Best value

Qnap TS-832X Review

Heading up Qnap’s 8-bay entry-level desktop NAS family, the TS-832X offers small businesses a more traditional storage solution to the TS-932X. Instead of providing five LFF and four SFF hot-swap SATA bays, the TS-832X dispenses with the SFF bays and ups the LFF count to eight.

The appliance employs a quad-core 1.7GHz Amazon Alpine AL-324 ARM CPU and an immediate benefit of this SoC (System on Chip) is it provides pairs of Gigabit and 10GbE SFP+ fiber ports. Our review unit includes 8GB of 2,400MHz DDR4 memory (a 2GB version is also available) which can be upgraded to 16GB using a single SO-DIMM module.

The TS-832X also scores higher for expansion potential as its larger chassis has room for two PCI-Express cards. The lower X2 slot can be used with standard adapters whereas the upper X1 slot is specifically for Qnap’s wireless card. The chassis also has an internal power supply – the smaller TS-932X requires an external PSU.

Easy deployment

Backup apps are fewer for ARM CPUs but the slick Hybrid Backup Sync app is supported by the TS-832X

For testing, we loaded a quartet of 10TB Seagate IronWolf SATA drives in the appliance’s tool-free carriers. We used Qnap’s QFinder Pro app to discover the appliance on the lab network and followed its wizard to download the latest production QTS 4.3.4 software and create a big 27.3TB RAID5 storage pool.

Qfinder Pro offers plenty of extra features to smooth out deployment 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, a handy media upload tool and controls for remotely rebooting or powering off the appliance.

The web console in the latest QTS 4.3.4 production software is well designed and very easy to use. The Storage and Snapshot app makes light work of storage pool, volume and iSCSI target creation and provides a wealth of information about storage usage.

Qnap’s snapshot technology scores over the competition as it supports standard EXT4 file systems and can snapshot NAS volumes and iSCSI LUNs manually and at scheduled intervals. The appliance also supports Qnap’s Qtier feature which manages storage tiers for hard disks and SSDs, monitors storage pool activity and migrates data blocks across them based on usage.

App availability

QTS 4.3.5 beta presents a revamped Network &Virtual Switch app and the new Notification Center

The appliance’s ARM-based CPU limits the number of available apps as many have been developed for x86 CPUs. Before buying, we recommend checking Qnap’s support site to see what is available for the TS-832X.

Unsupported apps include Qnap’s Virtualization Station as ARM-based CPUs don’t support Intel’s VT-x technology and the Linux Station is also unavailable.  There are considerably fewer backup and sync apps while others not on the menu include the new QRM+ network monitoring app and the VJBOD host feature which uses remote iSCSI targets to expand local capacity.

The good news is the Hybrid Backup Sync app is supported so you can use it to manage all your local, remote, Rsync, and iSCSI LUN backups. Private cloud features include the Qsync Central Station app which provides remote real-time, two-way syncing with Windows and Mac clients, the Cloud Backup Sync app which can sync files with a good range of cloud providers and the Connect to Cloud Drive app for accessing your cloud storage accounts directly from the File Station 5 app.

10GbE performance

The new Security Counselor in QTS 4.3.5 makes sure your NAS appliance and safe and secure

With an identical CPU and memory, it was no surprise the TS-832X delivers virtually the same 10GbE performance as the TS-932X. With a NAS share mapped over 10GbE to a Lenovo dual Xeon E5-2600 v4 Windows server, we recorded Iometer sequential read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 5.85Gbits/sec.

Copies of a 25GB test file returned fast real world read and write speeds of 4.9Gbits/sec and 4.4Gbits/sec. General backup performance is also good with our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured to the share at 2.4Gbits/sec.

IP SANs are easy to provision but they do take their toll on the appliance’s CPU as although a 500GB target delivered Iometer read and write speeds of 8.3Gbits/sec and 6.5Gbits/sec, CPU utilization peaked at 60%. A dual 10GbE MPIO link to the same target returned read and write speeds of 15Gbits/sec and 5.8Gbits/sec with CPU utilization hitting an uncomfortable 90% for the latter.

DSM 4.3.5 beta

During testing, Qnap released its QTS 4.3.5 public beta so we updated the appliance to see what’s coming up. The new Security Counselor app scans the appliance for vulnerabilities and provides sage advice on locking it down against external threats

It presents a wealth of valuable information about potential security breaches and can automatically apply one of three default security policies or a custom one for you. It also links up with the on-board anti-virus scanner and malware remover apps and ensures they are used regularly.

The Network and Virtual Switch app gets a major upgrade and now allows you to create software-defined networks for provisioning virtualized apps and containers. It’s of limited use on the TS-832X which only supports the Container Station app but it’s easy to use and presents a smart network topology map.

Seagate’s IronWolf Health Management (IHM) has been added but this is only available on ‘select’ appliances of which the TS-832X currently isn’t a member. The QVPN Service 2 app offers enhanced VPN features for secure remote access while the Notification Center provides a central platform for managing all email, SMS, IM and mobile push status alerts using rulesets.

Conclusion

Costing around $100 less than Synology’s 8-bay DS1817+, Qnap’s TS-832X looks good value and it’s a lot faster over 10GbE as well. The ARM-based CPU does mean you’ll have to compromise on app availability but this 8-bay desktop appliance is well suited to SMEs that want a high capacity backup and file sharing vault with integral 10GbE fiber ports and room to expand.

7.5 Total Score

Costing around $100 less than Synology’s 8-bay DS1817+, Qnap’s TS-832X looks good value and it’s a lot faster over 10GbE as well. The ARM-based CPU does mean you’ll have to compromise on app availability but this 8-bay desktop appliance is well suited to SMEs that want a high capacity backup and file sharing vault with integral 10GbE fiber ports and room to expand.

Performance
8.5
Features
6.5
Build quality
8.5
Usability
7.5
Value
8
PROS
  • Great value
  • PCI-Express expansion slots
  • Dual 10GbE SFP+ ports
  • Good overall 10GbE performance
  • Solid build quality
CONS
  • App shortage for ARM CPUs
  • IHM not currently supported
User Rating: 4 (1 votes)

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Kvu September 15, 2018 at 3:39 am

    Great review! Would be awesome if you could review the ts-873 sometime…

    • Reply
      Editor November 1, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks! Soon

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