Best Value

Qnap TS-1263U-RP Review

TS-1263U-RP front

SMBs considering the move to high speed 10-Gigabit (10GbE) networking will find Qnap’s latest TS-1263U-RP NAS appliance could be the perfect storage partner. Along with a fine range of features, it’s the first NAS appliance to come with a 10GbE SFP+ fiber adapter included in the price.

This 2U rack mount appliance is the flagship of Qnap’s new TS-x63U family and value looks even better as along with 12 hot-swap SATA drive bays, it includes dual 250W hot-plug PSUs. There’s more as the entire range employs AMD’s 2GHz GX-420MC SoC (system on chip) which has quad cores and support for DDR3-1600 memory.

Build quality is beyond reproach as the appliance uses a solid steel chassis and metal drive carriers. With a low 17.6W TDP, the AMD CPU makes its mark in the cooling department as the appliance only uses two internal fans and consequently runs very quietly.

The appliance comes with a single 4GB SO-DIMM module and you can upgrade to the maximum 16GB supported by the CPU. There are only two SO-DIMM slots on the motherboard so you’ll have to replace the 4GB module to achieve this.

TS-1263U-RP backExpansion issues

The appliance is supplied with Qnap’s own LAN-10G1SR-D single-port 10GbE card but the price doesn’t include a transceiver. You’ll need to source this yourself with an Intel 10GBase-SR 850nm transceiver module costing around $195.

The motherboard has a single PCI-Express expansion slot so there isn’t any room to add more. This has an impact on external expansion potential as the TS-1263U-RP can only use its USB 3 ports for this purpose.

It supports a single 8-bay UX-800U-RP or 12-bay UX-1200U-RP USB 3 expansion shelf so you could max out at 24 drives, Using 8TB hard disks gives you very usable total capacity of 192TB but as the shelf is only connected via a single USB cable, you don’t have link redundancy.

Under new management

Qnap’s latest QTS 4.2

Qnap’s latest QTS 4.2 delivers a superb range of cloud backup capabilities

For testing, we loaded up a quartet of 4TB WD Red NAS Pro SATA drives, fired the appliance up and used Qnap’s cloud discovery portal. After entering the unique key code printed on the lid, it requested access to our MyQnapCloud account so it could configure DDNS and remote access.

The quick start wizard secured administrative access, set up the first network port and allowed us to create a RAID5 storage pool with all hard disks. On first contact with the QTS web console, it checked the firmware status and downloaded the latest version 4.2.

The new Q’centre app will appeal to businesses with multiple Qnap appliances as it allows them all to be centrally managed from a single console. Custom dashboards can be easily created and offer graphs showing areas such as storage pool and volume usage plus appliance hardware utilization.

Even better, you can now host Q’centre separately as Qnap offers it as VMware and Hyper-V virtual appliances. Using a Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V host, we imported the free VM and could see from its web interface that it provided the same features as the on-appliance version.

Q’centre management app

The Q’centre management app can now be hosted as a separate VMware or Hyper-V VM

Snapshots and performance

When configuring your storage choose thick or thin volumes (and not static) as these both support snapshots. The QTS Snapshot Manager app makes light work of creating them where we could run them on-demand or schedule them at regular intervals for both NAS volumes and iSCSI LUNs.

Selecting scheduled smart snapshots saves on space as they’ll only be taken if data has changed since the last one. We found it equally easy to recover data as we viewed our snapshots and could run a full recovery using the Revert option or view NAS share contents and restore individual files.

The TS-1263U-RP also delivered a fine performance and we tested a share mapped to an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 rack server over a direct 10GbE fiber link. Running Iometer on the share returned good raw read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 5Gbits/sec.

We found real world NAS performance equally impressive with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file delivering sustained read and write averages of 414MB/sec and 315MB/sec. The appliance also works well as a backup target with our 22.4GB test folder and its 10,500 small files secured to the share at an average of 183MB/sec.

PROS:
  • 10 GbE-ready
  • Dual PSUs
  • Fantastic storage features
  • Good value
  • Decent performance

CONS:
  • Limited expansion
  • You’ll need to buy a 10 GbE transceiver

 New cloud features

QNAP TS-1263 File Station app

The new File Station app remotely links up with a good selection of cloud storage providers

Qnap has a sharp focus on the cloud as the File Manager app now supports remote links to cloud storage providers. We needed to install the Connect to Cloud Drive app first and then we quickly linked File Manager to our Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox accounts where we could view their contents, download files or upload new files to selected accounts.

Cloud backup support doesn’t get any better with free apps available for Microsoft Azure, Amazon Glacier, Google Cloud Storage, OpenStack Swift and many more. We also used the Backup Station app to connect to our Amazon S3 account and schedule regular backups to it.

The new Qsync Central Station app is ideal for workstation backup as users can link up with authorised shares on the appliance and synchronize folders with them. They each need the Qsync Windows app installed locally which provides a direct link to the File Manager app web console for simple file and folder restoration.

Conclusion

The TS-1263U-RP offers SMBs a low cost entry into 10GbE storage networking. You’ll need to factor in the cost of a 10GbE transceiver but this 12-bay appliance still represents comparatively good value for money.

The AMD SoC keeps power consumption to a minimum and it delivers an impressive performance over 10GbE. Expansion is limited to a single disk shelf but Qnap’s QTS firmware won’t be beaten for features and offers a superb range of cloud backup services and slick centralized management.

8.8 Total Score
Low Cost 10GbE Entry

The TS-1263U-RP offers SMBs a low cost entry into 10GbE storage networking. You’ll need to factor in the cost of a 10GbE transceiver but this 12-bay appliance still represents comparatively good value for money. The AMD SoC keeps power consumption to a minimum and it delivers an impressive performance over 10GbE. Expansion is limited to a single disk shelf but Qnap’s QTS firmware won’t be beaten for features and offers a superb range of cloud backup services and slick centralized management.

Features
8
Features
9.5
Build Quality
8
Usability
9.5
Value
9
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