So I finally bit the bullet and bought a NAS for my home lab. Ended up with a Synology DS411 due to some good timing from a NewEgg sale.
I went with Synology for two reasons: 1. I could supply my own disks (I don't want the "Green" drives that came with most other NAS units) 2. I always hear REALLY good things about them, they're always highly recommended.
I happened to already have a set of 4 Hitachi Deskstars sitting around so I tossed them in and started running some tests with IOMeter (Run all tests). I did a test on a RAID5 grouping of all 4 disks which were presented to the ESXi host as an iSCSI target and then I did the same test with a RAID 5 grouping of all 4 disks which were then presented to the ESXi host via NFS. I was amazed at the results.
From a personal standpoint, I fully expected iSCSI to blow away NFS. Wow, was I wrong. iSCSI pulled a whopping 270 IOPS from the IOMeter test. Then I ran the exact same test only via an NFS share... NFS blew iSCSI out of the water with a 1,070 IOPS. My jaw is still on the floor from that result. Here's some of the rest of the results:
I'm also seeing some excellent regular performance as well. 45MBps worth of write during an SvMotion.
So to say the least, I'm quite impressed at what this little guy can do with 4 SATA 7200RPM drives and a single NIC.
One other tidbit to add in an unrelated fashion is how much cooler the new Hitachi Deskstar runs compared to the older ones. A full 12F cooler. That was another surprise...