QNAP TS-509 Pro Turbo NAS ReviewNemo - May 5, 2009
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RAID 5 Data Protection
One of the benefits of a unit like the TS-509 is the ability to provide data protection through redundancy offered by a RAID array. While using a RAID array is no substitute for a proper backup system, it does offer redundancy that can help protect data in the event of a drive failure. The TS-509 offers support for RAID 1/5/6 that provides redundancy either through mirroring (RAID 1) or striping with parity (RAID 5/6). In addition to the RAID levels mentioned above, the TS-509 also features RAID 5 + hot spare which allows you to designate a drive as spare drive that can automatically be added to the array in the event of a drive failure.
To test the ability of the TS-509 to survive and recover from the loss of a single drive, I first configured the unit in a four-drive RAID 5 array while designating the fifth drive as a hot spare. The TS-509 supports hot-swapping which means that drives can be removed and replaced without powering the unit down, leaving the unit operational. I simulated a failure by removing a drive tray while the unit was still powered on. The TS-509 indicates a failure in several ways. First off you notice the HDD LED indicator for the 'failed' drive is now red instead of green. The TS-509 also reports the error via the LCD panel and alerts you via e-mail.
Checking the volume using the Web UI, the system reports the hard drive failure and you can see the system has automatically begun rebuilding the array using the designated hot spare drive. Rebuilding the array is a lengthy process which can take several hours. During the repair process the volume is accessible and all files were intact with no loss of data.
IP Filter/Network Access Protection
One feature that I ended up testing inadvertently is the ability of the TS-509 to block unwanted intrusion by outsiders. After testing the FTP features of the unit, I foolishly neglected to turn off port forwarding on my router and left the unit exposed to the Internet. Fortunately it was set up in the DMZ so no other computers on my network were at risk, but sometime later when I checked my email I found a flood of e-mails from the TS-509 alerting me to failed login attempts and that the unit had automatically blocked the intruder's IP. Checking the log I saw hundreds of login attempts from a single IP address which the TS-509 had successfully blocked after the first 10 failed attempts. Thank goodness for a strong password and the intrusion prevention features of the TS-509. This is certainly a great feature to have and one that you should pay attention to when configuring the unit.
During the configuration covered in the previous pages, I managed to check out most of the features offered by the TS-509. To conserve space I won't cover all of the results beyond those already mentioned in the review. I found everything to work as designed with the exception of the drive hibernation feature which I could not get to work. Other than that one exception, I had no issues and was pleased with the way things worked. I also found the user manual to be organized in an easy-to-follow manner than closely mirrored the way the UI was configured. My only complaint would be that a n inexperienced user my find the manual lacking in detail in a few parts. However, in areas such as RAID management, RAID migration and expansion, the TS-509 offers additional online resources that explains many details a non-technical person will find helpful.