QNAP TS-509 Pro Turbo NAS ReviewNemo - May 5, 2009
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The System Tools section is part configuration and part tools used to perform system functions such as backup and system management.
Back in the System Settings section of the review we saw how to set the SMTP and SMSC servers and this is where we get to use them. The TS-509 can send out alerts for various errors and warnings on the system. These alerts can be sent out via e-mail or text message or both. If you have properly set up the SMTP mail server you wish to use, you can have the system send out alerts to two different mailboxes. You can also have the TS-509 send out a test message to confirm everything is configured correctly. For system errors only, you can also have the unit send out text message alerts to two different cell phone numbers. In case you skipped over the configuration of the mail and SMSC servers the page provides links to the appropriate area in the System Settings section.
Auto Power on/off Management
This section provides a way to remotely restart and shut down the TS-509 without having to have physical access to the server. This is a very useful tool to have and it is unfortunate that it is buried so deep in the Web UI. It would have been more convenient to place it somewhere on the main page as well. You can also set various other power-related behaviors including wake-on-LAN, on power resume functions and also set a schedule to automatically shut down, restart and power on the server.
You can define how the hardware will operate including the audible system warnings and setting the idle time before the hard drives go into standby mode. Unfortunately, no matter what time period I set, I could never get the standby mode to work. I even disconnected the LAN cable to make sure there was no activity from the network hitting the hard drives. The status LED remained on and I didn't notice any change in power usage.
The TS-509 comes equipped with a temperature controlled fan which can set to automatically speed up if the system gets too warm. You can also set your own temperature trigger points to stop the fan, set to low speed and set it to rotate at high speed. During normal operations using the default Smart Fan settings, the fan fan remained on low speed which was only audible if I put my ear close to the enclosure.
In the UPS section you can set up the TS-509 to interface with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) via one of the USB connections on the rear of the device. With the power cord of the NAS plugged into the UPS you can have the server shut down after a period you specify. You can also configure the unit to go into standby mode after a set number of minutes to conserve power and have it resume once the power is restored. The TS-509 will automatically detect the UPS once the USB cable is connected.
Hard Disk SMART
The TS-509 provides access to a wealth of information on the condition of each drive through the use of Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, or SMART. This is the same set of pages we covered in the Device Configuration section earlier. Each drive can be examined at a summary or detailed level and you can run both rapid and extended tests on the hard drives. You can also set up a schedule to run the SMART tests and create an alarm setting for when hard drive temperatures exceed a given threshold.
Updating the system firmware is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished in a few steps from this page. There is even a link to the QNAP web site on the page you can use. Once you have located and downloaded the latest firmware version, you only need to browse to the location using the Browse button and then click Update System. The update will take a few minutes to accomplish and you want to make sure nothing else is accessing the system during the update process. Once the update is complete you will need to restart the system in order for the changes to take effect.
USB One-touch Copy Backup
The TS-509 has a front USB connection that can be used to communicate with a USB drive. The port in located in the lower left hand corner and just above it is the One-touch copy button. This section allows you to configure the behavior of the one-touch copy and you can set it to copy from the USB drive to the TS-509 or for the copy to go in the opposite direction from the TS-509 to the USB drive. During the volume creation process a share called /Qusb was created on the volume root and this is the default target/source share for the backups. You can have the system add a new directory for each backup or let the systems synchronize the share with the USB drive.
You can customize the front page of the WEB UI by creating and uploading your own image. The image should by 100x100 pixels and will appear next to the Welcome to Turbo NAS section on the page. In the screen shot below you can see how I added the OCC fan logo.
Backup to an External Storage Device
The TS-509 also provides the ability to backup the unit to an external storage device that is connected to one of the rear ports, either USB or eSATA. This section enables you to select which shares to backup and the target drive. The backup can be done immediately or on a schedule you define. Similar to the One-touch Copy, you can choose to copy or synchronize the shares to the external device. There is no provision for more sophisticated techniques such as differential or incremental backups. However, this will allow you to maintain a duplicate copy of all your files.
This function allows up to backup the data on the TS-509 to another identical unit. You can also enable remote Rsync so another TS-509 can back up its data to the local unit. You can create a remote replication job to run once or on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. The replication job can also encrypt and compress the data as well run an incremental replication where only the files changed since the last replication will be sent to the remote server.
Backup/ Restore/ Reset Settings
Once you have all your configuration setting set up you can back them up to an external file called backupdata.bin. You can then restore your configuration from this backup if you need to. This section will also allow you to reset all you settings back to the system default. You need to exercise a great deal of caution when using the reset feature as all drive data, accounts, groups and shares will be deleted along with any other system settings you have changed.
Setting up the IP filter allows to create a white list, only allow connections from IP addresses on the list) or a black list whereby IP addresses on the list are blocked. There are another security measures you can enable under the Network Access Protection tab where you can block IP addresses for a specified time period after a series of unsuccessful login attempts.
Network Recycle Bin
You can set up a recycle bin on the TS-509 and any files deleted from the NAS volume will be moved to the Network Recycle Bin folder. You can also use this function to delete all files in the recycle bin.
Enabling this options allows you to establish a remote Telnet or SSH connection to the server using the admin account.
QPKG is a package management system for the TS-509. You can download and install packages offered by QNAP by clicking on Get QPKG in the upper right hand corner. Once you've chosen a package to download, you'll need to unzip the file and then use the Browse button to locate the .qpkg file and use the Upload button to install the package. You'll be redirected to the System Update page described above and the install will proceed similar to updating the firmware. There are several packages that you can download to enhance the functionality of the TS-509 including XDove, a SMTP mail server, Python, WordPress, SlimServer and more.
Import SSL Secure Certificate
If you have a secure certificate issued by a trusted provider you can import it and then access the TS-509 using a SSL connection.
That's it for the System Tools section. The last area to look at are the logging capabilities of the TS-509.