QNAP TS-563 NAS Review

QNAP TS-563 5 Bay NASIntel may dominate the SMB NAS appliance market but QNAP thinks there’s room for some healthy competition. This year saw it become the first vendor to partner with AMD and it followed this announcement with the launch of the TVS-x63 family.

We were impressed with its Golden Cloud TVS-863+ (add web link to review) as this gaudily clothed 8-bay appliance teams up a fine combination of value and features and comes 10GbE enabled out of the box. The TS-563 is the latest to join the AMD club and is currently the only 5-bay desktop appliance that can be upgraded to 10GbE.

Whereas the TVS series employs a quad-core 2.4GHz G-Series SoC (system on chip) with integrated Radeon HD graphics, the TS-563 sports a more basic 2GHz quad-core model. The lack of the ‘V’ in its model name means it doesn’t have any HDMI ports so you can’t attach a monitor and use QNAP’s HybridDesk Station app to turn it into a PC.

QNAP offers models with 2GB or 8GB of DDR3L and we have the latter on the bench. It supports up to 16GB using the spare SO-DIMM slot on the outside of the mainboard but we found the tight-fitting lid very difficult to remove.

Installation options

QNAP's Cloud Portal

QNAP’s cloud portal makes light work of appliance installation

For testing, we loaded up a quartet of 4TB WD Red SATA drives. Built quality comes in for criticism again as we found loaded carriers difficult to remove as their release latches slipped under the lower edge of the drive cage.

We used QNAP’s quick-start cloud portal to configure the appliance. We chose the model type, entered the cloud key provided on a label on the lid and registered the appliance with our myQNAP cloud account.

You can also use QNAP’s Finder utility as this’ll discover the appliance on the local network and set it up for you. Its handy Storage Plug and Connect feature makes light work of setting up and mapping NAS shares and creating iSCSI targets.

The TS-563 is certified for a wide range of 10GbE adapters and we fitted an Emulex OCE11102-NM fibre adapter. This is an 8X PCI-Express card which will fit in the appliance’s 4X slot but you must source QNAP’s proprietary mounting bracket for your choice of 10GbE card.

QNAP TS-563 Rear View

Mixed performance

The TS-563 delivered good speeds over Gigabit with drag and drop copies of a 50GB test file returning sustained read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec. It also handled our 22.4GB backup test folder well as its 10,500 small files were copied down to a mapped share at a speedy 87MB/sec.

For 10GbE testing, we called up an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 rack server and mapped a share from our RAID5 array over a direct fiber connection. Using 64KB transfer requests, Iometer reported raw sequential read and write speeds of 821MB/sec and 400MB/sec.

QNAP’s quoted speeds for this test using five SSDs in a RAID5 array are 819MB/sec and 551MB/sec. If you can afford them, SSDs clearly offer a superior write performance over 10GbE for the TS-563.

Real world speeds were far less unimpressive with our 50GB file copy only returning read and write speeds of 412MB/sec and 212MB/sec. Our backup test folder copy fared even worse as this averaged only 129MB/sec.

A winner for features

QNAP File Manager

The new File Manager links up with Google Drive and Dropbox accounts while Qsirch provides fast file searching tools

If features are a top priority you won’t go far wrong with QNAP. Its QTS software offers a superb range of backup tools and we had no problems using the S3Plus and Glacier apps with our Amazon Web Services account.

Its OpenStack Swift app supports plenty of enterprise cloud storage providers including RackSpace, HP Cloud and IBM SoftLayer. Creating a private cloud is a cinch with QNAP’s Qsync app which we used to sync files in real-time on our desktops with the appliance.

It’s very easy to set up as we installed the Qsync Windows component and quickly linked it with the appliance using its CloudLink name. We also tested the new Cloud Drive Sync app with our Dropbox account where we created a job that ran a continuous sync between local and cloud folders.

Other features that make the TS-563 stand out are QNAP’s Virtualization Station app which allows the appliance to host other OSes running inside virtual machines (VMs). QNAP’s Surveillance Station isn’t as slick as Synology’s app but it isn’t far behind with its monitoring and recording features, plus you get twice as many IP camera licenses included in the price.

QTS 4.2 upcoming features

During testing, QNAP released a beta version of QTS 4.2 so we upgraded the TS-563 to see what was on the horizon. First up is the main web console which gets a major design refresh.

Q'centre App

We used custom dashboards in the Q’centre app to monitor our NAS appliances

Q’centre provides a central management console for multiple NAS appliances. We could easily monitor all our appliances and create custom dashboards showing graphs of storage pool and volume usage plus appliance hardware utilization.

The updated File Manager app adds direct links to Dropbox and Google Drive accounts so you can view their contents along with those of the appliance from the same interface. Qsirch makes locating files on the appliance much easier as it provides text-based search facilities.

There’s more as Virtualization Station 2.0 and its virtual switches means you don’t have to dedicate network ports to VM usage. The QJBOD Express app also lets you migrate data to an expansion enclosure for transfer to another remote appliance.

PROS:
  • Good value
  • Decent Gigabit performance
  • Quality backup and cloud features
  • QTS 4.2 promises even more

CONS:
  • Unimpressive 10GbE performance
  • 10GbE cards require proprietary mounting bracket
  • Drive carriers can get stuck

Conclusion

The TS-563 scores well for value as it costs around $60 less than Synology’s DS1515+ and has the added bonus of being 10GbE ready. Performance over 10GbE is disappointing but QNAP delivers an excellent range of features with QTS 4.2 likely to provide even more.

8 Total Score
Excellent Features in a Value Box

The TS-563 scores well for value as it costs around $60 less than Synology’s DS1515+ and has the added bonus of being 10GbE ready. Performance over 10GbE is disappointing but QNAP delivers an excellent range of features with QTS 4.2 likely to provide even more.

Performance
7
Features
9
Build Quality
7
Usability
9
Value
8
User Rating: 4.8 (1 votes)

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