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QNAP TVS-863+ Golden Cloud Turbo vNAS Review

QNAP TVS-863+

QNAP makes a break from tradition by becoming one of the first NAS vendors to partner with AMD. The TVS-x63 family of four appliances sport AMD’s new G-Series embedded SoC and to make sure you can’t mistake them they’re clothed in a flashy golden chassis.

QNAP has settled on the top-of-the-line quad core 2.4GHz G-Series SoC for all four appliances which supports up to 16GB of server grade ECC DDR3. The TVS-863+ on review goes even further as the price includes a 10GbE PCI-e card.

Multimedia fans will like the SoC’s integrated Radeon HD graphics which delivers hardware accelerated transcoding for high performance media streaming. It also puts a couple of HDMI ports on the rear panel so you can plug in dual mirrored displays for high definition 1080p video (4K playback and transcoding aren’t supported).

TVS-863+ rear view

The TVS-863+ has eight hot-swap SATA drive bays and storage can be expanded as the appliance supports two 8-bay UX-800P expansion units. They connect to the main unit via USB3 allowing capacity to be pushed to 192TB but, sadly, QNAP doesn’t offer them in matching gold chassis.

Cloud driven installation

QNAP’s cloud installation routine makes light work of initial appliance setup

We had the appliance up and running in a few minutes thanks to QNAP’s cloud installation routine. The quick start web portal asked for our NAS model after which we entered the Cloud Key printed on the label on the top panel.

We then logged into our myQNAP cloud account to register the appliance and assign it a unique name for remote web access. The portal asks if you’re planning on home or business use and your answer will determine which base set of apps it preloads for you.

We loaded a quartet of 4TB WD Red hard disks and let the quick start routine create a single RAID-5 array from them. Usefully, each drive carrier can be protected from wandering fingers as they’re all individually lockable.

Performance

For performance testing, we linked the appliance over 10GbE to an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 server equipped with dual 14-core E5-2695 v3 Xeons and running Windows Server 2012 R2. With a share mapped to the server over 10GbE, we saw Iometer record raw read and write speeds of 1,067MB/sec and 630MB/sec.

Not as fast as Synology’s mighty 12-bay DS3615xs but still very respectable for an appliance costing less than half as much.

Real world performance speeds were equally good as copying our 50GB Iometer file between the appliance and server returned high sustained read and write rates of 403MB/sec and 308MB/sec. The TVS-863+ will serve you well as a backup appliance as our 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files was copied to our mapped share in only 127 seconds for an average of 180MB/sec.

For encryption, QNAP requires you to create an encrypted volume – Synology lets you create encrypted shares within volumes. Either way, AMD’s integral AES-NI engine showed its mettle with our 50GB file written to an encrypted volume at an average of 145MB/sec.

Better backup apps

There are heaps of apps available and the HybridDesk Station loads everything you need for NAS related entertainment

There are heaps of apps available and the HybridDesk Station loads everything you need for NAS related entertainment

QNAP has been working overtime on its backup apps and it now steps up alongside Synology for features. The OpenStack Swift app supports cloud providers such as RackSpace, HP Cloud and IBM SoftLayer while the S3Plus app handles Amazon Web Services.

The Amazon Glacier app worked fine with our account where we backed up data from the appliance to selected cloud vaults. There’s a lot more as QNAP has released apps for Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Azure plus the latest Dropbox app is even easier to use.

QNAP has an app for linking up with the IDrive cloud backup service but make sure you have the Web Server app enabled on the appliance otherwise it won’t work. We tested it with our IDrive account and after logging in, we could select files and folders on the appliance we wanted backed up to the cloud. A minor pain is the IDrive app lists the appliance’s Linux file structure but you’ll find your shares in the /share/cachedev1_data folder.

Virtualization and Surveillance Stations

The Surveillance Station provides good IP camera monitoring features and the feeds can be viewed from an iPad

The Surveillance Station provides good IP camera monitoring features and the feeds can be viewed from an iPad

QNAP’s Virtualization Station is quite unique as it allows the TVS-863+ to host virtual machines and run other operating systems inside them. There’s no need to upgrade memory to use it either as the base 8GB is double the minimum requirement.

To test it we created a new VM from a Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO file and had it up and running inside 20 minutes. VMs can be powered up and down from the app, it provides direct remote access to them and VM snapshots can be taken manually and used for rollback purposes.

QNAP has also updated its Surveillance Station and although not as slick as Synology’s alternative, v5.0 is a big improvement. It automatically detected our D-Link DCS-6511 dome IP camera and provided a view of the live feed plus motion detection and scheduled recording facilities while the VMobile app allowed us to remotely access the camera from our iPad.

Multimedia fans will like the HybridDesk Station portal which allows them to connect a monitor or TV to the appliance’s HDMI port and watch video and TV feeds. It worked for us and connecting a mouse and keyboard to the appliance also allowed us to directly access apps such as Google Chrome, Spotify or YouTube via the local HD Station interface and even login to the QTS admin console.

PROS:
  • 10GbE performance
  • Good value
  • Big choice of cloud backup apps
  • Virtualization Station is unique

CONS:
  • Expansion units aren’t available in matching gold!
  • HDMI ports don’t support 4K video playback

Conclusion

Along with its gold chassis, there’s a lot to like about the TVS-863+. It’s 10GbE ready out of the box and delivers a good performance while its updated apps include an excellent range of backup utilities. And with a price tag of $1,399 for a diskless model with 8GB of memory, it’s top value as well.

8.8 Total Score
The Golden Child

Along with its gold chassis, there’s a lot to like about the TVS-863+. It’s 10GbE ready out of the box and delivers a good performance while its updated apps include an excellent range of backup utilities. And with a price tag of $1,399 for a diskless model with 8GB of memory, it’s top value as well.

Performance
8
Features
9
Build Quality
9
Usability
9
Value
9
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