Qnap TS-EC1679U-RP review

Qnap’s latest 16-bay rack NAS appliance is aimed squarely at storage hungry businesses. Our lab tests show its Xeon E3 processor, server grade DDR3 memory and 10-Gigabit support deliver high-end performance.

Excellent performance

For testing we called up a Broadberry 2U rack server equipped with dual 2.6GHz E5-2670 Xeons. This was running Windows Server 2008 R2 and we used its embedded Intel 10GbE ports to connect to the appliance.

NAS performance is exceptional with Iometer reporting a fast 795MB/sec raw read speed for a mapped share. We then connected a Dell PowerEdge R515 server to a dedicated 10GbE port and with both servers in the mix, Iometer returned a cumulative speed of over 1,550MB/sec.

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Qnap quotes up to 2,000MB/sec and 200,000 IOPS (I/Os per second) for this appliance but you can't have both at the same time. A high MB/sec throughput requires large block sizes which translates to lower IOPS.

Qnap TS-EC1679U-RP - 2

IP SANs are easy to create and we found these delivered quick results in our 10GbE lab tests

To achieve 795MB/sec on the Broadberry server required a 256KB Iometer transfer request size and this returned 3,180 IOPS. Changing to a 4KB request size saw IOPS leap to 36,000 but throughput fall to only 139MB/sec.

Nevertheless, real world performance over 10GbE is excellent with copies of a 2.52GB video clip between the Broadberry server and appliance delivering read and write speeds of 323MB/sec and 286MB/sec. FTP speeds were slightly faster with the FileZilla client reporting 368MB/sec and 344MB/sec for the same file.

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Small files were also handled well as our 22.4GB test folder containing 10,500 files was shifted across to the appliance at an average of 172MB/sec. You won't be disappointed with Gigabit performance either as our copy tests returned speeds as high as 109MB/sec.

Extensive feature set

You'll be hard pushed to find a NAS appliance with more features. The v3.6 firmware upgrade brought in proxy, LDAP, Syslog and VPN servers plus integral anti-virus scanning on selected shares.

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Cloud backup services work well with support for the Amazon S3, ElephantDrive and Symform services. And then there's Qnap's own MyCloudNAS hosted service which we looked at in depth in our review of Qnap's TS-559 Pro II.

Qnap's Connect Windows app makes light work of creating PPTP VPN connections to the appliance. Security is tight as you can decide which users may access this feature and you can now send email invitations that contain links for downloading the app and the URL of the appliance.

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Support for hosted cloud backup providers includes Amazon S3, ElephantDrive and Symform

IP SAN features are just as good with support for up to 256 LUNs, thin provisioning and automated LUN backup. We found performance over 10GbE extremely good with our Broadberry server reporting top speeds of 1125MB/sec for a 100GB target. Dropping the Iometer request size from 256KB to 4KB saw IOPS leap to 62,000 with throughput falling back to 235MB/sec.

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One criticism is the lack of support for external expansion units as the eSATA ports are not designed to be used for connecting disk shelves. Synology has the edge here as its 10-bay RackStation RS3412xs sports a pair of high-speed Infiniband ports specifically for connecting two 12-bay expansion units.

Overall

There's little not to like about the TS-EC1679U-RP although you may want to consider the Thecus N16000 which is cheaper and supports 6Gb/sec SAS and SATA drives. However, it also can't be expanded outside the box and 10GbE support is limited to Thecus' own C10GT PCI-e card which has CX-4 and SFP ports.

The TS-EC1679U-RP is the better choice for businesses looking for a heap of low cost, high capacity SATA storage and want to present NAS shares and iSCSI targets over multiple, load balanced 10GbE connections. Cloud backup support is extensive and it can't be faulted for performance.

Verdict

Qnap’s latest NAS appliance has every storage angle covered and is a great option for businesses looking for a high storage capacity. It offers a good hardware package for the price whilst NAS and IP SAN performance over 10GbE is impeccable.

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Chassis: 3U rack

CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Xeon E3-1225 quad-core

Memory: 512MB ROM; 4GB DDR3 upgradeable to 16GB

Storage: 16 x hot-swap 3.5in/2.5in SATA II/III drive bays

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6, 5/6/10 + hotspare

Network: 4 x embedded Gigabit

Other ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 2 x eSATA

Expansion: 2 x PCI-e slots

Power: 2 x 600W hot-plug supplies

Management: Web browser

Software: Qnap Finder, NetBak Replicator 4 and Qget software

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