Review: QNAP TS-879U-RP High Performance SMB NAS
QNAP is no stranger to the storage world and with the introduction of their latest 8 bay NAS, QNAP is also hoping to be no stranger to your server room. The TS-879U-RP, much like other QNAP offerings, serves as both an IP-SAN (iSCSI) and a NAS. QNAP had already impressed us with their home or SOHO NAS, the TS-419P+. Let’s see if they can keep the magic going with their SMB NAS, the TS-879U-RP.
There have been a few changes in the latest offering from QNAP. Among those found in the TS-879U-RP is support for 6GB/s hard drives, a beefier i3-2120 processor running at 3.3GHz, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, the ability to upgrade the RAM, dual redundant power supplies, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (optional), and USB 3.0 support. The TS-87U-RP is outfitted with 512MB DOM Flash Memory, sports two Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports in the front, four USB 2.0 ports and two eSATA ports in the back. Since the TS-879U-RP is designed as a 2U Rackmount NAS, the measurements and noise created will not make this home office friendly. The unit measures 88(H) x 439(W) x 520(D) mm, weighs about 28lbs., and produces as whopping 54 dB while turned on. In other words, it sounds like a hair dryer. QNAP also outfits the TS-87U-RP with the familiar LCD Screen up front and offers many of the common setup options of your NAS from the menu functions.
The software behind the scenes that makes everything happen is the same customized Linux operating system found on other devices in their lineup. One major benefit to running this NAS is that you aren’t stifled by the same limitations as you would be had they outfitted this unit with an ARM processor. The QNAP operating software still provides the same web based GUI as the other models do, but with the latest 3.5 firmware update, the capabilities have been further enhanced.
QNAP packs FIPS 140-2 certified AES 256-bit volume based data encryption for those concerned about storing sensitive or confidential data. This type of encryption requires that a password or key is provided in order to access any of the data stored. Obtaining this level of encryption is no easy, or cheap, task for QNAP to accomplish. The testing and validation required to be certified is a necessary measure in order to have storage products sold to the Federal Government. Along with the security that encryption brings you, there still remains the ability to limit accessibility to the NAS based on IP filtering and user/group level access rights as well as policy based automatic IP blocking.
The TS-879U-RP supports up to 8 drives and can utilize all the popular RAID formats (0/1/5/6/5 + spare / 1 + 0 / single / and JBOD) along with EXT4/EXT3, FAT32, High Speed NTFS, and HFS+ file systems. Again, QNAP doesn’t restrict your RAID decisions the same way that some of the other NAS manufacturers do. If you configure your system with one variation of RAID you have the ability to migrate to another variation of RAID. This technology also gives you the ability to migrate smaller disks to larger disks over time. Once you migrate all of your older smaller disks you can perform a RAID expansion to capitalize on all of the new space. The RAID expansion takes quite a bit of time to complete, especially with large amounts of data. However, the inclusion of the faster processor will help with the expansion as the throttling QNAP built into the process for data migration is to ensure usability of the NAS during the process.
With the inclusion of and ability of iSCSI, your expanded storage needs can be addressed. You can quickly redistribute free space on the TS-879U-RP to iSCSI for server virtualization or virtual disk drives on other Servers in your environment. QNAP’s implementation does not require that you destroy and rebuild your RAID array to migrate, change, delete, or reallocate your iSCSI preferences in the same ways that some other NAS manufacturers do (see our Thecus N4200PRO review for more details). You are free to make your decisions about volume distribution up front or later on as your needs change.