Thecus makes small NASes smaller and big NASes bigger

Computex 2014: 4-bay NAS boxes shrink, high end daisy chains to 4.8PB

Thecus logoThecus has some goodies at Computex that range from small to 4.8PB in size, enough range for most uses. As you would expect their mainstream models were revamped, new features added, and everything was a little better.

The most important devices are the two and four bay NASes from Thecus, those are the mainstream volume parts. These two are all new and quite different from their predecessors on the outside and inside. On the outside the new 4310 and 2310 are much smaller and more rounded, made possible by a similarly smaller main board on the inside. Take a look at the new face of Thecus.

Thecus 4310 and 2310 NAS box prototypes

4310 and 2310 prototypes with non-final drive cages

Other than the old style drive cages this is the new look and better yet the new size. Much of this is made possible by the similarly downsized board with an Applied Micro SoC in the center. No I wasn’t expecting Power SoCs to pop up in NASes either but here they are. The chip in the 2310 runs at 800MHz and sports 512MB of memory, the 4310 runs at 1GHz and has 1GB of DDR3 backing it. With four bays and more horsepower the 4310 can also support RAID-6, hardware iSCSI offload, and a few more minor features.

Thecus 4310 NAS main board

Applied Micro SoCs make for a sparse board

There is a new version of the Thecus OS running on it too, plus a new version of their mobile app called T-on-the-Go. This adds dynamic DNS control, link sharing ala Dropbox via SMS or email, LAN scanning for NASes, and a few other features. It isn’t groundbreaking but everything added is a useful feature for most owners.

On the larger boxes there was one addition to the 7710 seven bay NAS, a new NIC. Thecus uses Intel NICs and now they are using 10GbE NICs for the larger standalone towers too. We did ask if there were any plans for a Fortville 40GbE card but sadly that isn’t on the cards for the near future. Maybe when Intel releases it the story will change, here’s to hoping.

One interesting addition to the W1600 rack mounted NAS server is four more DAS boxes with 16 drives each. Yes you can now chain four D1600 DAS boxes off of a W1600 head unit via SAS for a total of 80 drives in a single management unit. With 6TB drives you can now push things to 4.8PB in a single logical partition, more than enough for most.

Thecus  W1600 NAS box with 4 D1600 DAS daisy chained

Enter the 4.8PB conference room accessory

As you can see from the conference room taken over by this test of their Computex demo, it does work. The only problem we can see with the W1600 plus 4x D1600 setup is that it runs Windows storage server, something most sane people wouldn’t trust a grocery list to much less 4.8PB of data. More money for less security and uptime is hardly a good trade, we sorely wish Thecus stuck to Linux here like the rest of their devices.

In the end most of what Thecus is showing off is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The new software versions add some solid features that most customers will end up using but again don’t change the game. On the high-end chaining DAS boxes is the hot trend and Thecus is right there with the rest. The only standout is the 4310, it radically drops the size of a 4-bay NAS without sacrificing features or performance. All in all, Thecus just delivered a solid set up updates even if they didn’t change the market.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate