Review: QNAP TS-879U-RP High Performance SMB NAS
Keeping your data available at all times is an essential aspect of the SMB. The TS-879U-RP features dual Gigabit NICs for various types of networking. Not only do you have the ability to bond the network cards, you also have the ability to run the NICs in failover mode, or even run them on separate subnets. The various networking configurations are: Balance-RR (Round-Robin), Active Backup, Balance XOR, Broadcast, IEEE 802.3ad, Balance-TLB (Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing), and Balance-ALB (Adaptive Load Balancing).
To help manage the system, QNAP bundles features like:
- Instant SMS, Email and Windows Live Messenger Alert: Configure the SMTP server, SMS server, and Windows Live Messenger account settings on the TS-879U-RP in order to receive instant system warning or error messages by email, SMS and Windows Messenger.
- SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol): Collect the information, warning, or errors of the TS-879U-RP and send warnings up to 3 SNMP servers for centralized management and real-time monitoring.
- Wake on LAN: Enable this option to power on the TS-879U-RP remotely by Wake on LAN. Wake on LAN helps the administrator manage the NAS conveniently.
- Scheduled Power on/off: Create schedules to automatically turn on, turn off, or restart the TS-879U-RP. Up to 15 schedules can be set.
- S.M.A.R.T. & Advanced Hard Drive Health Scan (HHS): Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) helps the administrator monitor hard disk status. Moreover, the TS-879U-RP supports Hard Drive Health Scan (HHS) for disk checking and bad blocks scanning.
- Comprehensive Event Logs: Detailed logs of file-level access to the TS-879U-RP via Samba, iSCSI, FTP, AFP, HTTP, HTTPS, Telnet, and SSH, and networking services accessed by online users can all be recorded.
- Available QPKG Software Plugins: Maximize the usage of the TS-879U-RP by installing additional QPKG software plugins developed by the users and communities worldwide.
The feature set of the QNAP operating system is very complete and can be further enhanced by the QPKG software plugin system. The additional software packages include things like PHPMyAdmin, Joomla, WordPress, OpenLDAP, eyeOS, Tomcat, and more. These packages are developed by the vast community of QNAP users, approved by QNAP, and really extend the capabilities of the NAS beyond just simple file serving. A previous gripe of mine was that there was no ClamAV package available for the NAS, but the updated 3.5 firmware addressed this by integrating the AV application directly.
While the administration interface is laid out in a clean manner, there are still some glaring issues that QNAP needs to address. The GUI welcomes you to a page that offers some quick links to some tasks that one may perform regularly and a news feed that will keep you abreast of the QNAP system changes and product enhancements. My main issue with the choice of welcome screen icons is that they shouldn’t be there at all. The welcome screen should offer valuable information and not just links to valuable information. Had QNAP integrated some of the information you find in the resources tab at “hello,” there may actually no longer be a need to dig through menus just to find out what is going on with the NAS. The idea of the informative welcome screen would include things like: users online/logged in, volume usage, memory usage, processes running, log information.
Setting up shares on the NAS is still easy, but the advanced permissions leave a bad taste in my mouth. With the default configuration of the NAS, groups are created and permissions on shared folders are applied through these groups. With the implementation of “Advanced Options” you can set user defined permissions on folders. The limitations here are a bit confusing and somewhat cumbersome to navigate. A user inherits permissions from the top level share and any special permissions on sub folders are overridden by these. Also, setting these permissions on a user by user basis takes a lot of time to replicate through the directory structure and files. I set specific user permissions on my Music share containing 44,746 files and it took more than an hour to complete. This is in stark contrast to the flexibility and speed of permissions in Windows Server 2008 R2; I can set user permissions on shares very quickly and have more flexibility with Folders and Sub-folders than I can on the TS-879U-RP.
Since we are in the business of seeing how well things perform, we decided to run the NAS through our normal gamut of tests. For benchmarking, the following setup was used:
- 7 x HDS5C3020ala632 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s HDDs in RAID 5
- 1 x HDS5C3020ala632 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s HDD single drive for Backup
- Single Network Interface
- Gigabyte 880GA-UD3H
- AMD Phenom II X4 965
- 2x2GB Patriot Sector 5 PC3-12800
- Seagate 500GB ST3500630AS
- Lian Li PC-6 (click to read our review)
- BFG LS-450
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Gigabyte GA-EP45UD3LR
- Intel Core 2 Duo E7400
- 2x2GB Corsair XMS2 CM2X2048-6400C5
- Hitachi HDS721010KLA 1TB HDD SATA 3.0Gb/s (OS Drive)
- 5x Hitachi HDS72202ALA330 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s (Hardware RAID 5)
- Lian Li PC 75B
- OCZ GameXStream 850W PSU
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- 2x 120mm Antec Fans
- 4x 80mm Panaflo Fans
- D-Link DGS-2208 Gigabit Switch
- Cat5e everywhere
- Jumbo Frames: 9014 Bytes (matches all systems on our network – including NAS)