QNAP TS-459U-RP Turbo NAS Reviewhardnrg - July 22, 2010
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Before undertaking the review, I studied the product pages for the QNAP TS-459U-RP, and still did not expect to see the sheer number of settings and options available. At times, I was pleasantly surprised to see handy unique features like ISO mounting, and at other times I was taken aback by advanced multimedia serving abilities like the UPnP Media Server and IceStation Internet Radio streaming server. I was fully expecting the NAS to cover all the corporate and web server needs, and suspected that QNAP would include the same features as the line of NAS products aimed more towards the home/business market, but I am still in awe of the TS-459U-RP's ability to seemingly do everything. Additional and improved functionality is made possible through the regular firmware updates and QPKG add-on packages, which are listed in the live web feed on the WebUI home page.
The QNAP WebUI is very well presented and laid out, with great navigation, and a fully comprehensible interface that provides all the information and feedback you could possibly need to know. It is made easier still with many step-by-step wizards to guide you through the various aspects of setup and configuration. I would go as far to say that you could use the NAS without a manual if you were at least slightly familiar with network and disk configurations.
As well as the selection of RAID configurations, the TS-459U-RP has a number of fail-safes to ensure data integrity. These include backup to external USB storage and remote servers, redundant power supplies, and UPS-triggered controlled shutdowns over the network.
The price may be cost-prohibitive for domestic users, but this NAS is really targeted to the business markets. I think the features of the TS-459U-RP reflect this, and most home users would not really use enough of the options to justify the price. Conversely, the low-power design could quite quickly pay for itself in terms of savings on the electricity bill when compared to a computer or general-use server running 24/7. With its ability to serve multimedia to a wide range of devices including the iPhone, PSP, Xbox, etc., the TS-459U-RP could well be a centralised media server in a modern home with a variety of electronic devices.
For its intended market, I think the TS-459U-RP would integrate very well into existing network infrastructures, and could also act as the main data server for new businesses, as it can be expanded internally (hard drives), externally (USB/eSATA), and remotely (network shares, iSCSI). QNAP's Website FAQs, Wiki pages, and forums, prove to be rich sources of information when you need help, in addition to the direct support available via the online web form, email, Skype, MSN, and of course, telephone. The TS-459U-RP has unique features that are not available from any other manufacture. The sheer number of features, consistent high performance, and advanced user interface mean the shortcomings of the PC-based applications are not an issue; so I really have to give this product the highest award possible
- Consistent, high performance, especially RAID-5 writes
- Low power consumption during normal operation, with options for further power saving
- Large number of features, many of which cannot be found on competing NAS products
- Very well presented, comprehensible WebUI, with plenty of live-update information/feedback and easy-to-use wizards
- Caters for home and server markets, in terms of features, network protocols and file systems
- JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/5+hot-spare/6+hot-spare support
- Redundancy of power, and support for networked control of UPS devices
- Portal folders (remote shares) and virtual disks (remote iSCSI) make the NAS a top-level centralised network storage server with the ability to serve disk capacities far beyond its internal disks
- External USB sharing and backup simplify storage expansion and backups of the internal disks
- Regular firmware and add-on package (QPKG) updates provide improved performance and additional functions and embedded applications
- Accompanying PC applications are somewhat functionally limited, with a basic user interface