Review: ASUSTOR AS7010T NAS Server

The era of the Super NAS is here! From the low-powered, humble devices of ten years ago, network attached storage devices have rapidly developed to take on mainstream small business servers and the ASUSTOR AS7010T NAS Server is leading the charge.

This new, ten bay premium device is targeted at enterprise and creative professionals, although is will also do a great job for prosumers with money to spend. Intel’s Core i3-4330 processor (a dual-core Haswell chip running at 3.5 GHz) has been selected to power the unit – a far more powerful CPU than the usual Intel Atom and Marvell Armada processors we generally encounter in NAS devices.

It’s paired with a healthy, 2 GB slab of DDR3 RAM, which is expandable up to 16 GB and again positions the AS7010T at the top-end of the network attached storage category. Those wishing to save a little money can opt for the eight-bay AS7008T model which offers the same internal specification as its big brother, with a slightly reduced storage capacity. With pricing recommended at £1,519 for the AS7010T and £1,219 for the AS7008T, the new 70 Series ships with a big ticket – but does it offer big performance?

This week, we received one of the first models to roll off the production line. Let’s get the package open and check out what it can do.

Eschewing the common trend for business appliances to ship in boring, brown cardboard packaging, the AS7010T ships in newly designed packaging that pops with day-glo orange highlights, shouting loudly about the features within, It certainly makes a statement! Open up the box and you’ll find:

  • The ASUSTOR AS7101T NAS Server
  • Two Ethernet cables
  • Power cable
  • Mounting screws for 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drives
  • Software CD
  • Quick Start Guide

 

The chassis design is very similar to other devices in the ASUSTOR range, and that’s no bad decision as its simple aesthetics will fit in well in an office environment. Build quality is up to ASUSTOR’s usual high standards – a combination of high quality plastics and textured metal casing providing a decent finish.

The front face of the AS7010T includes power and one touch backup buttons alongside an LED display panel which provides simple status reporting as well as a number of basic power and network features, controlled using the adjacent buttons. A new drive bay design debuts on the 70 Series, with an integral locking mechanism that ensures hard drives can’t be accidentally removed during operation. The lock itself requires a flat-head screwdriver to turn – I was surprised to see the lack of a key lock on the AS7010T which would do a better job of securing the drives from theft. Given AS7010T is targeted at business use, that’s an omission that may put off those seeking maximum physical security on the device.

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The drive caddy itself is robust – a combination of plastic, reinforced with metal for added strength which glides easily into the inner chassis.

From a connectivity perspective, the AS7010T is well equipped. A convenient, front-facing USB 3.0 port is joined by a further two on the rear of the server, accompanied by two USB 2.0 ports for connecting peripherals. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports (managed by a Broadcom NetLink BCM57781 controller) allow link aggregation and failover support and you’ll also find twin eSATA ports for expanding storage.

Continuing the current trend in NAS devices, a HDMI 1.4a port is fitted to the 70 Series, and its joined for the first time by an optical audio S/PDIF port, allowing a broader range of connections to AV receivers and other entertainment devices. I was again surprised to see the lack of a redundant power supply on the new model, which is commonly found on business-class NAS servers, so you’ll need to use the single power socket with an uninterruptible power supply to maximise up time. On the flip side, at least the PSU is integrated into the chassis, so there’s no ugly external power supply floating around the rear of the device.

Overall, it’s a polished, high quality specification and build – the kind we’ve become used to from ASUSTOR. Enterprise admins may point to a couple of omissions – secure, lockable drive bays  (with a key) and a redundant power supply would have led to a complete package for the business owner – those aside, it’s a compelling specification.

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  1. Can I Install Windows Home Server on this NAS ? … I have an HP EX495 and want to set up a new Windows Home Server using WHS2012 on a new hardware platform. I would imagine that the heart of this NAS box is something approaching a “bog standard” Asus PC motherboard. In theory the BIOS will support a USB-2 mouse and a USB-2 keyboard with video via the HDMI connector. Has anyone tried this or will I be the first to disassemble my AS-7010T to find out ?

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