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Qnap TS-932X Review

Qnap’s TS-932X aims to gives SMBs more drive bays for less desktop space than anyone else. Not much larger than typical 4- and 5-bay models, it delivers a clever combination of 5 LFF and 4 SFF hot-swap SATA bays.

Representing the entry-level point of Qnap’s 9-bay family, the TS-932X sports a quad-core 1.7GHz Amazon Alpine AL-324 ARM Cortex-A57 CPU. A notable feature of this SoC (System on Chip) is its pair of high-speed 10GbE SFP+ ports although you’ll need to factor in the cost of transceivers as these aren’t included.

We have the model with 8GB of 2,400MHz DDR4 memory and Qnap also offers a 2GB model which costs $599. Both can be upgraded to the maximum of 16GB by replacing the single resident SO-DIMM module with a 16GB version – a simple process that just requires the five LFF drive carriers to be removed.

Along with dual 10GbE SFP+ ports you also get a couple of standard Gigabit ports. Three USB 3 ports are provided and the rear ones can be used to expand capacity outside the box using Qnap’s 5-bay UX-500P or 8-bay UX-800P desktop enclosures.

Good 10GbE performance

The TS-932X and its ARM-based CPU now support Qnap’s EXT4 snapshot services

For performance testing, we installed a quartet of Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf SATA drives and allowed the QFinder Pro quick start wizard to create a huge 32.7TB RAID5 storage pool. Our client system was a Lenovo dual Xeon E5-2600 v4 server equipped with an Emulex dual-port 10GbE SFP+ adapter and running Windows Server 2016.

With a share mapped directly to the server over a 10GbE fibre link, we saw Iometer record impressive sequential read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 5.9Gbits/sec – significantly faster than Qnap’s AMD-equipped TS-963X 9-bay appliance. Real world performance was also good with copies of a 25GB test file averaging read and write rates of 5Gbits/sec and 4.4Gbits/sec.

The TS-932X is a fine choice for speedy backup operations with our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured to the share at 2.4Gbits/sec – twice as fast as the TS-963X. Encryption performance was superior too, as copying our 25GB test file to a share on an encrypted volume averaged 2.9Gbits/sec although CPU utilisation did peak at 89% during this test.

IP SAN performance is up there too, with a 500GB iSCSI target returning Iometer read and write speeds of 8.2Gbits/sec and 6.6Gbits/sec. We increased the pressure with a dual-10GbE MPIO link to the target and watched read speeds ramp up nicely to 15Gbits/sec although write speeds fell slightly to 6.1Gbits/sec.

Private clouds

Backup app choices are more limited but all the important ones are available with the TS-932X

Qnap is promoting the TS-932X as a cost-effective private cloud solution for SOHOs and SMEs. The myQnapcloud app works for us as it makes the appliance available over the internet for remote access from anywhere.

A cloud account is free and we registered the TS-932X with ours using the local CloudLink service which only took a minute. Access to selected shares can be strictly controlled and you can decide which apps and services are published in the cloud.

Qnap’s free DDNS service allows the appliance to be accessed remotely using a web browser over HTTPS. Just enter the SmartURL provided when you register the appliance and it’ll present the main QTS web console with access determined by your local credentials.

The TS-932X offers private cloud backup and file sharing services with the Qsync Central Station app providing remote real-time, two-way syncing with Windows and Mac clients. The Cloud Backup Sync app extends file syncing to 11 cloud providers including OneDrive for Business while the Connect to Cloud Drive app provided quick access to all our cloud storage accounts via the File Station 5 app which can also be used to browse NAS snapshots and recover individual files.

App shortage

Register the appliance with Qnap’s free cloud account and it can be accessed remotely by authorized users

A drawback of the ARM-based Alpine CPU is its limited app availability as Qnap has written many of them only for x86 CPUs. The Storage and Snapshots app in QTS 4.3.4 now provides snapshot services on EXT4 file systems for ARM-based CPUs but it still doesn’t offer the VJBOD host feature which provides capacity expansion using remote iSCSI targets.

The TS-932X can’t run the Virtualization Station app as ARM-based CPUs don’t support the required Intel VT-x technology. Backup and sync choices are more limited as Qnap only provides seven apps or the TS-932X whereas the AMD-based TS-963X gets no less than 31 of these apps. Other unsupported apps include the Linux Station and the new QRM+ network monitoring app.

Even so, the TS-932X does deliver all key data protection features including the Hybrid Backup Sync app which centrally manages local, remote, Rsync, and iSCSI LUN backups. Qnap’s RTRR (real-time remote replication) is perfect for creating essential off-site backups as it can be used to run one- and two-way way sync jobs between folders on local and remote Qnap NAS appliances.

The TS-932X is no slouch for performance but if you feel the need for more speed, you can use the SFF bays to create a read or read/write cache and assign it to selected volumes and iSCSI targets. The TS-932X can also run Qnap’s Qtier which manages storage tiers for hard disks and SSDs, monitors storage pool activity and migrates data blocks across them based on usage.

Conclusion

The TS-932X delivers a versatile mix of LFF and SFF drive bays and great 10GbE performance at a sensible price although its ARM-based CPU does limit your app choices. If you like the look of Qnap’s 9-bay desktop appliances, we recommend choosing the TS-963X if you want the best app choices and support for NBase-T but if you want the best 10GbE fibre performance and are prepared to compromise on app availability then the TS-932X is the better bet.

8.5 Total Score

The TS-932X delivers a versatile mix of LFF and SFF drive bays and great 10GbE performance at a sensible price although its ARM-based CPU does limit your app choices. If you like the look of Qnap’s 9-bay desktop appliances, we recommend choosing the TS-963X if you want the best app choices and support for NBase-T but if you want the best 10GbE fibre performance and are prepared to compromise on app availability then the TS-932X is the better bet.

Performance
8.5
Features
6
Build quality
8.5
Usability
7
Value
8
PROS
  • Dual 10GbE SFP+ ports
  • Good value
  • Fast 10GbE performance
  • Compact 9-bay chassis
  • Snapshot support for ARM-based CPUs
CONS
  • 10GbE transceivers not included
  • Many apps still not available for ARM CPUs
User Rating: 5 (2 votes)

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