QNAP TS-869 Pro 8-drive office storage system review

Someday, in the near future, manufacturers will offer storage systems made of pink plastic, with a gyroscopic remote control, support for VKontakte and changeable ringtones. The interface of the storages will be bright, beautiful, it will offer news, acquaintances and information about traffic jams. The time of steel cases, powerful fans and SSH on a non-standard port will pass and be forgotten under a thick layer of marketing dust.

Someday, but not now. So far, QNAP, one of the leaders in SOHO and SMB storage networking, shows that robust server conservatism is better than reckless innovation. A well-known design, a well-known interface, huge functionality, not oversaturated with features and a traditional pricing policy - a little more expensive than analogs. Some things, including unpleasant ones, have not changed in QNAP products from the very first generation to this day, but this does not affect their popularity.

We will look for the reason for this magic of common conservatism in the 8-disk NAS for offices, model TS-869 Pro.

Package contents

The device is supplied in a medium-sized cardboard box. The printing is of high quality, the storage is protected enough.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The set is typical for this type of device. In the box, the buyer will find two LAN cables, a power cable, a CD with software, a couple of bags with the necessary bolts, a pair of keys for locks, and a user's manual.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Everything you need to "run" immediately after opening the box is present. And nothing more was expected.

QNAP TS-869 Pro Specifications

Let's list the main technical characteristics of QNAP TS-869 Pro:

Processor

Dual Core Intel Atom 2.13 GHz

RAM

1 GB (DDR3)

* Can be expanded up to 3 GB

Flash memory

512 MB

Disk space

8 x 2.5 " or 3.5 " HDD with SATA I, SATA II or SATA III interface

HDD Slots

8 x lockable hot-plug slot

Storage capacity

32 TB

Network interfaces

2 x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet

Status Indicators

Status, Power, LAN, eSATA, USB, 8 x HDD

USB

2 x USB 3.0 (Rear)

5 x USB 2.0 (Front: 1; Rear: 4)

Supported USB printers, USB sticks, USB hubs, USB UPS, etc.

eSATA

2 x eSATA (Rear)

Buttons

Power, Backup, Reset

LCD

Monochrome display for quick setup and system notifications

Buzzer

System warnings

Form Factor

Desktop

Dimensions

185.2 x 298.2 x 235.4 mm

Mass

Without hard drives: 7.3 kg

In the box: 8.6 kg

Noise level

Idle: 40.4 dB

Active: 40.8 dB (with 8 0.75 TB drives installed)

Power Consumption

Sleep: 38 W

Active: 71W (with 8 1.5TB drives installed)

Terms of use

Operating temperature range: 0 ~ 40? C

Relative humidity: 0 ~ 95% non-condensing

Power supply

Built-in power supply, 350 W

Input voltage: 100 - 240 V

Security

K-lock connector

Cooling

2 x quiet fan (12 cm, 12V)

Appearance of QNAP TS-869 Pro

The storage design is traditional for similar devices from QNAP. Strict black design, a little gray (QNAP logo, locks on trays), rounded edges, a minimum of unnecessary elements. QNAP TS-869 Pro looks strict and expensive - it is not a shame to put it not only at home, but also in the office next to the system administrator's workstation.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The front panel is not loaded with a lot of buttons and lights. Only the essentials are present. At the bottom left are the power button and a USB 2.0 port framed by a button to start a quick copy (the action is programmed in the settings, but more on that later).

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Slightly higher are indicators for power, operation status, activity of network interfaces, as well as USB and eSATA drives. On the top right is a display with only two control buttons.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Indeed, the presence of a monitor does not imply any meaningful storage management. Using the buttons, you can only select a RAID array when you first start the NAS, as well as view information about network interfaces (IP address of each network port) and firmware version.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The possibilities end there.

Each tray is equipped with a lock (two keys are supplied in the kit at once, in case one is lost), which is of great importance for an office. There is no better protection against prying handles than a lock. Of course, some RAID arrays can easily withstand a temporary removal of one or two disks, but it is better to take care of nerve cells. Moreover, in any case, the system administrator will be to blame, not the owner of these most curious pens.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The slide can be removed and installed quite easily - just pull the lever. Of course, the sled is not so easy to install with free adjacent slots, but they are fixed simply and clearly. Due to the design, situations are excluded when the slide does not reach the stop quite a bit, and the lever is already recessed.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Skids accommodate both 3.5 "and 2.5" HDD and SSD drives. The discs are secured with four screws.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

For convenience, each slide is numbered. This is necessary in case, for some reason, it was necessary to disconnect the storage and remove all the disks, and then reinstall the hard disks. To their former places, of course. This is where small stickers with numbers will come in handy. As they say - `` the devil is in the little things. ''

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Surprisingly, the casing is not full of perforations. It is present only on one side, on the side of the motherboard, and even then in a small amount. And this is easy to explain - the fans must draw in the cold outside air directly through the hard drives.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Two 120 mm fans with adjustable rotation speed were easily placed on the rear panel of the large case. Coolers make themselves felt only at the moment the storage is turned on - for a short time a howl comes from the case, but then the system pacifies their ardor and the fans become quieter than hard drives. Even in this mode, the air intake through the sled is felt - it is felt even by the hand.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The board where the SATA connectors are located has many holes for air flow. Also on the left side of the photo you can see the massive heatsinks of the motherboard.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Let's go back to the back panel. As befits a multi-disk storage, there are enough opportunities for increasing capacity using external drives. There are six USB ports, two of which are 3.0, and two eSATA ports. There are also two gigabit network interfaces, and two video outputs VGA and HDMI.

In general, the presence of VGA and HDMI ports can be perceived ambiguously. On the one hand, an attacker can gain console access to the device and at least try to enter its BIOS or change the OS boot parameters. On the other hand, the connection to the screen will allow using the QNAP TS-869 Pro for some applications, for example, video surveillance software. At a minimum, you can connect to the IP KVM server via a 3G modem and in any case, even the most extreme case, have direct access to the server in order to destroy or hide important data from prying eyes at the very last moment (well, if you understand what I mean) .

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The power supply is located on top and is cooled by its own 40 mm fan, which also operates at reduced speed and does not give out noise at all.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Perhaps, of the special interesting design elements we did not mention only the small but proud sticker "Intel Atom Inside" on the case.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Also, one cannot fail to note the large legs with soft pads designed to dampen vibrations. But running a little ahead, we note that the case does not vibrate at all even when all installed drives are working simultaneously.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

I would not be surprised if soon QNAP will release as an accessory a set of mounts for mounting their top TS-series in a rack. A serious server-side approach to design has set QNAP products apart from their peers from the outset. And it's very good that some things in this regard do not change. Let's see how the WEB-interface will please us.

Operating System QNAP TS-869 Pro

As we said above, you can use the display and two control buttons to select a RAID array at the first device initialization. Only this still does not eliminate the need to connect to the NAS via the web interface for mandatory settings (for example, creating users and differentiating access rights).

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The main menu that the user lands on is a horizontal scrolling list. From there you can go to the settings menu, file manager, access the support site or the QNAP forum.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The file manager is equipped with all the necessary functionality - copying, moving, renaming and other similar operations.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Let's try to briefly review the most interesting and significant sections of the settings menu. Of course, NAS QNAP TS-869 Pro can act as an independent file storage with its own user authentication and differentiation of access rights to shared folders.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

But as befits a business solution, QNAP TS-869 Pro integrates seamlessly with Microsoft domain and also supports Active Directory and LDAP authentication, making it easy to embed the store into an existing domain without any special efforts and even more questions from ordinary users.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Volume management allows not only to quickly and easily create a new partition, but also supports some operations with existing partitions. For example, you can add a hard drive, increase capacity, move a partition to other drives.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Many cheap NAS do not support this functionality, but QNAP TS-869 Pro allows flexible partitioning and fast file space growth.

In addition to connecting external drives via USB 2.0 and 3.0, and eSATA, QNAP TS-869 Pro, thanks to the iSCSI wizard function, allows you to connect up to eight virtual volumes (iSCSI initiators). NAS allows you to create a large number of LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) and iSCSI targets. Multiple LUNs can be flexibly connected, disconnected and moved between different iSCSI targets.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

QNAP TS-869 Pro also supports VMware and Citrix, allowing QNAP NAS to be used in virtualized and clustered environments.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The presence of two network interfaces also makes QNAP TS-869 Pro flexible to various conditions of use. You can connect your NAS to two different networks and fine-tune the services available for each. For example, leave all the necessary web services open on one network, and open only FTP and SAMBA for data exchange on the other. Or, you can connect both ports to the ports on the smart switch and configure balancing or redundancy. In general, QNAP TS-869 Pro can be tailored to specific conditions and get the functionality that the administrator needs.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

We could not pass by one more mega convenient thing - the function of fast copying from the front USB port. The usefulness is especially noticeable in a small office. For example, you can configure quick copy from media to storage to a specified folder. Or choose the reverse procedure - writing a specific folder to a USB flash drive (for example, to quickly record actual materials for presentations), or synchronize two folders with each other. Of course, this functionality can be used even at home. For example, dump photos from a camera flash drive. Truly, life is made up of little things.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

But more importantly, backing up user data. With regard to data from a PC, NetBak Replicator 4 will help with an intuitive interface. With it, you can easily set up a backup of data from a computer to the storage. But for backing up the data of the NAS itself, the Rsync protocol and RRTR (real-time replication) are offered. Again, while struggling for low load on the data transmission channel, you can adjust the bandwidth. In case, for example, if the reservation is made "out" through the 'narrow' Internet channel. In order not to deprive the poor Internet users during the backup, you can limit the speed of the procedure. It is better to wait longer than to listen to complaints from users about how slowly their pages load in contact or on classmates.

Another useful feature is HD Station. This is a set of services that the user gets access to when the display is connected to the NAS via HDMI or VGA port. At the moment, there are three of them: the Google Chrome web browser for surfing the Internet, a multi-format player for playing various content and the NAS setup menu. For control, you can connect a keyboard and a mouse to the USB ports of the drive, as well as use a remote control (an IR receiver is available on devices with a serial number like Q13xxxxxxx) or an Apple mobile gadget with the Qremote application. In addition, the XBMC Remote utility is available for the media player on both iOS and Android. What are the benefits of this? First of all, storage can be configured without using a computer. It is also possible to transfer from the storage to a large plasma in the hall, for example, a slideshow of photos of the company's products, stocks or just its employees, or a promotional video. It is noteworthy that the next version of the firmware (4.0 beta), among other things, promises to support Google Chrome in the new video surveillance station. Thus, it will be possible to display the image from the cameras on the screen, or even a video wall. Isn't it a full-fledged DVR? Of course, the ability to perform a number of tasks with one device that previously required several highly specialized devices would be a great argument when talking to accounting.

Built-in antivirus, MyCloudNAS service, Syslog and Radius server functions - we've already talked about this QNAP functionality in previous reviews. Who Can You Convince With Powerful Built-in Network IP Camera Management (Surveillance Station Pro), iTunes Server, Multimedia Stations? Photo and Music Station, DLNA media server and similar functionality? Today this is no longer a list of newfangled services that a manufacturer could pass off as trump cards. Now this is nothing more and less - a `` gentleman's set '', without which a serious manufacturer is ashamed to bring his product to the market.

P.S. By the way, the updated Surveillance Station Pro, in addition to supporting more than 1400 models of IP cameras, flexible management of events and responses (for example, you can configure sending SMS messages not only when motion is detected in the frame, but also in the event of a connection failure, etc.) has a few more important innovations. You can't tell about everything, we will probably devote this important functionality a significant part of one of our next QNAP product reviews. By the way, QNAP TS-869 Pro supports the installation of up to 16 licenses (video channels) at a time, while one is already available by default.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Generally speaking, to reveal the functionality of QNAP products in an article is a task equivalent to writing in a review what Windows can do or telling about the functionality of Microsoft Office. The already full functionality of the native operating system can be extended with third-party packages, and the most advanced users can install programs from the command line, following the instructions on the QNAP support sites.

On the other hand, Linux device manufacturers today are trying to capitalize on their own shops with paid packages. If you want a more powerful antivirus - pay, if you want a functional backup system - money on the table! In such a situation, the fear that over time everything that is needed will cost additional money does not leave me, and I am especially glad that QNAP does not go this way. You buy a server - it works, and it does it without registering, confirming the mailbox, entering credit card information and other `` joys '' modern world.

QNAP TS-869 Pro testing

QNAP TS-869 Pro is built on the basis of dual-core Intel Atom, clocked at 2.13 GHz. RAM - 1 GB, but RAM can be increased up to 3 GB by installing an additional bar. Built-in Flash-memory (on which the OS is stored) - 512 MB. Eight hard drive slots can hold up to 32 TB of storage space. Two gigabit network interfaces can be combined into a Team, thereby obtaining a two-gigabit network connection. The QNAP TS-869 Pro technical specifications give hope for high performance.

For testing, we used 1 TB Western Digital Black Raid Edition 4 hard drives. Today it is the most optimal HDD option for use in corporate NAS-ah. Firstly, thanks to the optimization of the firmware for RAID, these HDDs do not fall out of the arrays in case of media errors, that is, bad blocks. Secondly, over the years of existence, this series has proven its reliability. Thirdly, they are on the compatibility list of all storage systems for 3.5-inch drives (not counting HP, Dell, IBM, which only recognize HDDs with their own stickers). Last but not least, they are pretty darn fast and are priced on a par with regular desktop hard drives.

As a test system, we used a computer with the following configuration:

  • Intel Xeon 3220
  • 4 Gb RAM
  • Asus P5B Deluxe
  • Hitachi HDS721010CLA332 1Tb HDD 7200 rpm
  • Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Measurements were taken using SMB protocol, QNAP TS-869 Pro and the client were connected to a NETGEAR WNDR4000 gigabit router.

First of all, let's test the performance in a RAID 1 configuration (the array is created from the first two disks).

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The numbers do not stir the imagination, but by reading the network connection bandwidth limit of 100 MB/s is almost reached. The write speed does not exceed 65 MB/s.

Now we are assembling a fault-tolerant RAID 6 from four disks.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

ATTO Disk Benchmark fixes indicators up to 97 and 109 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively. This is very close to the bandwidth of a gigabit connection. Moreover, this, please note - on an array with increased reliability and complexity, RAID 6.

Finally, let's take a look at the disk system performance in a RAID 10 array.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

ATTO Disk Benchmark squeezes out the maximum that a gigabit connection is capable of - up to 114 and 104 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively. Now let's compare the performance with the hard disk of the test system.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

As we already said, on large blocks the storage performance is limited by the bandwidth of the network connection. Whatever one may say, SATA drives are faster, but the difference is not as great as when compared to SSDs. At least you can freely install programs on the NAS just like on a network SMB or iSCSI drive.

Let me digress a little. Recently I had some free days, and I decided, remembering the old days, to go through a couple of modern toys. As usual, in such cases, I download 5-6 games at once, and if I'm lucky, one of them will take more than an hour. Well, this is not the point, but the fact that my computer has an old WD Velociraptor with 300 GB installed, and there is not enough space for 5-6 games on it. In such cases, I simply allocate a hundred gigabytes to the NAS for an iSCSI partition, connect it to a computer, install games, and when I get bored, I delete the partition completely. What surprises me is the speed at which the games run when launched from an iSCSI partition. In general terms - there is no feeling of some kind of thoughtfulness, which is inherent in working via SATA. I would even say that when connected via one gigabit channel, launching a program from a SATA hard drive and an iSCSI NAS partition may differ more than launching from an iSCSI and SSD. SSDs are faster though.

Why am I all this? Besides, the majority of applications, for which working with a disk is not an end in itself, have long and successfully been able to run from network storages, via secure iSCSI or Samba protocols. You get the benefits of data security comparable to the use of virtualization tools, protection and mobility of information, comparable to the `` clouds '' in its pure form, but at the same time significantly simplify the administration of the IT park and reduce implementation costs.

Now let's take a look at more common tasks, for example, checking a large amount of information with an antivirus.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

Here we need our test folder, which contains 11520 files of various content, with a total volume of 54.2 GB. The time spent on antivirus scan correlates with the previously obtained results.

QNAP TS-869 Pro

The QNAP TS-869 Pro squeezes everything out of the gigabit connection up to the last megabyte, and it is hardly possible to physically load the power of the built-in processor by transmitting data over two network interfaces. Well, perhaps, in some specific applications for which DAS devices with Fiber Channell interface are intended.

Once again I would like to emphasize that devices of such a class as QNAP TS-869 Pro should be bought not only as a NAS, but also as a Linux machine on which you can install any additional services of your company ... From a Web server to a mail machine, to an Asterisk server, a video transcoding device and so on. The fantasy of thousands of enthusiasts adapting famous Linux applications for QNAP seems to know no bounds.

Conclusions

QNAP TS-869 Pro is up to 32TB of data collected in one of the best locations where possible. When used in a home media studio, storing media samples or rough drafts, it is quiet and energy efficient and always easy to find a place to.


In any office, this device can be found shelter and settled among people, as it is quieter than the quietest floor-standing servers Dell and IBM. On the other hand, the functionality that you get out of the box is able to satisfy the most demanding customers. Well, the ease of management, which is generally inherent in such devices, here also implies the possibility of direct console access, which can be very beneficial to beat.

You can't really say anything about performance: the total speed of two gigabit ports in this class was reached two years ago, and it's high time for these devices to have 4 or more network interfaces, or switch to 10G, but apparently we we all run into the same conservatism. As far as price is concerned, the QNAP TS-869 Pro is not a product that will herald dumping in the market. This is a product designed for a customer who knows how to count money, but is willing to pay a little more, trusting his intuition. And as a rule, intuition does not fail.

Lutovinov Maxim (aka. Kok)
17/04.2013


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