First Looks - QNAP TS-469-PRO eAegis Review

 

QNAP TS-469PRO 4-bay All-in-One NAS server

The QNAP range has been uplifted by the new X69 series of NAS arrays that are predominantly for small to medium businesses, but home users should also take heart and not overlook them as for business only. The X69 series will ultimately replace the X59 series that has been in the market for over two years now having had an upgrade in the process during its reign.

The X69 series completes the structured new product series launches that started with the launch of the X79 Series in the last quarter of 2011. QNAP has now got a powerful range of NAS arrays that will appeal to both business and non-business users. The X69 series currently consists of the 4-bay TS-469PRO, 5-bay TS-569PRO, 6-bay TS-669PRO and the 8-bay TS-869PRO. We do think there may be a rack mount version planned on the X69 series, as it’s a logical transition to do so.

QNAP’s first SMB NAS model was launched back in 2006. Since then they have grown leaps and bounds. Technologically they have remained ahead of the curve, and clearly been the envy of all its competitors. Today, many potential customers have no issues in including QNAP in their shortlist. In fact, in most cases we tend to find QNAP fits the bill exactly. That is no coincidence, understanding what customers want and sheer determination and hard work on QNAP’s part seems to be paying dividends.

The prominent changes include a new processor platform based on the Intel Atom 2.13GHz Dual-Core, with 1GB RAM upgradeable to 3GB using SODIMM, and includes the latest USB 3.0 as well as supporting SATA 6Gb/s, aside from all the other now QNAP standard features. They have also included a futuristic HDMI port for as and when they are ready to roll-out support for that too. Is the system worth the upgrade? Certainly seems that way.

As time goes on the need to back a NAS to another NAS becomes more and more persuasive. QNAP, it seems, shares the same mindset and has continued to improve the functionality and has fine-tuned it to ensure little effort is exerted in achieving replication between two arrays, be them local or remote. This feature on its own is very important as a disaster recovery option allowing data replication within units based on criticality of data.

Out of the Box

The packaging is more than adequate and QNAP has made more an effort than any other of its competitors with a sleek color box that emanates all the features and specifications of the NAS system. Considerable thought and effort has gone into the packaging to ensure prevention of transit damage. The accessories box holds all the screws required for 3.5” and 2.5” form factor drives and a quick guide with CD which has all reference notes including a User’s Manual, relevant Ethernet cable and power cord.

NOTE: Buying a system pre-populated with drives? Do not fret. eAegis provides all its customers with a comprehensive QA checklist detailing all the product serial numbers for asset and warranty management. In addition to the system being prepared with the customer preferred RAID all tested and ready to use out of the Box.

Usability and Esthetics

The TS-469PRO case is solid and is the same design structure as previous models. The hot-swap trays are the second generation model with a spring loaded push back button to release the lever and allow removal, somewhat of an improvement over the old tug and pull affair. The improvement is evident overall, with easy to slide trays, much better than previous hard to insert trays. The 120mm fan provides a sensible airflow and keeps the drives at a sensible temperature. Overall, a neat and compact looking unit that has all the necessary requirements to deliver a powerful storage solution, with the peaceful reassurance QNAP will be there if help and warranty is required.

The overall dimensions measures in at (H x W x D): 177 x 180 x 235 mm (6.97 x 7.09 x 9.25 in).

Connectivity Suite

Connectivity is above average with 2 x RJ45 (Ethernet) ports using the Intel 82574L supporting 10/100/1000 modes with WOL supported. We would have preferred to see 3 ports, allowing the ability to connect one exclusively for replication purposes as we see this increasing in the section of business this unit is aimed at. This is coupled with 4 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 ports all located at the back of the unit. A neat password and network reset button is also provided for in case we fumble or lose our password settings and we can go back to point zero! A neat touch. Finally QNAP has allowed expansion slot upgrades and in particular for installing the optional 10GbE expansion port/s. Companies with higher-end needs can install 10GbE Ethernet adapters, allowing you to use either traditional fiber or high-performance/low-cost base-T cable solutions.

Notable Features

The QNAP TS-469PRO is packed with features mainly for business but professional home users will not feel abandoned. The features draw a direct correlation to the hardware specification and capability, QNAP clearly has the knack to optimize both hardware and software to yield the most out of both.

iSCSI and Virtualization support

The QNAP TS-469PRO supports both iSCSI and NAS modes allowing multi-tasking storage repository with full VMware, Citrix ready and Windows Hyper-V compliancy. The built in iSCSI service also supports SPC-3 persistent reservation feature for clustering in VMware and Windows Server 2008. This is a useful service allowing setting up of Failover Cluster environments for that extra data protection.

Real-time Remote Replication

Real-time Remote Replication (RTRR) provides real-time or scheduled data replication between the TS-469PRO and a remote QNAP NAS, an FTP server, or an external drive.

Cloud Storage

The TS-469PRO supports Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive cloud storage backup that provides several backup modes inclusive of real-time, scheduled backup and versioning control so that the data can be restored from any point of time. We were unable to test this as it required account handlers and a valid user to test, no test area for reviewers! We are unable to verify the performance aspects of transferring large chunks of data back and forth.

Backup Server

QNAP TS-469PRO offers complete backup solutions with Apple Time Machine support, remote replication to an Rsync server, Windows client backup software QNAP NetBak Replicator, and third party backup software support.

Advanced RAID Management with Hot-swap Design

RAID is the main reason why a NAS is what it is, basically to be able to share, secure and store data, RAID is required to meet all those requirements, and being an 8-bay NAS it has to have a scalable design by supporting various RAID levels. The TS-469PRO provides RAID 0, 1, 5, 5+hot spare, 6, 6+hot spare, 10, 10+hotspare, single disk, and JBOD support and these can be divided in Multiple Volumes if needed. Global Hot Spare feature allows the administrator to share spare drives with multiple RAID volumes on the TS-469PRO. When a hard drive fails in any RAID volume, the global hot-spare drive will automatically replace the failed drive providing for a quick warranty replacement, without any downtime.

ISO Mounting and sharing

The QNAP NAS arrays support mounting ISO images of CD and DVD discs as network shares. This is ideal for customers that need to archive all their old and any current data off their discs and onto the NAS arrays thus ensuring data is not lost as a result of the integrity of the physical disc properties being compromised. The other advantage being the data is stored centrally and is accessible via the network. Store, Secure and Share with ease.

Advanced Folder Permissions

Advanced folder permissions allow users to configure folder/subfolder access to the Turbo NAS. With this feature enabled, users can manage the folder permissions from Microsoft Windows or the web-based management interface of the Turbo NAS easily.

Performance

What with the new platform and enchanced software the expectation was huge, and disappointment was not an option. The new model was like our awaited savior come to redeem our performance and backup ills. QNAP had to deliver!

Test Environment

QNAP TS-469PRO (4x1000GB – Enterprise Class) – 3GB Memory (upgraded from 1GB)
Firmware Revision: Version: v 3.6.1
RAID set to Level 5 (RAID 5)

Network

HP ProCurve 1810G-24 Managed Switch

Test Method

There are two tests that we used to measure performance on the Windows platform: Real-World testing utility that consist of workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications, traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation as well as a broad range of different applications, using 1024 KB sequential block reads and writes on a 2 GB test file, as well as Drag & Drop of a 2 GB file over CIFS, Windows default network protocol.

RWT-RAID 5 – Write MB/s 129.3 – Read – 132.4

The Real World Test performances results are an average of twelve full test cycles. The QNAP TS-469PRO performs exceptionally well, in fact took us all by surprise on how fast it was. Read and Write speeds were an astounding 132.4 MB/s and 129.3 MB/s respectively. The QNAP TS-469PRO excelled in the area of backup, testing the unit using predominantly Windows based workstations and servers, the backup test routine was the fasted we have recorded, in some cases compared to previous units it scored almost three times faster. Impressive.

RWT results for N8900

DRAG & DROP – RAID 5 - Write MB/s 122.5 – Read – 126.8

Drag and Drop is a methodology used by a majority of users to move data back and forth on their individual systems. As such, we feel this method should form an integral part of our testing of products and to ensure a return in results depict realistic processes. Drag and Drop results for the QNAP TS-469PRO are one of the highest we have had, most impressive. The unit doe shave 3GB memory upgraded from the normal 1GB.

drag and drop results for N8900

Overall Conclusion

The QNAP TS-469PRO performance was breathtaking and the backup test routine was the fastest ever recorded in our labs. The QNAP TS-469PRO is truly an All-in-One NAS array that is flexible for both business and home users. The features are exemplary, coupled with a neat design and 2 year warranty really makes the TS-469PRO an irresistible purchase. Truly one of the best, if not the best, 4-bay NAS currently in the market.

This review is courtesy of eAegis.com Product Testing and Evaluation Division. Please email reviews@eaegis.com for any comments you may wish to share with us. We welcome customer feedback. April 13, 2012.

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