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Adaptec's Snap Server 18000

How well does the 18000 perform? To find out, I put the server through its paces in our Green Bay, Wis., Real-World Labs®.

The 18000 was simple to set up. To start, I simply plugged the storage server into the network. It performed a DHCP request for an IP address, then displayed that address on the front-panel LCD. I accessed that address using a Web browser and performed all the necessary configuration tasks, including networking with a static IP, setting the gateway and DNS servers, making a RAID container, and creating a CIFS share and an iSCSI target. I rebooted the 18000 and went off to enter the static IP addresses into Active Directory Services. When I came back, the 18000 was live on the network, and both iSCSI and CIFS clients were able to map to it.

Test Setup

For testing purposes, I made one container and split it into a CIFS share and an iSCSI share. I then set up Active Directory integration, created some local management accounts so I could log on if AD were ever unavailable, and assigned access rights to users in AD--all simple tasks, and all done using the Web management console.When I fired up the desktop-based management tool, the appliance found the older Snap Appliance that we use for backups. It wouldn't let me manage the older one, but it knew the device was there and reported version information and its free space. Impressive.

The 18000 comes with two 1-GB network connections that also fulfill the requirements of a management port. However, it would be better if the management port were separate from the network connections to get the management functionality out of the data stream and to provide management access when the other NIC is down. In some situations, 2 GB won't be enough--for example, you'll likely need more if you put 8 TB of data on a stack headed by an 18000 with 2,000 or more users. Luckily, there are four expansion slots on the 18000, so you can add Ethernet cards if necessary.

• 1.4 TB using RAID 5, expandable up to 28 TB

• Support for CIFS, NFS and iSCSI
• Easy configuration and management


• Too small for large installations

• Management is handled over data NICs

Snap Server 18000, 2-TB system starts at $14,995. Snap Appliance (a division of Adaptec), (888) 310-SNAP, (408) 795-3600

As Expected

I ran performance tests on the 18000 to determine if it behaved on par with other NAS and iSCSI appliances. Adaptec products generally perform well in our tests, and we had no reason to assume that the 18000 would do differently. This time around, we used Quest Software's Benchmark Factory with standard file-server testing modified to include reads, writes and shared reads in a transaction. We used CIFS and configured 4-KB sequential reads and writes.

Snap Server
Click to Enlarge

Performance showed 95 MB per second on average, with response times during a five-minute test ramping from 0.005 second to 2.48 seconds. In real life, however, constant, uninterrupted access by many clients isn't likely--you probably won't see increasing access times as the machine becomes more loaded unless your environment is very busy.Overall, I was pleased with the 18000. Besides being easy to configure and use, its management functionality makes the storage manager's job a breeze. Although its storage capacity may not be adequate for larger installations, it's good enough for most of us.

Don MacVittie is a technology editor at Network Computing.