files. Though I can connect to the NAS as usual, I lost all writing permissions to access the folders and it seems I can't change that.
Working in a pure Mac network, AFP is the first choice. I had to switch to SMB, but this can only be temporary solution.
I hope Thecus will be quick with a fix for this major AFP bug.