Data servers are complicated, expensive pieces of hardware. For smaller setups such as for a home network setup or a SoHo, a more affordable and simpler solution is required.
Solution in a small box
NAS devices are ideal for such needs. The QNAP TS-210 is one such entry-level offering designed specifically for this segment.
Design and Build Quality
The TS-210 is a sleek looking NAS device that’s enclosed in a solid plastic shell. It’s sturdy and it looks good in an home or office environment but obviously, it’s not as solid as a Lian-Li made NAS device. The TS-210 can hold isn’t very bulky either but can hold two 3.5-inch drives. Another one of the reasons the TS-210 is so compact is because it uses an external power supply. It has two USB ports at the back and one at the front for quick access.
USB and network connectivity ports
A Gigabit Ethernet port is positioned right next to the rear USB ports. Cooling is taken care by a 60 mm fan at the rear of the NAS device. The base of the TS-210 is held up by thick rubber stands which are great at reducing vibrations from the hard drive. They also stop the NAS from sliding around the table should anyone tug on one of the cables.
Backup made easy
There are no displays at the front but there are activity indicators for the two drives, network connection at the front. The only other button besides the power button is the One Touch Copy Button.
The TS-210 slides open easily to allow access to the drive bay. Provision has been made for both the SATA and power connectors. Installation of the drives is simple and takes no more than a couple of minutes. We used a WD Velociraptor drive in for our review. The first set of connectors is placed in line with the back of the drive. Our WD Velociraptor specifically fit it, so we used the other set of connectors for it.
WD Velociraptor installed in the QNAP TS-210
The software installation of the TS-210 is very straight forward. An installation disc is provided which helps you locate the NAS device on your network since there are no LED displays but just indicators at the front of the device displaying the IP address. The configuration menus are done through a web browser. The installation steps are in a wizard-style and make for quick setup. The steps that need to be followed are the initialization of the drive and the firmware update which is provided on the disc, and a newer version is available on the QNAP web site. The update is completed in a matter of minutes.
Features are where the QNAP TS-210 absolutely shines. The landing page where you select the feature you want to enter – the administration panel, the download manager, the web file manager, etc is designed beautifully and can be controlled using a keyboard as well.
Login page for all of the features
Backup features are in plenty as well. Other than remote scheduled backups, you can also sync data from a connected flash drive by the press of a button on the device. The feature is very customisable and you can choose which folders should be synchronized.
The TS-210 can double up as a network security system that records video streams from supported network cameras. Power management is also possible. The ability to automatically throttle fan speed based on temperature useful so is the scheduling feature which lets you setup the NAS to startup, shutdown and restart at specified times. Reports are generated and notifications can be sent to you by e-mail or SMS if you subscribe to the online service.
One of the interesting modules of the TS-210 is the Download Station which lets you remotely add HTTP/FTP downloads and also Bittorrent downloads. The support for dynamic DNS services is also handy and makes accessing the NAS remotely very easy. The web interface works on mobile devices such as phones and tablets as well, but there’s no specially designed mobile version of the interface.
The TS-210 can act as a FTP server, a web server, an iTunes and network media server and even a Telnet server that you connect to using your administrative account. There's also support for QPKG addons which can enhance the features of the web server on the TS-210. These are available on the QNAP’s web site. For example, some of the interesting add-ons are the PS3 Media Server, eyeOS, Joomla, WordPress, Asterisk and MLDonkey. The feature list is endless.
We tried transferring test sets of 4 GB of sequential data to and from the drive. Performance on a 100Mbps network was more than satisfactory as we recorded speeds averaging 9.6 MB/s while transferring data to the NAS box. Read speeds from the NAS were somewhat slower at 8.5 MB /s.
Cooling fan to keep the temperature in check
There was no vibration or noise from the enclosure’s fan or from the drive inside. The QNAP TS-210 is powered by an 800 MHz Marvell processor and 256 MB of memory.
The QNAP TS-210 is an extremely capable NAS device that does its job extremely well. QNAP claims a maximum power requirement of 14W during operation, which is very low as compared to a computer. This would be one of the reasons you would invest in a device such as the QNAP TS-210. Priced at Rs. 18,000, it might seem like a lot considering you don’t even get a hard drive preinstalled in it. It’s priced very close to a low-end PC, but the tight software package that it comes integrated with, makes it really simple to configure and manage. With the addons available for the device, it’s also pretty flexible.
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