When Qnap says its TS-1635 is epic, you’d better believe it. By far its largest desktop NAS appliance to date, this mighty box offers 16 drive bays and integral 10-Gigabit (10GbE) data ports.
The TS-1635 has a similar storage setup to Qnap’s TVS-1282 range as they both provide four SFF bays for SSD read/write caches. However, the TS-1635 is considerably cheaper as instead of an
Intel Core CPU, it employs an Annapurna Labs quad-core 1.7GHz Alpine AL-514 SoC (system on chip).
The TS-1635 looks remarkably good value with the 8GB model on review costing only $1,249. You can save a further $100 by opting for the 4GB version and in both cases, memory can be boosted to a maximum of 16GB using DDR3 SO-DIMMs.
The dual embedded 10GbE ports add even more value but bear in mind these are SFP+ fiber versions. Qnap doesn’t include transceivers in the price and Intel’s 10GBase-SR 850nm modules will set you back around $195 each.
The TS-1635 uses tool-less carriers and for testing, we slipped in a triplet of 8TB Seagate NAS HDD drives. SATA SSDs were equally easy to install as our pair of 120GB models clipped neatly into the plastic SFF carriers.
The appliance has cooling sorted as the three large fans at the rear are extremely quiet. Using the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad, we recorded background noise of 39dB in the office which rose to only 46.5dB at one metre when the appliance was running.
Deployment was swift as the QFinder Pro utility spotted the appliance on the network and took us to its web interface where a wizard downloaded the latest QTS software and offered to set up a storage pool. Three options are available and we plumped for a RAID5 thin storage pool which supports multiple volumes with thin provisioning.
The QFinder Pro app also offers a number of handy tools including remote appliance power controls, firmware updates and direct media uploads. It’s Storage Plug and Connect feature helps create and map NAS shares and it’ll also set up iSCSI targets from the same interface.
Read the small print
The QTS software is undeniably feature-rich but a number of its apps don’t support the ARM-based Alpine CPU. This takes Qnap’s excellent Virtualization and Linux Stations off the menu along with the Network and Virtual Switch app plus NAS and IP SAN snapshots.
The most confusing is the VJBOD feature as Qnap’s claim that the TS-1635 supports this is slightly misleading. On x86-based appliances, this option appears in the Storage Manager app and allows you grab iSCSI targets on other appliances to expand local capacity.
This option isn’t present on the TS-1635 so you can only use its local iSCSI targets to expand capacity on other Qnap appliances that do support VJBOD. Should you need to increase capacity for the TS-1635, its USB 3 ports can be teamed up with Qnap’s 5- and 8-bay desktop enclosures.
The Hybrid Backup Sync app simplifies backup management as it controls all your local, remote, Rsync, and iSCSI LUN backups from a single interface. Installing the Cloud Backup Sync add-on also lets you manage backups to Amazon, Azure, OpenStack Swift and Google Cloud Storage from the same interface.
The Cloud Drive Sync app connects to Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive cloud storage and support for OneDrive for Business is also on the cards. Essential off-site backup to remote appliances is handled by Qnap’s RTRR (real-time remote replication) which runs one-way or two-way syncs between folders on local and remote Qnap NAS appliances.
Creating a private backup cloud is easy with the Qsync Central Station 2.0 app which links up with the Qsync desktop apps to provide two-way syncing on selected folder pairs. You can now lock down and centrally manage client settings and use team folders to share files between multiple users.
The new QmailAgent app accesses multiple mail accounts including Gmail and Outlook. We tested with our Gmail account and found it easy to use and also liked the backup facilities plus the ability to access all mail attachments from the File Station app.
Performance – could do better
We jumped straight to 10GbE NAS performance testing using a Lenovo x3550 M5 rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2 and equipped with an Emulex dual-port fiber 10GbE card. For a mapped share over a direct fiber 10GbE connection, we saw Iometer raw read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 5.4Gbits/sec.
With a dedicated share mapped to a second E5-2600 v4 rack server, we watched cumulative read speed nearly double to 18.3Gbits/sec while writes only stepped up slightly 6.3Gbits/sec. We also noticed CPU usage peaking at up to 85 percent.
We used our two SSDs to create a mirrored read/write cache but saw only small improvements. Cumulative read speeds stayed at around 18.3Gbits/sec while write speeds increased slightly to 7Gbits/sec.
Encryption performance of the Alpine isn’t great either. Using a separate encrypted volume on a WD Red NAS HDD, we recorded an average of only 1Gbits/sec for a 25GB file copy and saw CPU usage reach 94 percent.
The TS-1635 loses points for its mixed performance and lack of support for a number of QTS apps. If these are key requirements, we recommend Qnap’s TVS-1282 models as their Intel CPUs are faster and fully supportive of all QTS apps.
Nevertheless, SMBs that want a heap of desktop storage teamed up with dual 10GbE fiber ports will like the TS-1635. Even after factoring in the transceiver costs, it’s comparatively good value and would make a great network backup repository.
The TS-1635 loses points for its mixed performance and lack of support for a number of QTS apps. If these are key requirements, we recommend Qnap’s TVS-1282 models as their Intel CPUs are faster and fully supportive of all QTS apps. Nevertheless, SMBs that want a heap of desktop storage teamed up with dual 10GbE fiber ports will like the TS-1635. Even after factoring in the transceiver costs, it’s comparatively good value and would make a great network backup repository.
- Good price
- Huge storage capacity
- 10GbE fiber ready
- Extremely quiet
- QTS has plenty of backup features
- ARM-based CPU doesnt support key apps
- Poor NAS write speeds
- Low encryption performance