Buffalo Technology has always been content to provide network storage to consumers and SMEs, but now wants a share of the enterprise market. The latest TeraStation 7000 series aims to provide the largest businesses with scalable and cost-effective storage solutions.
In review is the TeraStation 7120r Enterprise, a 2U rack device with a 3.4 GHz Intel Xeon E3-1275 processor and 8 GB of DDR3 memory. The latter can be upgraded, but the existing DIMMs need to be replaced – the motherboard has only two slots.
The Enterprise model has 12 hot-swap locations populated with 2 TB WD Enterprise SATA II hard drives. You can’t buy a model without a disc, and if a drive fails, you need to buy replacements from Buffalo.
However, there are two alternative 7120r models with 8 TB or 12 TB of storage space and empty compartments for adding additional drives later. They have a slower 3.1 GHz Xeon E3-1225 processor and 4 GB of DDR3 memory.
The device has six USB 2 ports for external storage devices, but no integrated USB 3 ports. For these, you will need to add the optional Buffalo USB 3 PCI Express card, which costs an additional 35 GBP.
As with desktop devices, Buffalo NAS Navigator 2 automatically detects the device and provides direct access to the web console. For file sharing, the device supports SMB, NFS, and AFP, and each protocol can be turned on or off with a single mouse click.
For security of access, 7120r supports a local user database or Active Directory authentication. All sharing features are accessed from a single screen, where you decide on global read or write / write access, select which protocols are supported, assign a recycle bin, and apply access permissions. It also supports sharing replication using rsync, but only to other TeraStations.
The included NovaBackup Business Essentials software simplifies scheduled workstation backups, and the price includes a ten-user license. However, the cloud backup features are not as good as those offered by Synology and Qnap, as the 7120r is only compatible with Amazon S3. Also, for IP camera surveillance, you will need to use a Windows PC as the host for the Surveillance Server software – the device only acts as a safe for recording the camera.
Before using the device, you will need to think carefully about the implementation. Out of the box, the 7120r has all its drives configured as a RAID6 array with LVM disabled. This configuration supports a single logical volume, which can be used for NAS shares or for a large IP SAN volume.
If you want multiple NAS and IP SAN volumes to coexist on the same disk array, you must enable LVM, but this will remove pre-existing shares. Similarly, disabling LVM on the array will also remove IP SAN shares and destinations.
Along with the four integrated Gigabit ports, the device has two PCI Express slots and supports a good variety of single and dual port 10GbE adapters from Intel and Emulex. For testing, I installed an Emulex OCe11102-NM dual port 10GbE adapter, which was accepted without any problems.
I started with Gigabit and saw good results right away. Iometer reported fast raw read and write speeds of 109 MB / sec for a share allocated to a Dell PowerEdge R515 server running Windows Server 2012. For 10 GbE deployments, we recommend enabling jumbo frames – without them, Iometer reported a 682 MB / sec raw read. for a mapped elevation; it reached 847 MB / sec, with 9,000 configuration frames configured.
IP SAN performance of over 10 GbE was even better, with Iometer reporting a raw read speed of 880 MB / sec for a slim supply of 500 GB. Buffalo warns that LVM may have performance overhead, but we could not see evidence during testing.
However, Buffalo’s LVM feature requires careful analysis of future storage requirements, and the lack of external expansion could be a problem later. That being said, the TeraStation 7120r Enterprise is fast on Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE networks and compares well in price with similar 12-compartment rack devices from Qnap.