I had a Nassan rackstation wagon once, the wheels fell off!
Today Synology launches the RackStation RS3614xs+, the latest addition to their XS+ line of devices aimed at SMEs. What sticks out to me is the shift in marketing tone, pitching the RS3614xs+ as "a midpoint between NAS and SAN". Synology pitches the XS+ line as "a storage solution that can grow with a business." The RS3614xs+ is …
I had a Nassan rackstation wagon once, the wheels fell off!
Great price and ideal for a test lab, but I would not stick this in a business critical production environment, but give it a couple of iterations and this might change.
This is the third-ish generation of their rackmount stuff. Nothing has really changed except the marketing and an incremental ratcheting of the IOPS. The previous generation claimed 400,000+ IOPS and has a rather good reputation.
For the record, I run a great many "production workloads" on Synology devices, and have for years. Never had a single problem.
Trevor, Synology is not exactly synonymous with enterprise and business critical storage. Their support and response is very unknown.. to much risk for too little reward.
Their support - for me - has been excellent. Similarly, I have heard no complaints for those I personally know who've worked with their support.
I do know that new versions of the DSM often have issues right at release and that you still have to do your due diligence as a sysadmin before updating, but I have been running these things in production for literally years now. Not a single issue.
Now, I have no particular loyalty to Synology, so if you have horror stories, please to e-mail them in. I'd love to investigate, poke around and see what I can so. So far, however, I see a massive community of die-hard evangelists and a few people on the edges who complain. (As there would be with any company.)
If this perception is inaccurate, I'd love evidence. It would give me something to chase down Synology's PR people with and ask pointed questions. If they are going to aim for a more enterprise-class support, how are they going to deal with the kinds of support issues that people raise to me?
So please, send in your squaks!
We pay a lot for Oracle support and we know their support is useless at bug-fixes (though they can ship replacement hardware next day).
In fact we could practically replace our Oracle storage system every year with these box just on our support costs alone. Makes you think...
Trevor your misunderstanding , I'm sure Synology offer superb products and support, nor an I trying to infer their products are bad quality. My point is they are too much of an unknown quantity, for example
Will they have an engineer to my Server room within 4 hours?
When I phone them, I'm instantly put through to a 3rd line engineer?
Do have excellent resolution times?
If so that is amazing and their marketing team should be screaming at the top of their lungs about it..
K, I'm not misunderstanding at all. Synology are not currently making claims of enterprise-class support. Rumblings are that this is the direction they are moving towards. How will that new support effort look? Nobody knows.
The whole argument about 4-hour enterprise support is somewhat pointless. That's not currently something you're promised when you buy Synology. Instead, what you get it low cost systems where one entire unit can fail and the other just keeps going. That gives you leeway in getting the downed one repaired.
Personally, I prefer that model over so-called enterprise support, because none of my customers can withstand a 4-hour-long outage. Not even the smallest of SMBs. Thus the Synology model works incredibly well for my customers and thus why I have units are in production. 4-hour support just isn't good enough for me; nothing other than truly redundant hardware is.
That said, I understand that it's a staple of enterprise sysadmin thinking. So it will be critical for them to meet those requirements when they roll out their enterprise support offering.
We've bought two pairs of Synology devices over the years. Pairs because our data centre is split over two sites for load balancing and DR. We've had very mixed results with two recent high-end rackstations.
We tested, and built, the devices served the users as expected, and all was good.
For the testing and data load they shared a rack and replicated like good little bunnies, and I was happy.
Then we split them up, put them 200 miles apart on a 100mbs WAN - 8 (visible) hops - and it all went to rats.
Synology help has not managed to resolve, and three months on we're still manually copying files because the replication won't do a delta.
Don't get me wrong, the users are still happy, but I'm not.
There's a reason my BigNameRebadged filers cost 6 times as much...
"expect to spend about $10,000. Modern Synology systems are capable of High Availability; block-level replication between two units.
This means for $10,000-ish you can pick up a storage pair that can scale to 144TB per unit, can exceed 620,000 IOPS"
10k each, so starting point is 20K as I'm sure the top IOPs is not over the 4 GB links and probably with the expansion units too, you'll probably also need SSDs or disks to get over 0 IOPs, so add that into the the pott and your calculation looks a little short.
They'll do all the technological bits required to be kick ass at $5K a piece. Turning the knobs to $10K is for extras that most don't need or buy.
You can buy a recon MD3200 with 3 years same day onsite from the dell marketplace (thats what I did 6 months ago) for 6k stuffed with 8Tb worth of 15k drives (it was worth it for the same day onsite!). Pick your modules for iSCSI or SAS plus you can expand them and they are proper SANs.
10k here will only buy you the unit so it doesnt seem like a good deal to me. If you are talking about 144TB of SSD then surely the units are peanuts compared to the cost of the SSDs therefore there are much better SANs out there with proven records.
What's the power consumption of that!?
Good points all.
If those use the same crap LSI-made controllers as the MD3000, don't bother. I have an MD3000i hooked up to 4 ESX servers (Dell R610s), and the SAN degrades performance (I/O times spike into the 500-900ms) semi-hourly. Sometimes, the delays will be so long that the drives disconnect altogether, and I'm in the office at 2:30AM on a Sunday morning cleaning up the mess. Oh, and it says it supports jumbo frames up to 9000 bytes, but I have to leave my setup set at 4088 bytes because any increment higher than that, and the performance is horribly slow - 1/10th the IOPS, and even worse than 1/10th the transfer speeds. They've pulled VMWare certification from the MD3000 series starting with version 5.0. The Dell "support" guy was extremely happy when I mentioned I was using 5.1, told me "that's not supported", and hung up in the middle of my protests. It was happening when I was running 4.1 before I upgraded, so maybe I should have just lied and told him 4.1. Our older SAN (an AX4-5i) is still supported up through ESXi 5.1, despite being EoL. We inherited an IBM DS3300 (same garbage LSI controllers), and it does the same thing. IBM stuck it out till ESXi 5.0 before pulling VMWare certification, though. Stay far, FAR away from that junk.
We're running a fairly budget setup, netgear "dumb switch" for iSCSI, 748TS for core. Jumbo frames for iSCSI onto HA R610 cluster. We are using hyper-v though (vanilla 2012 not R2). SQL, exchange, DC and WSUS on VMs with a FOG, squid internet accelerator and openVPN pair of VMs too. So for less than 10k inc VAT we have a SAN and a HA pair of R610s capable of running decent amount of VMs. All with 3 year onsite. So if these new boxes are pitched at SMBs then I wouldn't bother. If they are pitched at DB monsters who want 144TB of SSDs then I'd talk to a specialist about tailoring a SAN.
I don't use the R610 LOM for anything other than DRAC. I put a quad intel card in straight away and run the iSCSI (pair on MPIO) and bonded LAN through that. I cant give you "off the top of my head" iops or throughput but I know I ATTO'd it for shit'n'giggles and got a smidge over 1GBs out of it - so MPIO works ( http://i44.tinypic.com/nqpwg2.jpg ). Never had a single issue in the 6 months ive had it running. I have no idea what controllers are in it. Drives are 600Gb 15k and ive set them up as a carved up raid 6 'cause i'm paranoid (having been burnt on a double drive failure on raid 10 rebuild once); hence the hit on the write performance as you can see.
Compared to our DA disk setup we had in our previous physical servers ive been able to switch OFF the air con in the cabinet since moving to a pair of R610s and they are much smoother (and easier to backup)
Still playing catchup to QNAP.
It's a shame that corporate relationships, freebies, and press releases determine news.
A) QNAP's rack widgetry doesn't go as fast.
B) This is something like the third generation of Synology's RackStations. IIRC, they beat QNAP to market for virtually every feature.
C) Price, price, price.
D) The last time I tried QTS it was a steaming pile of dung, especially compared to the DSM.
QNAP are welcome to feel free to submit hardware and/or software for testing (assuming they have a virtual appliance version of QTS) at any time they wish.
As for "what gets you published", well it certainly does help to have the various technology journalists on your press release list. It also helps to submit hardware for testing if you want it reviewed. Do you have any idea how many product launched per day occur?
The last time I cranked my own bent coppers into the QNAP slot machine what came out the other end was complete shite. What incentive would I have to ever go repeat the experience? Synology, on the other hand, has served me - and my company, and my clients - well for years. Their equipment has done yeoman's work and never given me the slightest hint of grief.
I have a wall of NASes from a variety of vendors. More of the things than I could use in a lifetime. If you think for a second that bunging a bit of kit my way is enough to make me a lifelong bosom buddy, you're entirely wrong.
Every man has his price, but mine is mid 7 figures. So far, I've not had adequate offers.
Hardware vendor? Software vendor? Service vendor? Crackpot with an RPi? Send 'em all my way. I'll take a boo and report back as honestly and objectively as I know how. That's what I get paid for.
QNAP at least talk to me (as do most of the other NAS vendors). I can't get any response from Synology, even though they're shipping our stuff embedded in their OS (see here:
for their source code - it's got Samba 3.6.x). Trevor, if you have any contacts at Synology that might want to talk to the people who create their SMB1/SMB2/SMB3 server, please send 'em my way. I don't bite, I'll even give them advanced notice of our security fixes (I do for all the other vendors :-) and help them fix any customer issues they might have. I have tried to find someone there to talk to, but got no joy :-(.
Jeremy, e-mail me and I'll get you formally introduced. :)
Just FYI Trevor, I got an email from a Synology UK support person today, so I think we might be off to the races.. Here's hoping :-).
Thanks (and if you want to email I'm email@example.com).
Cheers! I'd been making sure the Synology marketing geeks watched the thread so they woudl be able to take notes on any/all complaints and work to address them.
For all the grief that the neggers want to throw Synology's way, my experience with them is that they are genuinely interested in providing the best product possible at the lowest price point possible. There are not a lot of companies I could say that about.
They're dwarfed in size by a lot of the competition, so sparse resources are not always distributed in a way that makes everyone happy...or is even optimal. But they do seem to try to make things right. It wasn't always the case...but in the past year and a half I've really noticed an uptick in their corporate culture. Here's hoping you do too!
Answers to A, B C, and D are: How are we supposed to know? El reg Doesn't write much about Qnap.
If it's crap why not say so? You are allowed to give bad reviews! All we ask is that you be fair and be balanced, so just stop with the pretending it doesn't exist. There seems minimal coverage of qnap. All of your NAS stories comments sections are full of qnap comments. They are used a lot by your readers.
"The last time I cranked my own bent coppers into the QNAP slot machine what came out the other end was complete shite. " - "I'll take a boo and report back as honestly and objectively as I know how." That is all we ask, a bad review is still a review. So where is it? - Do you only review stuff you personally buy or is sent free? As Personal choice and freebies is not a fair and balanced review of the market.
"What incentive would I have to ever go repeat the experience?" - "That's what I get paid for." Er, yes that..
1) I am not ignoring QNAP or pretending they they don't exist.
2) I will cover anything that happens across my testlab. If I don't get the bandwidth on The Register, expect it to show up on WeBreakTech. That's right, I created my own tech magazine for when there's something I have to review by but El Reg doesn't have the budget. What isn't covered by me is covered by one of my sysadmin bloggers. Check out the latest review, System mechanic by Aaron Milne.
3) I have no trouble giving a crap review if something is crap. I punch Microsoft in the mommy-daddy buttons all the time.
4) I only review what is sent to me, what I personally buy or what I come across in my travels. I do not get paid enough to go out and buy every little thing and review it. What I get paid for a review article would not come close to covering the cost of even the cheapest of the QNAP boxes. In fact, for reviews, it rarely even covers the time I put into it. Per hour, reviews are the worst money I make at any of the jobs I work.
I don't see where your entitled attitude comes from? "Trevor, I demand you buy an expensive product with your own money and then review it on The Register so that the company in question can get some coverage and I can read about them." Here's a giggle: no.
It might shock you, but writers write to get paid. Not being willing to spend my hard-earned money to review something isn't a lack of objectivity. A lack of objectivity is giving someone a good review because they sent you a widget, or allowing your personal beliefs to interfere with an objective analysis.
You are attempting to use the word "objective" as some kind of moral sword to turn journalists into something less than slaves. You want journalists to pay to do your bidding.
Well, [redacted], buddy!
Do you think you could just demand that I go out and buy an EMC filer with my own money and review it? How about an IBM Mainframe? Next will you demand I pay my own way to Burma and cover the plight of the Rohingya, or that I buy a ticket/hotel/airfare to every conference and cover them all for you?
Where does the money come from? The Register doesn't have that kind of cash just lying around. I sure as hell don't. My company doesn't either. So where's the money for your personal take on objectivity coming from?
I'll tell you what, there is a perfectly objective way to ensure that any product, service or event that the readers want covered can get covered: they pay for it. IndieGoGo is easy: my crew raised over $10,000 for cancer. That is both fair and objective.
This isn't Fox News. "Fair and balanced" does not mean "equal airtime for any opinion, no matter how fringe, ridiculous or badly supported." I'm not putting timecube guy on TV and saying "he has an alternative theory of everything to the Standard Model." If I have to talk about him all I'm going to call him an utter whackjob, because that's what he is. That isn't how journalistic ethics or objectivity works.*
Nothing prevents QNAP from submitting a unit for review. Nothing prevents you - or anyone else - from pinging QNAP on Twitter, through their contact page or what-have-you and saying "you should get your unit reviewed on The Register."
You, the reader, can take action to see items you prefer covered here. But demanding that a journalist buy something he doesn't want out of his own pocket in order to review it for you - at a loss - is just asinine.
If I happen to run across a modern QNAP box and am in a position to put it through it's paces, it will get reviewed. Everything I run across like that gets reviewed. But I won't spend my hard-earned on something I'm not convinced will be a benefit to me just to satisfy you. That's fair...and balanced!
*In fact, that's the opposite, it is presenting fringe ideas as somehow equivalent to logical, well supported, scientifically backed ideas supported by the overwhelming number of professionals in the industry. Fox News-style "balance" is where "opinion" columns and editorials come in. Fox News isn't news at all, it's just editorializing and attempting to present massively disproven fringe ideas as equivalent to the actual truth in order to whip up political anger and make yet more money off their geriatric audience.
(point 4) By "only using what comes across your desk", we'll only ever see your purchases, or the corp 'freebies'. This is where I refer to the original post, Where I said "It's a shame". The shame is that El Reg doesn't spend any money or seek out review units to have a broader market scope. That's directed to El reg, (as both posts have been) and is nothing personal, please don't take it so.
If you just want to say "that's the way it is", then fine. I'm big enough to accept that, I'm sure El reg is big enough to accept criticism from a few comentards. Now let's refrain from getting into further pointless diatribes.
But it's not a shame. That's the entire point here. Why should El Reg do what you're proposing? What's the justification and rationale? Where's the impetus or the benefit? What does this add to their coverage, or to their approach to journalism?
More to the point, when did it become The Register's duty to review every item in a given space? How could they be reasonably expected to even be aware of all vendors in a space - or all developments in a space - unless the PR people hired by those same vendors actually do their jobs?
I'm not simply saying "that's the way it is." I'm saying your entire viewpoint is cracked, if not outright broken. Just how big do you think The Register is? It's one of the largest technology magazines in the world but I promise you it doesn't have the manpower to cover everything that goes on in all segments of IT. Do you have any comprehension of how big the IT industry is?
This is why things like PR companies exist. They exist to write press releases and get the attention and interest of reporters. Reporters look at the world around them - press releases, equipment they own, equipment they work with, etc - and make judgement calls about what's newsworthy and what's not.
A magazine like The Register is made up of several individual reporters, all working more or less independently, with a centralized e-mail address for blind submissions and a ruthless, jaded disenfranchised editor picking only the most interesting submissions from that e-mail and writing about them.
As a freelance writer, as a columnist for The Register and as someone who is building up his own technology magazine I simply don't comprehend how you expect it to work any differently. Not only do I not understand how you think it can work differently, I fail to understand why you think it should.
I don't publish every press release that hits my inbox, but I won't even know about a product launch unless it hits my inbox, so how could I write about it?
Similarly, The Register - or any technology magazine, news organization or what-have-you that you could name - simply cannot spend more than they earn.
You appear to either be decrying the moral injustice of The Register not spending more buying kit to review than they'd ever make off of publishing that review or your understanding of the amount of money an organization like The Register makes is utterly, completely broken. The Register can't spend money in the manner you're suggesting because it doesn't have it to spend. Nobody does.
So I am very curious about which category you fall into. Are you really an entitled prat who believes others should pay money for the privilege of doing your bidding, or are you just not comprehending the (increasingly tight) economics of journalism?
"It's a shame you don't do the impossible" isn't a remotely valid criticism or either the reporter or the magazine. At best it's a vain lament.
It's odd how so many are able to include some higher end products from qnap... when it's so impossible and doesn't work that way for el reg.
No you are being purposefully obtuse. I never said including products from QNAP was impossible, and you know that.
I said that it would be impossible for The Register to purchase everything it reviewed as it doesn't make enough on each article to cover the cost of the hardware to be purchased.
What I said - and what you are purposefully refusing to acknowledge - is that it is up to QNAP to submit things to The Register. QNAP hasn't submitted a unit for testing, so they don't have a review. I can't speak for Chris Mellor, but they don't even send me press releases, so they don't get published here.
If I went through those other sites - through any site that does reviews - I could find tens of thousands of products they haven't reviewed. Even in narrow categories all but the most popular and definitive sites for that category are going to have product (and even entire companies) missing.
In some cases the reason a product is missing is prejudice on behalf of the publication. In almost all cases, however, it is because the PR firm hired to represent the vendor simply didn't bother to contact the publication.
If you want QNAP to be reviewed, ask them to contact The Register. We are not going to buy a QNAP to review any more than we are going to buy an EMC unit to review or buy 25 Juniper switches and set up a full-bore SDN.
Getting reviewed is on the vendor. We'll publish interesting news, but we aren't going to go broke doing reviews. I don't care how much you, personally like this one vendor. It is the principle of the thing: if we bought review equipment that costs more than we'd make from writing the article for one vendor we'd have to do it for all. That's objectivity and neutrality.
If we did that then The Register wouldn't exist.
So why do don't you take your moaning and go bother QNAP's PR people. They're the ones who aren't doing their jobs.
To be clear: the job of The Register and her journalists is emphatically not to become paupers because you have a cracked view of reality. Cheers.
Edited to add: For the record, I've checked my e-mail and I have personally asked QNAP for review gear twice. Neither occasion even elicited a response. I've asked about for gear form other vendors. You don't get to climb on your high horse and whinge that The Register hasn't done it's job. We've asked twice more than we should have to. We won't ask again.
and we might be talking. Otherwise... nah!
They were somewhat cagey about any discussions regarding those interfaces. I was left with the impression that it is likely those will be added in due course, but they have bigger fish to fry right at the moment. Suspect it's a couple years out yet for formal support.
For some Synology units the expansion shelves are linked to the master units via Infiniband. Technically, as the DSM is Linux, nothing stops you from just bunging the card in and supporting Infiniband, Fibre Channel or FCoE yourself, albeit through the command line.
If Synology really is making a play for proper support and the enterprise space - as i very much suspect they are - then Fibre Channel, FCoE and Infiniband will be inevitable.
Am I the only one who glimpsed at the headline and wondered why Scientology would bring out a NAS storage device?
You need it to store those Noxious Ancient Souls when you run out of space in volcanoes.
...because if you say "Thetan" you +++++------CARRIER LOST
Their kit, generally, is really good. The interface - for a pure browser solution (aparat from a couple of bits of Java for file explorer connecting to your client machine) is one of the best I have ever used.
The NAS/SAN option (running both at the same time) with great backup options, including backing up an active LUN is really good.
However I've had a number of issues with one box we bought. After doing a DSM upgrade the disks started failing (multiple disks). Contacting Synology they stated it was definitely the disks (despite the coincidence). Due to the way their Linux had been compiled you would also get un-killable processes attempting a never ending disk access. There was no way of shutting down the machine even using “Reboot Even If System Utterly Broken” or sysrq.
Therefore the only way we found was to close any clients down, pull the network cables and wait for any activity to die then hard reboot.
Volume repairs would start on reboot and take a day or so but it continued to have problems. Eventually we returned it. Might be a coincidence but a lot of people seemed to have problems around the same time with that update.
The new boxes don't have any issues but we haven't upgraded the DSM on them at all due to a fear of issues arising. Every DSM update seemed to have a flood of issues in the forums.
I would love to be able to use the boxes as SANs for some more important tasks but just can't risk it, so they work as just fileservers at the moment.
Sounds like legitimate issues! How far did you pursue support? Makes me wonder what the enterprise-class support will be like and how the levels will differentiate.
I've heard from people who've encountered bugs in DSM releases. Usually this was coupled to the Synology support guys spending hours or even days working with them to troubleshoot the issue, extract root cause and then build the patch into the next update.
Making the leap into the commercial midmarket (and eventually enterprise) space is going to require a new regime of testing, a different beta and alpha program and certainly different support. It will be exceptionally interesting to see if (and how) they meet those requirements.
We tried interacting with support for a couple of months on it but it was very slow. Try this..tried it, let them know ... wait a few days/week ... try this ... etc. If it hadn't been out backup box (they didn't know this) and had been our live system we would have been in trouble.
When the device had an actual issue there wasn't much that could be done as they couldn't get into the box, we only had limited telnet access as it has no console as such, even if you plug a monitor in.
Not exactly encouraging. That said, I'll flag this thread up to their marketing geeks. Maybe some push from that direction will help with whatever changes are necessary for them to be better at the support bit. All we can do, eh?
Yay! Great. I had a continuing problem with a Synology 4 bay NAS. With three drives it was great. Add a 4th and within 2 days the 4th drive would go phut, and be unreadable. I lost 2 1TB Samsung drives that way.
Didn't get much help from Synology(out of warranty) so I limited it to 2 drives and got a 4Drive QNAP. No problems with either unit since.
They didn't have advance replacement service at the time so I can't comment on that service - our box was sent back to the reseller and they ended sending a credit note rather than fixing/replacing it.
It is odd to see how a NAS could break the disk short of a major overheat.
However, I have had a number of 1TB Samsung HDD die on me, typically they would go off-line (SATA time-out, even SMART not showing status) and need a power cycle reset then come back with all data OK, but the up-time was getting shorter and shorter so I swapped them for other HDD and let the RAID rebuilds deal with it.
...the dual-active controllers?
As someone who HAS lost a controller, I don't consider it a business option in the slightest without a fail-over capability. Performance is a good thing, but only after resiliency and availability are factored in.
The reality is that VNXe's and FAS2220's are pretty cheap these days, highly expandable, have great support, and perform well while delivering solid engineering, integration, and software features right out of the box. Sure, they don't offer the fluff of an overgrown home NAS box but they will do block and file storage reliably and you will have a big company there to catch you if you fall.
I far prefer two physical units in block-level sync over just a pair of failover controllers. Failover controllers still leave the motherboard, CPU, RAM, backplane etc as single points of failure.
Unless I can physically shoot the primary node and have the set still work it isn't redundant.
I can see the efficiency of block level sync, and ZFS support replication using the same principles, but my own paranoia is that a software/firmware bug on one that trashes file systems is then block-replicated to another much as RAID would do between disks.
While that is a low probability, it still makes me happier with the option of making snapshots and syncing the file system across. Of course, no gain if you are using a block-style access (iSCSI or raw database sort of thing).
Replication is not backup. Snapshots and backups still need to take place. Replication is just for hardware failure, and I trust it far more than I do "redundant controllers".
> Snapshots and backups still need to take place.
Precisely! So when is Synolgy going to introduce NDMP (or roll their own equivalent?).
Actually a good SAN Array should have redundant motherboards (ie controllers), redundant paths in the backplanes, fans, power supplies, redundant SAS connectivity up to the disk drive... even the VNXe, FAS2000, MSA2000 series have all of this..
And on top of that most of them offer a form of block replication option...
and as for 'physically shoot the primary node... you could do that with HP StoreVirtual boxes..the cluster will happily continue to run..without its user noticing anything.. and BTW all of that for a mere..yes around 20K€..for about 14TB SAS based capacity (and yes i'm a bit biased)..
Don't get me wrong : i own a Synology box at home and i'am impressed with its capabilities.. but it is in my eyes 'not ready for prime time' yet.. :
- They don't own the complete storage stack..this is OK for home use..but for datacenter usage you really need to control the complete stack (starting at the server HBA , over the 'SAN' switches down to the box itself.. and most important : the hard drives (firmwares issues really can become a nightmare...)
- Especially those disk drives.. their current compatiblity list contains a lot of disk drives that are really , really a bad idea to use in this kind of boxes.. they can't stand the vibration, the 24x7 use etc...
and in a multi-disk environment they start to fail bigtime.
Bottom line : at the moment ..no..but maybe in some future iteration who knows.. they might become interesting..
Hey Frank. This is another one of those replies that has turned into an an article all on it's own. You should see it early next week...
The IOPS and throughput may be there but the latency certainly is not. I bought a 12 bay one for non-critical stuff in 2012, and when it's in any kind of use VMware will warn about storage latency. And that was NFS, which should have minimal overhead.