QNAP is a well known player in the SMB / SOHO NAS market. This market is a highly competitive one with many players like Synology, Thecus, Netgear, LaCie, Sagate and Western Digital. Consumers with a necessity to store and backup their home media collection also form a small segment of this market.

We have been playing around with the QNAP TS-659 Pro II unit over the last month or so. Based on the Intel Atom D525 platform, it has 6 bays and dual GbE ports, making it a candidate for the high end SMB market. The Pro II units introduced this year have a couple of USB 3.0 ports which the versions from the last year lacked.

The purpose of any NAS is to serve as a centralized repository for data while also having some sort of redundancy built in. The redundancy helps in data recovery, in case of media failure of any other unforeseen circumstances. In addition to the standard RAID levels, some companies also offer custom redundancy solutions. The OS on the NAS also varies across vendors.

The QNAP TS-659 Pro II runs a Linux variant (Turbo NAS v3.5 was used in our benchmarks) which can be managed through a web browser. Internally, the dual core Atom D525 runs at 1.8 GHz and has four execution threads, thanks to the hyper threading feature. There is 1 GB of RAM inbuilt, but it is possible for the end user to increase this. The dual GbE ports can be configured in multiple ways to provide load balancing or fault tolerance or just dynamically aggregating the bandwidth.

Let us conclude this section with a look at the marketing specs from QNAP:


Unboxing Impressions
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  • Sivar - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    This is always a good point to bring up. The mantra on StorageReview.com has long been, "RAID is for uptime. Backups are for disaster recovery."
  • Visual - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    How quiet is this thing?
    The only reason I would go for something like this is if it is really quieter than any file server I can build myself. It will need to be literally inaudible running 24/7 in my living room or else it will annoy me to hell some night when I decide to sleep on the sofa.

    And what are the chances for mods adding torrent clients, web/db server and other gizmos to the OS without complete wipe, keeping the current admin interface for the RAID itself?
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Very quiet during periods of sporadic data access. But, putting it through the NASPT benchmarks would cause it to whirr up and create a ruckus of sorts for some time (Around 2 - 3 minutes) before going back to the quiet period again. This would would repeat every 5 minutes or so. This is what one expects when there are 3 fans in the system in such a small enclosure.

    Final word on noise: If you are sensitive to it, don't buy it.. I think the main target of this system is at enterprise and SMB/SOHO users who don't care about noise / keep the NAS in a server room.
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    At least some of their models seem to support bittorrent:
  • chris1317 - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review. I have been using a QNAP 509 Pro for a few years now and it is a great performer. I have been looking for an upgrade though.
    It would be good if you could get a hold of the newly released models TS-879 or TS-1079. They support 10 GbE which I am really interested in.
    Also its worth pointing out about the limitations of raid5 with regard to the unrecoverable read error during rebuild that can present itself and result in a loss of data http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/why-raid-5-stops... which is why I want to go for a larger model. Allthough these models support raid 6 its tough to sacrafice 2 drives out 6 (5 in my case) for parity.
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    With the $1k price premium (859 vs 879), several hundred dollars/computer for 10GB cards, and >$10k price for a 10GB router; I'm not sure if 10GB hardware really qualifies for the small office yet.
  • chris1317 - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    lol, its for my house :) I like my gadgets, I do worry about the URE problem though.
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

  • chris1317 - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    URE (unrecoverable read error) from the article that I linked to in my first post. With drive size increasing there is going to become increasingly likely that when a drive fails and a rebuild is in progress that a seccond drive will experience an unrecoverable read error bricking the raid. The article points out that a 7 drive RAID 5 with 1 TB disks has a 50% chance of a rebuild failure due to ure with a standard 10-14 manufacturer spec for failure. Higher spec drives are available and Raid 6 helps with this as it has a 2 drive redundancy.
  • Spazweasel - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Very true about reconstruction issues. RAID rebuilding hammers a drive like little else can.

    Fortunately, the reviewed NAS supports RAID6, as well as RAID5 + hot spare and RAID6 + hot spare.

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