A few weeks ago, we did some additional tests on the Intel Atom processor to see if it was suitable to use as an Rsync Server. It’s possible to get inexpensive PCs with low power consumption and small footprint cases for under AUS $500 (US $400) – and we felt they could make good Rsync servers.
Previously we noted that the ARM processors in many entry-level NAS devices were insufficient in their computing power. But how does the Atom perform?
Stress test results – single 42GB file
Intel Atom – Vista / cwRsyncServer:
Initial time taken: 1h8m
Update: 1h19m (see note)
QNAP – ARM / Embedded Linux:
Initial time taken: 7h55m
Update time taken: 4h57m
Intel Dual Core – Ubuntu Linux:
Initial time taken: 1h22m
Update time taken: 0h35m
So the Atom performs far better than the embedded NAS devices. We traced the cause of the slower update time to slow Disk I/O, and having to copy the old file to apply the in-file changes. We’re seeing if we can speed that up further.
Conclusion: The Atom based PC is suitable as an Rsync server, and is far cheaper than the equivalent NAS.
Note: Our test here is Rsyncing a single 42GB file with approximately 2MB of changes between the initial upload and the update. This is most definitely a stress test and the average user will not place such demands on the backup. Rsync performs very well on a typical file system that has lots of small files. It starts struggling for massive files – and that is why we ran this particular test. On typical filesystems that don’t have massive files, the difference in performance between an Atom and Core Duo processor may even be too small to notice.