Performance Comparison of Windows Home Server 2011 on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer & HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer

• May 20, 2013

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By: John Stutsman

After posting Performance Comparison of Windows Server 2012 Essentials on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer and the HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer I wanted to continue with similar performance tests of Windows Home Server 2011 (“WHS-2011”).

The NAS Performance Toolkit (“NASPT”) v1.7.1 is the same test as described in the previous posting as are the specifications of the Client Workstation that NASPT will operate from. The configuration of WHS-2011 on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer and the HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer has been described in the posting Moving My Windows Home Server 2011 to the HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer.

 

Note: the NASPT Benchmarks discussed later are useful for Comparisons with My specific testing setup, network, and Client Workstation implementation and should not be considered absolute benchmarks for comparison against another person’s results.

 

Contents:

  • HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer and HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer
  • Specifications of Network between Client and Targets
  • Test Results
  • Conclusion
  • References

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HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer and HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer

The HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer (“N40L”) is the same MicroServer I used in:

The performance of the OS Drive C, individual data drives that make up the DrivePool, and DrivePool Drive E in WHS-2011 on the N40L using ATTO and CrystalDiskMark as follows:

 

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Figure 1– OS Drive C Performance: WHS-2011 on N40L

 

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Figure 2– ST3000DM001 Drive Performance: WHS-2011 on N40L

 

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Figure 3– DrivePool Performance: WHS-2011 on N40L

 

The performance of the connection from the Client WorkStation to the Target Directory Mapped on WHS-2011 on the N40L using ATTO and CrystalDiskMark is as follows:

 

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Figure 4 — Performance of Mapped Drive on Client Workstation to WHS-2011 on N40L

 

The HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer (“N54L”) is the same MicroServer I used in:

The performance of the OS Drive C, individual data drives that make up the DrivePool, and DrivePool Drive E in WHS-2011 on the N54L using ATTO and CrystalDiskMark are as follows:

 

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Figure 5 — OS Drive C Performance: WHS-2011 on N54L

 

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Figure 6 — ST3000DM001 Drive Performance: WHS-2011 on N54L

 

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Figure 7 — DrivePool Performance: WHS-2011 on N54L

 

The performance of the connection from the Client WorkStation to the Target Directory Mapped on WHS-2011 on the N54L using ATTO and CrystalDiskMark is as follows:

 

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Figure 8 — Performance of Mapped Drive on Client Workstation to WHS-2011 on N54L

 

Specifications of Network between Client and Targets

The Network between the Client and Targets was:

  • The Client and all Targets are attached to a single D-Link 24 Port Gigabit Switch DGS-1024D via CAT6 Cable.

 

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Figure 9 — Network for NAS Performance Tests

 

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Figure 10 — LAN Speed Test between Client WorkStation and WHS-2011 on N40L

 

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Figure 11 — LAN Speed Test between Client WorkStation and WHS-2011 on N54L

 

Test Results

I should preface this section by noting that I am not a NAS performance expert but I did notice that the N54L was “snappier” than the N40L. I tried to quantify what “snappier” was by measuring with a stop watch the start-up of several applications in WHS-2011. Figure 12 shows that I measured a 38% or 15 seconds improvement in the loading time of the DashBoard in WHS-2011 when moving from the N40L to the N54L. This corresponds favorably with the 43% performance improvement in Table 4 of HP ProLiant MicroServer CPU Performance Index Comparisons using PassMark Index Scores and the 40% performance improvement in Figure 18 of Performance Comparison of Windows Server 2012 Essentials on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer and the HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer.

 

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Figure 12 — Performance Improvement as measured with a Stop Watch

 

As I noted in the previous Performance Paper, Chris Kenney suggested I look at Intel’s NAS Performance Tests as another way to quantify the difference between the N40L and the N54L with Windows Home Server 2011.

 

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Figure 13 — NASPT Performance of WHS-2011 on the N40L and N54L Normalized to the N40L

 

As Figures 13 and 14 illustrate the Intel NASPT of the N54L is only slightly better overall than the N40L’s with WHS-2011 except in the case of “4X HD Playback”, “HD Video Record”, “Office Productivity”, “File Copy to NAS” and “Dir Copy to NAS”.

  • Four HD Video Playback Streams: This workload is constructed from four copies of the video playback test. The 1.3GB trace represents about three minutes forty-five seconds of video playback for each stream. About 11% of the accesses are sequential.
  • HD Video Record: This trace represents recording roughly fifteen minutes of a broadcast 720p MPEG-2. A single 1.6GB file is written sequentially with 256kB access. The bit rate is somewhat lower than the playback test, they contain different video.
  • Office Productivity: Scripted sequences of typical workday operations from a commonly available office productivity suite make up this trace. This test is the largest of the collection, transferring 2.8GB of data evenly divided between reads and writes. Eighty percent of these accesses are logically sequential, scattered across six hundred files ranging from 12 bytes in length to over 200MB. The median read size is 2.2kB whereas the median write size is 1.8kB.
  • File Copy To NAS: This trace includes accesses executed when copying a 1.4GB file to a NAS. Data is written in 64kB sequential transactions.
  • Directory Copy To NAS: This trace represents a bulk copy of a complex directory tree containing 2833 files, a transfer a large collection of files to the NAS. The directory used represented a typical installation of a commercially available office productivity suite. 247MBs is transferred with an average write size of 41.4kB. Only 52% of the writes are logically sequential as many files are small.

These five testes represent improvements going from the N40L to the N54L that were greater than 105% (I chose 100% +-5% as my band of performance I considered basically equal).

What I found even more intriguing was the -9% hit on the “NASPT File Copy From NAS”.

  • File Copy From NAS: Identical to File Copy To NAS, but in the opposite direction. All transactions are sequential 64kB reads.

I have no concrete idea why this occurred. This is a fertile subject for future debate and testing.

 

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Figure 14 — NASPT Performance of WHS-2011 on the N40L and N54L Normalized to the N40L

 

Conclusion

On a Gigabit Ethernet the maximum theoretical transfer is 125MB/s. We saw in the previous paper for the N40L and the N54L with S2012E many of the average scores (See Figure 21 & 22 especially for HD Playback’s in that previous paper) were quite high — while the HD Playback’s for the N54L with WHS-2011 are not as high as with S2012E they are still respectable and I believe could be largely attributed to the difference in the amount of RAM that can be used in the WHS-2011 and S2012E MicroServer configurations (8GB and 16GB respectively). While clearly the N54L provides a slight performance boost with NASPT scores for WHS-2011 the real benefit, in my opinion, of the N54L is the improved responsiveness (See Figure 12) of applications running in WHS-2011.

 

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Figure 15 — The Throughput of Many Media Tests on the N54L with WHS-2011 are moving closer to the Maximum Theoretical of 125MB/s for a Gigabit Ethernet – Note: these Benchmarks are useful for Comparisons with My specific testing setup, network, and Client Workstation implementation and should not be considered absolute benchmarks for comparison against another person’s results

 

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Figure 16 — NASPT Throughput Comparison of WHS-2011 on a N40L and a N54L – Note: these Benchmarks are useful for Comparisons with My specific testing setup, network, and Client Workstation implementation and should not be considered absolute benchmarks for comparison against another person’s results

 

References

HP ProLiant MicroServer CPU Performance Index Comparisons

Performance Measurement of the HP ProLiant N40L and N54L G7 MicroServer and other NAS Devices

Useful MicroServer Links & References

MicroServer Hardware Links

MicroServer Blog Postings

N54L Blog Postings

NAS Blog Postings

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Category: Hard Drives, HP Microserver, Review, Windows Home Server, Windows Home Server 2011, WIndows Server 2012 Essentials

Comments (3)

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  1. pcdoc says:

    Great article and very thorough comparison.

  2. vincent says:

    kick ass post…. now i live in spain ..the 40nl is at eur 175 and the 54nl at eur 209…i-m planning to use as a nas with whs 2011..basically storing movies, photos, …i run 5 pcs home with 2 mac…not an expert but still planning to upgrade bios as per your post…what do you think about price different should i go for the 54nl ???
    thanks man

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