QNAP's latest dual drive NAS appliance aims to deliver affordable IP SAN features to home and small business users but also adds a lot more to the storage melting pot. You get the new Surveillance Station and AES-256 volume encryption features but, more importantly, the latest firmware revision introduces QNAP's snazzy new Ajax- based web interface.
The chassis doesn't see too many changes from the older TS-209, so you get the same pair of sturdy hot-swap hard disk sleds, a single Gigabit port and three USB 2.0 ports for adding external storage and sharing printers.
Performance gets a boost as the 500MHz SoC (System on Chip) in the TS-209 is replaced with a 1.2GHz Marvell whilst the system and flash memory get doubled to 512MB DDR2 and 16MB respectively. RAID support extends to stripes, mirrors, linear disks and JBODs and for testing we popped in a couple of 1TB WD GreenPower SATA drives and saw a mirror take just over four hours to create.
The new hardware package delivers in the performance stakes as the TS-219 is much faster than its predecessor. Using a Broadberry CyberServe server equipped with dual 2.8GHz X5560 Xeons and 12GB of DDR3 memory we recorded read and write speeds of 50MB/sec and 27MB/sec with drag and drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip.
We found QNAP's quoted FTP write speeds of 45MB/sec to be slightly optimistic with the FileZilla FTP client reporting an average of 36MB/sec when copying the video clip to the appliance. Read speeds are pretty much on the money, though, with FileZilla returning averages of around 73MB/sec.
With QNAP's Finder utility on the case, installation won't take long as it hunts down the appliance on the network, loads its firmware and provides quick access to its web interface. And what an improvement it is, as it opens with a slick Apple iTunes-style cover flow menu for accessing management, shared folders, the surveillance station, support and forums. Moving into administration delivers a well-designed interface that's not too dissimilar to that provided with Synology's latest NAS appliances.
You get a tree menu to the left providing swift access to each feature, which you configure in the main pane opposite. Client support extends to Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac users whilst for access security you can use the local database or integrate the appliance into an AD domain. Storage usage can be strictly controlled with a global quota for all users and you can also apply individual limits as well.