QNAP TS-853DU-RP Review

The TS-x53DU family confirms Qnap’s commitment to multi-Gigabit technology as this is yet another family of NAS appliances that comes as standard with embedded 2.5GbE ports. The range consists of four models giving you a choice of 4, 8 or 12 drive bays plus redundant power options and in this review, we take a closer look at the 8-bay TS-853DU-RP.

TS-853DU-RP front view

Click to enlarge

The first thing of note is the chassis depth of only 16.7in. so it’ll fit comfortably in a small wall-mount rack cabinet. This slimness doesn’t come at the cost of features as the appliance is powered by the popular 2GHz quad-core Intel Celeron J4125 CPU.

Base systems come with 4GB of DDR4 memory and the spare SO-DIMM slot allows it to be upgraded modestly to 8GB. At the rear you have dual embedded 2.5GbE ports and beneath these are pairs of USB 2 and USB 3.2 ports.

Further expansion is possible as it offers a spare adapter slot although as you’ll see later on, this PCI-E 2.0 x2 version has some performance limitations. Multimedia is on the menu as the CPU has an embedded Intel UHD 600 graphics processor and can pipe 4K video through to the rear HDMI 1.4b port.

TS-853DU-RP Build quality

The appliance is very well built with its solid steel shell partnered by equally sturdy metal drive carriers. The rear portion of the lid is easily removed and underneath you find a small custom motherboard with edge connectors that plug directly into the drive backplane board.

This arrangement keeps the interior very tidy as the only cables are those that connect the two rear 8cms diameter cooling fans to the motherboard. We found fan noise to be very low making the TS-853DU-RP the perfect silent partner for your office.

TS-853DU-RP Rear view

Click to enlarge

The PCI-E slot sits to the right and the proximity of the backplane board may pose card length limits. It was a bit of a squeeze getting our 168mm long Emulex dual-port 10GbE adapter into the slot but we had no problems fitting a Qnap QM2 10GbE expansion card.

2.5GbE and 10GbE performance

TS-853DU-RP security counselor app

The integral Security Counselor app uses policies to scan the appliance and help keep your data safe

For 2.5GbE testing, we connected the appliance to the lab’s Netgear MS510T multi-Gigabit switch and for our host system, used a Dell EMC PowerEdge T640 Xeon Scalable server on the switch’s 10GbE port. With a share mapped over 2.5GbE to the server, we recorded solid Iometer read and write rates both of 2.3Gbits/sec.

These held firm for our real world tests with drag and drop copies of a 25GB file returning the same read and write averages. Backup performance using a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files settled at 1Gbits/sec.

We also recorded 1Gbits/sec when copying our 25GB test file to an encrypted folder. IP SAN performance over 2.5GbE was equally sound with a 500GB target delivering read and write rates both of 2.3Gbits/sec.

Moving the test server over to a direct 10GbE connection to the appliance’s QM2 card confirmed that the PCI-E 2.0 x2 slot does indeed introduce a speed limit. We recorded read and write rates of 5.5Gbits/sec and 5.7Gbits/sec for our NAS share while our iSCSI target returned 5.5Gbits/sec and 5.6Gbits/sec. To be fair, Qnap does state that you will see a hit on 10GbE performance, but our test results show precisely what you can expect.

QTS 4.5.1 features

QTS 4.5.1

QTS 4.5.1 adds IronWolf Health Management support for Seagate’s NAS-specific SSDs

Qnap’s QTS software benefits from a continuous update process and the latest 4.5.1 introduces a number of new features. Support has been added for Qnap’s WiFi 6 adapter cards and WPA2 Enterprise for more secure wireless network connections.

The new QuLog Center app provides centralized log management, Console Management offers direct CLI (command line interface) access to the appliance and the Storage & Snapshots app extends Seagate’s IHM (IronWolf Health Management) support to its SSDs. Qnap continues to promote Fibre Channel although this won’t make any difference to the TS-853DU-RP as it doesn’t support FC adapter cards.

The Virtualization Station now supports live VM migrations from one NAS to another. However, the maximum 8GB of memory will limit the appeal of this appliance as a virtualization host.

TS-853DU-RP Data protection

The 2.5GbE ports make the TS-853DU-RP a good choice as a high-speed backup vault. QTS data protection apps include integral NAS and IP SAN snapshots on standard EXT4 volumes plus Qnap’s smart HBS (Hyper Backup Sync) 3 which manages local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups.

Hyper Data Protector app

The Hyper Data Protector app provides great data backup features for VMware and Hyper-V hosts

The revamped Qsync Central is very similar to Synology’s Drive app as it presents a range of Dropbox-like synchronization services for collaboration and file sharing. The Qsync agent provides two-way folder syncing with the appliance and Qnap offers versions for Windows and Macs plus a Qsync Pro app for iOS and Android mobiles.

The Hyper Data Protector (HDP) app extends backup and restore capabilities to VMware and Hyper-V virtualized environments. Whereas Synology’s Active Backup for Business (ABB) app keeps all server and virtual host backup management in one console, HDP opens a new browser interface.

It’s easy to use as its wizard helped us add our VMware vCenter host, view all VMs on our managed ESXi systems, create a repository on the appliance and configure backup jobs for selected VMs. We could schedule jobs to run at regular intervals, set them encrypt all transmissions and enable VMware CBT (Changed Block Tracking) while repositories can have deduplication and compression enabled for further storage savings.

Conclusion

As a general purpose rack NAS, the TS-853DU-RP ticks a lot boxes with its 8 hot-swap drive bays, dual multi-Gigabit ports and a speedy Celeron J4125 CPU. At $1,599 for diskless appliance, it’s also fair value as the price includes dual redundant PSUs.

Qnap’s QTS software is chock-full of useful apps although the maximum 8GB of memory doesn’t make it a great choice for hosting VMs and containers. It scores well as a backup vault though and, as long as you’re aware that the PCI-E slot will introduce a 10GbE speed limit, this rack NAS will make a worthy data protection candidate for SMBs.

TS-853DU-RP
QNAP TS-853DU-RP-4G Diskless 8-Bay NAS
$1,599.00
QNAP TS-853DU-RP Review
7.8 Total Score
Good General Purpose NAS

Qnap’s QTS software is chock-full of useful apps although the maximum 8GB of memory in the TS-853DU-RP doesn’t make it a great choice for hosting VMs and containers. It scores well as a backup vault though and, as long as you’re aware that the PCI-E slot will introduce a 10GbE speed limit, this rack NAS will make a worthy data protection candidate for SMBs.

Performance
7
Features
7.5
Build quality
8.5
Usability
8
Value
8
PROS
  • Dual 2.5GbE ports
  • Good 2.5GbE performance
  • Top-notch data protection features
  • Feature-rich QTS software
  • Redundant PSUs
CONS
  • PCI-E slot has 10GbE performance restrictions
  • Maximum memory only 8GB

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