Saturday, May 26, 2012

Testing the NAS Qnap TS-469 Pro

As its name suggests, the TS-469 Pro is one of the high-end solutions from Qnap. The NAS is dedicated to advanced users and SMEs, with four bays, like all other models Qnap, but internal changes are numerous. What are it capabilities?

Qnap TS-469 class in the category of Pro NAS "high performance", and its physical characteristics of the place is in the top of the basket: it features an Intel Atom dual-heart clocked at 2.13 GHz ( with support for HyperThreading) and uses 1 GB of RAM (expandable to 3GB) - configuring a PC there is not that long! Consumption is correspondingly high: only 1 W standby wake-on-lan of course, but still in operation and 43 W to more than 50 W loads.
These components and the four drive bays 3.5 "are integrated into a big black cube with a simple design and is typical of utility Qnap, and whose weight is therefore 4.65 kg. This is the price you pay for 250W power supply that is integrated, a positive, especially as the jack on the back of the box is all there is more standard. Note that this NAS supports UPS. TS-469 Pro is almost boring to watch, but no NAS has won in any beauty contests, and it is quite handy: TS-469 Pro several can be stacked for such operations replication. Which said discs more integrated supply said fans: a little food, a large (9 cm diameter) for components and drives. Qnap announces a maximum sound level of 36.8 dB, that is to say, a level comparable to that of a room in use. It is relatively quiet, and we have not had a complaint of this aspect during our tests, even asking the NAS to a little under two meters on a desk. The fans are heard as phases during very intense and very long (RAID rebuild for example), and can be set in the admin interface, the rotation speed according to temperature to adjust at best.

Four bays, including four discs: TS-469 Pro supports various arrangements of these discs. Detail, the HFS + is managed natively. One can of course be managed as four independent volumes, but it is certainly the RAID configurations that are most used (RAID 1/0/10/5/6) or JBOD. Configurations can be mixed within the limits of technical possibilities, of course: for example, use two drives as a RAID 0 and two disks as a RAID 1, or two disks as a RAID 1 and two disks as two independent volumes, etc.. Hot swapping of drives and RAID are supported reconstruction, the administration interface providing a status monitor disks and any ongoing operations.

Physical security: yes, but ...

The NAS is asked to store data that may be confidential, including enterprise; QNAP has tried to respond to the first security risk, physical risk. This NAS is obviously not one of these models can withstand larger shocks or fires, but it has such a Kensington Lock slot on the back, to prevent us to go with the TS- 469 arm. Contrary as some competitors NAS, Synology particular, where carts are discs at the rear of the unit and are rather difficult to extract, Qnap has opted for a removable trolley system accessible from the front before. They are protected by simple locks, such as those found on a bike or motorcycle locks: all is well, and there will more quickly break the tab carts that break the lock. Once the locks closed, we will also find it difficult to open, even with the key! These are a little light and very hard lock.

Until then, therefore, positive in terms of physical protection - but one of the advantages of TS-469 Pro is also its Achilles heel: its control panel on the front. Several competing brands offer such a screen, but few are as useful: it is almost an administration interface (very) slight. And it is precisely the problem, since it is perfectly possible to reset the password of the web administration from this screen, which also gives the NAS IP. What a way to allow a little too curious to quickly retrieve data (although this feature was leaving a good feeling and it is an extreme scenario).

Two Ethernet, two NAS

Since we are talking business and administration interface, include one of the best ideas of TS-469 Pro, the presence of two Gigabit Ethernet ports. They create two sub-networks providing data services and different access rights and perfectly separated. One scenario is for example used to use the first port to access data stored on the NAS, the other to connect an IP camera: you can access the camera from the outside and it stores its files on a different from that space accessible by the first port.

The administration interface is certainly not as pleasant as that of Synology example, but it is particularly simple and allows to divide the various services on these ports. The tab "Network Settings" enables both ports and set their IP address and speed. The tab "Association services" to enable or disable the various services on the Ethernet port so you can still limit access to the administrative interface to a port and then an IP address, or decide to use a port (and thus IP) to access storage, and another to access the application server (server web and MySQL).

The whole is extremely well seen, and only suffers from one flaw: it is not accessible to third-party applications, while additional modules ecosystem is a force of Qnap. Impossible for example to force an app to use an interface rather than another, or to use an instance of an app on each of the two IP addresses.

Also in the area of
​​data access, we note that the TS-469 Pro supports the VPN, SSL certificates for secure browsing, and is also capable of encrypting the file system.

One-touch USB copy: press, take

Another good idea of
​​the TS-469 Pro, the "one-touch USB copy": the front USB port is surrounded by a button that can trigger a copy function on the volume that is connected - a USB stick, external drive, etc.. This copy can be done both ways: the volume to the NAS and NAS to the volume. It manages this function again in the admin interface, specifically in the tab "USB One Touch Copy" Folder of discharge or source folder download, copy or overwrite or disable the in function daily, the thing is pretty handy. You can connect a bouncer card on the NAS and offload pictures to a predefined folder - add actions monitored folders in OS X, and you can even ensure that the photos are imported into your favorite editor even before arrive at your screen. Conversely, you can imagine working on a project on a regular basis, and simply retrieve the data by plugging in a USB key to the TS-469 Pro with the USB copy button.

The front USB port, however, is one of seven USB ports on the TS-469, which also includes four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports on the back. These, like the two eSATA ports, moreover, possible to connect additional drives to the NAS, either for him to add more storage, or to save it. Drives connected to USB, eSATA, or available on the same network as the TS-469 (including other NAS) can be shared by the TS-469 on the network as virtual disks - a solution in the form of second- not necessarily go fast, but has the merit of being practical.

The ability to backup the NAS to external volumes is welcome nonetheless, especially since it is well thought out. The tab "External Device" to manage the various volumes connected and set tasks to be performed, a full backup copy of a particular file. One could imagine again duplicate a project, or simply save the NAS, which is not free of problems despite the RAID. Another backup, but in the other direction that of the devices connected to the NAS: TS-469 Pro provides full support Machine. On Time can also use a USB port for sharing a printer or printers, the TS-469 Pro doing here acts as a gateway network. Again, the setup is done from the admin interface with a subtlety designed for users of OS X, support for printers.

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