Network access storages are ideal when high amounts of data need to be dumped on and retrieved from a server. Besides that, they do provide a range of back up and security options that might be essential for home and small business users. They’re also simpler and cheaper to run than large-sized servers. QNAP have launched their new TurboNAS TS-459 Pro II in the market and here’s what we think about it.
Design and Build Quality
The QNAP Pro II has a dual-tone finish of Black and Gray. It’s got a metallized Black and a plastic front that houses the display LCD and four lockable hard drive slots. The build looks pretty sturdy and it’s got a whole range of connectivity solutions in the relatively tiny rectangular box.
Small, but powerful
Moving on to the software bit, the web interface occupies a big chunk of the usability of the NAS and it’s pretty well-built. The interface is neat and the home screen consists of sliding windows for various options like administration, web file manager and server. The icons in the subsections are large and colourful and the interface is a big improvement from the really poor ones you generally see on routers and network devices. The design is intuitive and easy to understand, even for new comers.
Hardware and Software
The hardware running the QNAP TS-459 Pro II consists of an Intel Atom 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which is expandable up to 3GB. As far as software is concerned, the NAS works on an embedded Linux operating system, so all the internal HDDs will be formatted with the EXT3, EXT4 format.
Setting it up
Setting up the device is fairly simple. Unlock the drive slot, check the alignment for connection, place the drive in the slot and lock it. It takes a little while (5 minutes) to boot up the first time and load its drivers following which it displays its IP address. Administrators need to log in and set up the device via the setup wizard, thereafter. It’s easy to create users, and user groups with a high level of customization for them. Quota settings are disabled by default and you’ll have to go to the Rights management section to enable them. Folder sharing over the network has three options – read, read/write and deny access, so the admin can select which data can be accessible to which user.
A host of connectivity options on the back
The NAS is pretty much loaded in terms of connectivity options. The front consists of a USB 3.0 slot and a power on button. The back houses quite a few connectivity options, including four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, two Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, two eSATA ports, the Kensington lock and the VGA port. The cooling fan vent is housed at the back, as well. Notification LEDs for LAN, USB, eSATA and Status are located right underneath the display. There are two buttons, Enter and Select to navigate through the onboard interface for the drive. The NAS has an option of adding a Wi-Fi module via the USB slot for wireless access. Disk management choices include RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10.
Network and Security
The QNAP TS-459 supports IPv4 and IPv6 networking with the Dual Gigabit NICs. Automatic DHCP client and network service discovery is allowed for UPnP (for PC) and Bonjour (for Mac). Wireless LAN is supported via USB. Network file sharing supports CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP and WebDAV protocols.
Security options are pretty much covered with IP filtering, encrypted access for HTTPS, FTP and Remote Replication, so your data won’t be compromised. There’s AES 256-bit Volume-based encryption, so all the content on your hard drive sits pretty safe.
It has an AJAX-based user interface, so all updates are possible in real time, HTTP and HTTPS connections are supported for secure hosting. Remote access is possible with their own MyCloudNAS service.
There’s a separate Multimedia Station tab for all media needs. All your media that has been dumped on to the hard drive can be viewed via the web interface. There’s an in-built transcoder for playing back AVI, MPG, M4V and other video formats and all this can be accessed via the web interface. The company’s got a mobile app for Android and iOS users that will allow them to wirelessly access the data on the QNAP. Gaming consoles like the PS3, Xbox 360 and PSP can access media from the NAS, as well. Below is a snapshot of their mobile app.
The Mobile App
The NAS supports the FTP, Telnet, SNMP, CIFS, SMB, AFP, HTTP and HTTPS file sharing protocols. Image mounting is possible, as well because the QNAP supports ISO files.
The Home screen interface
The options out here pretty much cover all download types – FTP, HTTP, torrents and Rapidshare. Advanced options allow users to select exactly how many minutes of download time should be made available, the maximum number of concurrent downloads. Like torrent applications, bandwidth caps can be put on download, as well as upload rates. Downloading via RSS feeds is supported as well.
The procedure for setting up a download is pretty simple. You need to enter the URL of the download task and the interface accepts multiple URLs, as well. For using Rapidshare though, you’ll have to be a registered user, as download waiting times aren’t supported.
The backup options include cloud storage and real time remote replication, which means replicating files of a local folder to a folder on a remote server and backing up data to an external disk. The USB One Touch Copy button that’s located on the front, can be used as well. The web interface allows users to select which will be the primary disk (the disk that will send the data) and which will be the secondary (the disk that will back it up). However, there are no real time backup possibilities with the One Touch Copy.
For Mac users, the Time Machine backup facility is available with options to choose which drive has to be included/ excluded in the backup.
Miscellaneous features includes an Antivirus
TS-459 supports surveillance features so CCTV cameras can dump their live video feed onto the server. It allows printing via USB or LAN. Power options included support for UPS so if the AC power fails, then the server gets safely turned off without any loss of data. Power Management supports a maximum of 15 connections for scheduling purposes. The QPKG plug-ins allow users to easily install third party plug-ins such as WordPress. The company has provided a MyCloudNAS service that’s basically a cloud service for accessing your data from multiple devices. There’s antivirus support, but it’s not on a real time basis.
The QNAP doesn’t come with a power supply of its own. However, it supports connectivity with UPS systems. The maintenance section gives a log of the CPU usage, the total memory, free memory available and the temperature of the various hard disks in the NAS. It also gives a listing of the currently active services. The Resource Monitor function computes a graph of the memory and disk usage so you can have an overview of the complete working status.
The hard drive needs around five minutes to boot up the first time to load its drivers and displays its IP address thereafter. 2GB file uploading gave us a speed of 4.16 MB/s and downloading gave us a speed of 4.22 MB/s on a wireless network. A wired connection provided a download speed of 7.8 MB/s and an upload speed of 11.01MB/s. The features pretty much cover everything the device has to offer and the only minor con is that the cooling fan is a little noisy, so you might have to keep the NAS in some secluded place.
The QNAP TS-459 Pro II
The QNAP TS-459 Pro II is priced at Rs. 59,000. It’s clear to see what the target audience for this device is – a small office user like a web development or media firm can use this device to complement their main server, or even as a standalone device. The applications for the NAS might also range from personal usage to assisting surveillance cameras, as well. It’s got a whole variety of features, does its job pretty well and is quite worth the investment .
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