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Qnap TS-453BU-RP-8G Review

Qnap’s TS-453BU NAS appliances target SMBs looking for a slim-line solution that allows them to easily add network storage to their data rack. This 4-bay 1U high appliance has plenty of potential as it’s already certified for high-capacity 12TB SATA drives and has a spare PCI-Express slot supporting a range of expansion options including 10-Gigabit.

Businesses with data protection on their mind can rest easy as the TS-453BU-RP model on review has dual hot-plug power supplies. More importantly, Qnap has now officially released its QTS 4.3.4 software which delivers a wealth of backup and protection features including sophisticated NAS share and IP SAN snapshot services.

The TS-453BU has a capable 1.5GHz quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 CPU in the driving seat and Qnap offers models with a base 4GB or the maximum 8GB of DDR3L memory. The port count looks good as the appliance offers quad Gigabit and USB 3 plus an integrated HDMI 1.4b port at the rear for multimedia services.

If you’re thinking of using the appliance for virtualization duties, we recommend the 8GB model as this will allow you to run more VMs. Also, the 4GB model is supplied with two 2GB SODIMM modules so if you upgrade later on, these will have to be replaced.

Qfinder installation

Qnap’s Qfinder streamlines deployment and provides tools for quickly mapping drives

Qnap’s Qfinder utility makes light work of installation as it discovered the appliance on our lab network and provided quick access to its web browser setup wizard. After fitting four 10TB Seagate IronWolf NAS hard disks, we secured administrative access, chose a RAID5 storage pool and left it to download and install the QTS software.

Qfinder offers a number of other useful features as its Storage Plug and Connect option streamlines setting up and mapping NAS shares or creating, discovering and connecting to iSCSI targets. It provides direct access to shares via Windows Explorer or an FTP session, controls for remotely rebooting or powering off the appliance and a handy media upload tool.

The web console design in QTS 4.3.4 hasn’t changed much so existing users won’t have any problems. New users will find it equally easy to use with all features accessible from the main window via chunky desktop icons.

The new Qboost robot is loaded by default where it monitors system resources and warns if any are reaching their limits. Clicking on the Qboost icon brings up a list of resources plus running apps and it can quickly optimize system memory and clear out junk files.

Snapshots and Replicas

It can be slow but Snapshot Replica is a great tool for creating off-site copies of volumes.

Qnap’s snapshot technology scores over the competition as it supports standard EXT4 file systems and doesn’t require BTRFS. All drives, volumes, snapshots and IP SANs are managed from the new Storage and Snapshots app which provides plenty of information about them all.

Snapshots are easy to create and manage as you choose a NAS share or iSCSI LUN, take them on-demand or schedule them to run regularly from the Snapshot Manager. Data recovery is just as easy as we could restore entire NAS shares or individual files and recover iSCSI LUNs from selected snapshots.

The Snapshot Replica option allows volumes and LUNs to be backed up to remote Qnap appliances. We tested this with a TS-453B desktop appliance and created jobs that copied selected volumes to it and used snapshots to update them.

This feature isn’t a replacement for local snapshots which should still be run but replication jobs can tie in with them using backup plans so they run when certain criteria are met. You can view their progress from the Snapshot Replica page on the local system or the Snapshot Vault page on the remote system.

Replicas can be time consuming – our 500GB local volume initially took eight hours to create on the remote appliance over a Gigabit connection with subsequent jobs running for up to forty minutes. However, we were able to easily restore data and clone snapshots using the remote snapshot vault.

10GbE performance

QTS 4.3.4 provides some great productivity tools and improved data recovery capabilities

To test 10GbE performance, we installed Qnap’s QM2-2S10G1T card which provides dual M.2 SSD slots and a 10Gbase-T port. Note that the expansion slot on this appliance requires adapters with flat mounting brackets which are provided with the QM2 cards.

With the appliance presenting a mapped share to a Dell PowerEdge R640 Xeon Scalable Windows rack server, we saw Iometer report raw sequential read and write rate of 5.4Gbits/sec and 5.1Gbits/sec. Our real world tests returned good results with drag and drop copies of a 25GB file averaging read and write speeds of 4.9Gbit/sec and 3.7Gbits/sec.

Backup performance is a little on the slow side with our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured to the share at a modest 1.6Gbits/sec – higher-end appliances return around 2.5Gbits/sec for this test. IP SAN speeds were similar to our NAS results with Iometer reporting read and write rates of 5.3Gbits/sec and 5Gbits/sec for a 500GB target.

Overall 10GbE performance may be modest but the QTS software more than makes up this with a stunning range of new features. Snapshot support is undoubtedly its star player but you also have the updated File Station 5 which makes data recovery even easier as it allows you to browse share snapshots.

Productivity apps such as Qsirch make it easier to find files on the appliance while Qfiling keeps them all neat and tidy. The Qfile app lets users remotely access files from their mobiles and there’s even an OCR app that converts images to text.

Conclusion

The TS-453BU-RP has a lot to offer for the price making it a great network storage choice for SMBs on a tight budget. General performance over 10GbE is average but it packs a lot into its slim-line 1U chassis while Qnap’s latest QTS 4.3.4 software delivers a remarkable range of data protection features including versatile snapshot services.

8.4 Total Score

The TS-453BU-RP has a lot to offer for the price making it a great network storage choice for SMBs on a tight budget. General performance over 10GbE is average but it packs a lot into its slim-line 1U chassis while Qnap’s latest QTS 4.3.4 software delivers a remarkable range of data protection features including versatile snapshot services.

Performance
7
Features
9
Build Quality
8
Usability
9
Value
9
PROS
  • Good value
  • Feature-rich QTS 4.3.4
  • Classy snapshot services
  • Dual power supplies
  • Expansion slot
CONS
  • Average 10GbE performance
  • Snapshot replicas can be slow
  • Only supports flat-bracket adapters
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