The QNAP TS-410 is a new addition to the QNAP NAS product portfolio. QNAP purports the TS-410 will appeal to an audience that is budget conscious home and small business users. QNAP seem to have a vast range of 4-bay devices that seems to fit every aspect of the market and for users from every segmentation. QNAP claims the TS-419 and TS-410 are aimed at the home and Soho markets whilst the TS-439 is aimed at the SMB and Corporate. All we can glean from the different configurations is the extra horsepower in terms of processor and size of memory installed. Aside from the color differentials, the outer case shell are similar and drive bay trays are all the same, so interchangeable drive bays trays may be an added bonus for QNAP users. QNAP is an acronym of Quality Network Appliance Provider.
Figure 1: TS-410 Dimensions
The Vital Stats
The QNAP TS-410 is powered by a Marvel 6281 800MHz processor, coupled with 256MB DDRII SDRAM, supported by an impressive array of USB ports of which three are at the back and one at the front that allows backups by the use of one-touch button, backing up to any USB supported external HDD. The inclusion of two eSATA and two Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet ports that supports multi-IP settings, as well as load-balancing and failover services, pretty much rounds off all that is needed in connectivity for a device in this class.
The device looks well put together and is a solid design that seems to be a continuation from the TS-439 and TS-419 product range. Compact in size measuring a mere 177(H) x 180(W) x 235(D) mm, and has excellent air flow (1 x fan 9cm 12V DC), with the drives running cool, and during our tests the drives did not encounter any overheating issues. The design does not suffer the same fate as many other 4-bay units that house an integrated power supply. The TS-410 power is supplied via an external power brick, a 100-240v - 120W adapter. As a result it is quiet at only 33.0db without any hard drives with excellent airflow makes it a distinct advantage of opting for an external PSU. Changing a failed PSU is also a distinct advantage as it means just swapping it out in no time, an important factor when you examine how many of QNAP’s competitors have suffered with issues of bad power supply’s as a result of flaws in the design and/or specifications of the units.
Figure 2: TS-410 Indicators and Connectivity
Talking of disk drives, the device has 4 x hot-swappable lockable hard disk trays, which can house both 3.5" and also 2.5" SATA I/II drives. As far as compatibility is concerned QNAP does provide a recommended list of drives supported, which is frequently updated. We used 500GB and tested all the leading 2TB capacity manufactures and they all worked flawlessly in the TS-410. The TS-410 does not have the customary LCD panel and only supports LED indicators that depict Status, LAN, USB, eSATA, HDD 1, HDD 2, HDD 3, HDD 4 activity. The lack of LCD is merely a budget conscious exclusion to keep the price of the product at a competitive level, albeit we are sure this would not have cost too much to implement as it is already prevalent in the TS-419 and TS439 models, the lack of it may be what they needed to distinguish the device from its peers. The diskless device is a light weight affair, weighing in at just over 5kgs inclusive of the outer retail carton, lean and mean ready for action. If weight was a distinct and pleasant surprise so is the power consumption, with 4x500GB (Seagate ST3500320NS ES.2) drives we had installed in RAID 5 mode the consumption fell to as low as 19.3W, and remained a constant 21W at all times, in sleep mode it measured a regular 12W.
Ready, Setup, Go
Getting the unit up and running took less than five minutes and installing 4 disk drives took us all of ten minutes we were up and ready to boot within twenty minutes give or take a few. All the screws for installing the drives are supplied along with a leaflet touting their product wares and the necessary Ethernet and power adapter for connectivity. Once we installed the drives and got them inserted within the bay (not very smooth a little tight, and the lever on the disk trays are a yank or pull affair), we were ready for the boot. Unlike the TS-439 and TS-419 there is no one touch LCD installation of the RAID, you need to install the QNAP Finder and locate the NAS and then login. Alternatively you may find the IP address and simply type it onto the browser to locate the NAS. Either ways, once done you’re ready to login and allow the NAS to format your disk and sync it for RAID. Our 2TB (4x500GB) took all of five hours to complete.
RAID is the way
The RAID levels supported are more than sufficient for a NAS of this class, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 5+Hot Spare and of course JBOD (Just a bunch of disks- No RAID). The RAID is software based and not hardware RAID, which tends to normally be slower. In a system with 4-bays it is normally sensible to operate under RAID 5 allowing for a one drive redundancy before data loss. RAID 5 does require a minimum threshold of 3 drives to work. RAID 0, and 1 can work with 2 drives minimum and if your data is critical you may opt for 4 drives and install either RAID 5 + a Hot Spare providing 2 drive redundancy or opt for RAID 6 that provides 2 drives redundancy without a Hot Spare. RAID 6 is normally slower than RAID 5 and the TS-410 was no exception to this rule.
It’s all in the Features
Management of the unit is via an intuitive AJAX based web interface, a vast improvement from previous offering, although the controls remain the same. The new interface is a great launching pad for the host of rich features this unit has to offer. The common features that all users will find useful begin with Online RAID Capacity Expansion; this allows the change of hard disk drive capacity within the same RAID set and expands without the need to back up the data before carrying out the operation – no loss of data. QNAP has a unique process that guides you through all the step of the way, prompting you to remove and replace drives as and when it is safe to do so, one cautionary note – be patient it does take a little time so make an allowance for it to complete its process. We were able to go from 500GB to 1TB drives start to finish just over 9 hours. The Online RAID Level Migration will allow you to expand your RAID Levels. You may go from any RAID level upwards and not backwards if you wish to retain all the data that is currently stored. We installed 2 x 500GB drives with no RAID and then installed 2 more drives using Online RAID Capacity extension and Online RAID level Migration in situ to achieve RAID level 5 with 4 drives – no loss of data. At all times we were prompted what to do next. Not all manufacturers are able to provide a prompt based expansion process.
Another fine feature is a built in iSCSI target service that will allow the device to act as a NAS and iSCSI target. The iSCSI target will facilitate connectivity for up to 8 iSCSI devices allowing a small scale IP-SAN farm and with the use of QNAP’s Virtual Disk Drive (VDD) you can turn all the other iSCSI storage based peripherals into virtual disks, which in turn can become single volumes on the NAS. This is further accentuated by the use of Virtual Space Allocation (Thin Provisioning) feature that will allow space to be allocated on a just-enough and just-in-time basis using Online RAID capacity expansion.
Home users can enjoy using the UPnP/DLNA media server capability with enabling of TwonkyMedia. This provides support for a host of DLNA compliant media players such as the Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and a host of many other devices. Downloading and streaming of movies becomes second nature as does storing of photos and images. We installed the DLNA/UPnP app on our iPhone and were able to connect to the TS-410 and access our music and images as well as video, slow access but possible. This would be a boon if you needed access remotely via your iPhone and could view files on your NAS.
Aside from redundancy, storing and sharing files centrally, the ability to share those precious family photos and video’s with family and friends via a secure remote connection established using an FTP server feature or even using the Multimedia Station feature by setting up a fixed IP address and utilizing your routers DDNS service or obtaining your own domain name from any DDNS provider such as http://www.dyndns.com/. Other excellent features include the use of remote replication that will please business users, allowing replication of units to a remote location to make an allowance for quick data recovery in times of disaster. If you wish to publish and host your own website, this can be achieved by using the Web server feature and turning the NAS into an all in one Web server, although we would advice caution and not use the unit for anything else as the performance will take a dive. All audio fans will welcome support for iTunes, and enabling the service can be done in 4 simple steps; select the service, insert a password, confirm the language required, and press apply, you are now connected. QNAP has also designed what it terms QPKG - a software platform that allows them to add software packages for extending support for all the NAS devices in its product portfolio. A fine example of this is providing support for Logitech’s Squeezebox product range by enabling Squeezcenter version 7, as well as support for Joomla an open source content management system for publishing content on the World Wide Web and intranets, and a host of many other software add-ons are also available. Need to have a little more security around the home or office?, then you are in luck simply add up to 4 IP based cameras and you have a Surveillance station that will let you not only view but also record sound, watch over your home or office remotely as well, so you can rest in peace if you are traveling overseas and need to keep tabs.
Aside from the features we have already mentioned the business users can take center stage with compatibility across all platforms for users of Windows, Mac, Linux, UNIX and we understand support for VMware too. Windows AD feature enables importing of user information (name and password) from an existing AD domain enabling users to get up to speed quickly, although creation of users and share folders can be done in batch mode, saving time and effort, all folders have the facilitation of being hidden as well for security purposes, if this is a requirement. The NAS also has the necessary management tools that one would expect. The TS-410 system fan is controlled automatically and also offers the option to be set manually if desired, along with email and instant SMS alert options for tracking events that may occur affecting the integrity of the device. This could take the form of a failing drive, memory failure, illegal boot operation and a host of other possible issues. The device also logs all events in detail when it connects via FTP, ATP, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH as well as networking services accessed by all online users... The salient features that impressed us were the encrypted remote replication and the encryption to the RAID volume, both enabling data to be secure in the event the device goes missing and attempts to mount the volume on a Linux box would fail by a third party, as a result of the encryption.
As for backup the QNAP TS-410 comes with NetBak Replicator, which supports instant, scheduled and auto-sync backups. We used the NetBak application and whilst sufficient in most cases, do not expect it to be the mother of all backups, because it clearly isn’t! There are many third party backup applications supported as is the MAC OS X Time Machine. All in all this is a great first time buy for home and business users alike, you will be hard pressed to find a comparable unit that will beat the price and performance ratio of the QNAP TS-410. This will serve as a super yardstick to better understand your needs for going the next level.
QNAP TS-410 2TB with 4 x 500GB Enterprise drives
RAID LEVEL TESTED: RAID 5 (one drive parity)
NETGEAR FSM726 10/100Mbps + 1000Mbps ProSafe Managed Switch
We use a Real-World testing utility as well as a realistic Drag & Drop procedure as depicted in everyday normal operations.
Our tests are carried out with a combination of reads and writes, we do not separate the two, both are combined to produce an overall result that depicts the actual performance of the device tested.
This category is one of the most demanding from a file size perspective as the smallest size file is 2GB and the largest being 12GB.
A combination of demanding Video, Audio and Images files are combined to make this the most challenging category of them all.
The Office category is mainly for business users who may compare the typically used business applications, consisting of a spreadsheets, databases,word, PowerPoint, Visio, and email management. We have also combined Photoshop based images that are used to cut and paste within a document to make up a 30 page mailer as well as Visio templates used for presentation within a PowerPoint file that exceeds a 15GB file size.
Our Third category is a combination of files from the previous two categories to initiate copying, backing up, deleting all content and then restoring from a backup made within the RAID arrary.
|QNAP TS-410 Read/Write Comparative Performance |
|Copy, Backup and Restore||55.93|
Figure 3: TS-410 Read/Write Results
Figure 4: Overall Read/Write Test Performance
The QNAP TS410 is an excellent first buy and also as subsequent support unit for other larger NAS devices within a NAS farm. Its value for money ratio is good and the turn of performance is well above average, it may not be the fastest 4-bay round, but it has features that can cast shame on bigger NAS devices that cost four times more but have less than half of the features this unit has. Are you a first time buyer? get this device you’ll not go wrong!. We understand the TS-410 Diskless is priced at $445.00 and a street price of $695.00 for a 2TB version; it’s a steal, buy one today!