QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP review

QNAP’s NAS appliance boasts Intel's quad-core Xeon E3 processor, upgraded firmware and excellent remote management, making it a dream for SMBs.

Most small business NAS appliance vendors have been busy upgrading from Intel Atom to Core-i3 CPUs, but QNAP has leaped straight to using the quad-core Xeon E3.

The TS-EC1279U-RP is its flagship rack mount appliance and along with twelve hot-swap bays, it supports SATA III drives, is 10-Gigabit (10GbE) ready and has more storage features than you can shake a stick at.

The appliance offers four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 and two eSATA ports. The four Gigabit ports are split between an embedded dual-port adapter and a PCI-e card. A second PCI-e slot is for 10GbE upgrades and supported devices include standard single and dual-port cards from Intel and Emulex.

Hardware redundancy is good as the price includes two 600W hot-plug supplies. Cooling is handled by a hot-swap module containing three quiet fans although these are not individually replaceable so if one goes you'll have to renew the entire module.

QNAP

Along with dual redundant power supplies, the appliance has a spare PCI-e slot for 10-Gigabit upgrades

Easy installation/limited expansion

We had no installation issues as QNAP's Finder utility discovered the appliance and provided easy access to the well designed web interface. For testing, we used a quartet of 1TB WD SATA II drives and on first contact with the console, ran though a wizard based set up routine.

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Expansion is an area that QNAP needs to address as the eSATA ports are not designed to accept extra disk shelves. Users wanting to expand should check out the Synology's RackStation RS3411xs, which supports two 12-bay expansion shelves that connect over high-speed Infiniband links.

We loaded the latest QSM (QNAP Storage Manager) 3.6 firmware and configured the drives in a RAID-5 array which took around four hours to build. The storage space is available during this phase and you can enable the IP SAN service and pinch some for your iSCSI targets.

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