QNAP makes a bold move into enterprise all-Flash storage territory as its TS-h2490FU delivers a high-performance NVMe SSD solution with a price tag low enough to give the blue-chips a few sleepless nights. Along with support for 24 U.2 NVMe SSDs, the TS-h2490FU is equipped with a hardware specification that defies belief.
QNAP offers three models and on review, we have its flagship TS-h2490FU-7302P-128G. It’s driven by AMD’s latest 16-core 3.0GHz EPYC 7302P Gen2 CPU partnered by a generous 128GB of DDR4 memory which can be expanded enormously to 4TB.
The appliance presents two embedded 2.5GbE multi-Gigabit ports and value looks even better as the price includes a pair of dual-port 25GbE PCI-E network cards. There’s room for further expansion too, as even with the 25GbE cards in residence, you have three spare PCI-E slots and they are all the latest Gen 4.0 versions.
At the heart of the TS-h2490FU is Qnap’s QuTS hero 128-bit ZFS-based OS which has a keen focus on data integrity and protection. It offers a wide range of features including deduplication, compression, near-unlimited NAS and iSCSI LUN snapshots plus end-to-end checksums for transparent self-healing of data corruption.
TS-h2490FU Build quality and design
The TS-h2490FU exhibits great build quality with the appliance clothed in a sturdy steel shell. Along with the 24 SFF hot-plug bays at the front, the rack ears have metal release levers and the right-hand one fits over the power button to protect it from being accidentally pressed.
The appliance uses metal drive carriers and for testing, we fitted a full house of Western Digital’s UltraStar DC SN640 U.2 NVMe SSDs. They make ideal partners for the TS-h2490FU as these mixed-use SSDs have a PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface and are aimed squarely at performance–oriented enterprise workloads.
Upgrades and maintenance tasks are simplified as the motherboard is fitted on a removable tray. Just release two thumbscrews, pull down the release level and the entire assembly slides out at the back for easy access to all components.
The EPYC CPU is fitted with a large passive heatsink and flanked on each side by eight standard DIMM slots. All cooling is handled by a bank of four cold-swap fans with their metal housing also mounted on the motherboard.
TS-h2490FU-7302P-128G IP SAN 25GbE performance
For IP SAN performance testing, we used a Tyan Transport HX TS75-B8252 rack server equipped with dual 32-core 2.4GHz AMD EPYC 7532 CPUs, 1TB of DDR4 memory plus two dual-port Qnap 25GbE cards and running Windows Server 2019. Over at the appliance, we created a 2TB iSCSI target and initially mapped it to the server over a single 25GbE connection using a 1 metre SFP28 DAC (direct attach cable).
We configured Iometer with 512KB block sizes, 16 disk workers and a queue depth setting of 32. Test results looked great with Iometer reporting raw sequential read and write rates of 23.1Gbits/sec and 22Gbits/sec.
Swapping to 4KB block sizes, we saw good I/O throughput as after leaving each test running for a few hours, we recorded random read and write throughputs of 157,100 IOPS and 130,100 IOPS. We then ramped up the pressure by creating a quad 25GbE MPIO link to the same iSCSI target and saw sequential read and write rates increase to 77Gbits/sec and 74.9Gbits/sec.
With 4KB Iometer blocks set, random I/O throughput increased to 334,352 IOPS and 189,900 IOPS. A point worth mentioning is during our random write performance tests, the load was sufficient to cause the appliance’s PSU fans to ramp up resulting in high noise levels of around 75dB.
QuTS hero features
If you’re familiar with Qnap’s QTS software, you won’t have any problems with QuTS hero as their web interfaces are almost identical. App choices are equally good as in the appliance’s support page, we counted no less than 138 apps available for this OS.
Installation is no different either and we used Qnap’s QFinder Pro app to discover the TS-h2490FU and followed its quick start wizard to load the latest version of QuTS hero. The Storage & Snapshots app makes light work of creating SSD-based storage pools and QuTS hero offers a big choice of RAID array types.
We chose a single RAID50 pool for our 24 SSDs but along with the usual RAID suspects, QuTS hero offers a few of its own. RAID-TP (triple parity) can protect against three drive failures while triple mirroring allows you to have identical copies on three drives.
IP SANs are created from the iSCSI & Fibre Channel app which provides options for applying thick or thin provisioning, deduplication and compression. The TS-h2490FU offers all of Qnap’s NAS features and during share creation, you have more options for enabling encryption and applying one of two WORM (write one read many) policies.
WORM stops data on shared folders from being tampered with and once enabled during NAS folder creation, it cannot be modified or disabled. The Enterprise policy allows a protected folder to be deleted but stops anything in it from being individually modified or removed while the stronger Compliance policy blocks folder deletion and only allows it to be removed by deleting the entire storage pool.
NAS and IP SAN snapshots can be run manually or to a schedule and the upcoming SnapSync service will be able to replicate data to other QuTS appliances. It uses real-time block-level replication so as data on the local appliance is changed or created, SnapSync writes it to the remote appliance and saves on bandwidth by only sending changed blocks.
With a price of $9,199 (at the time this review was written the diskless price was $7,999 but QNAP has since had a price increase) for a diskless unit, the TS-h2490FU-7302P-128G model on review delivers an astoundingly good value all-Flash storage solution. It’s true that the cost of populating it with U.2 NVMe SSDs will be significantly more than the price of the appliance but the WD SN640 models we used are available in a wide range of capacities to suit all budgets.
The impressively powerful hardware specification adds even more appeal and we found it delivers great IP SAN performance over multiple 25GbE connections. Last but certainly not least is Qnap’s QuTS hero OS which offers plenty of enterprise-class data integrity and storage saving features.
With a price of $9,199 for a diskless unit, the TS-h2490FU-7302P-128G model on review delivers an astoundingly good value all-Flash storage solution. It’s true that the cost of populating it with U.2 NVMe SSDs will be significantly more than the price of the appliance but the WD SN640 models we used are available in a wide range of capacities to suit all budgets. The impressively powerful hardware specification adds even more appeal and we found it delivers great IP SAN performance over multiple 25GbE connections. Last but certainly not least is Qnap’s QuTS hero OS which offers plenty of enterprise-class data integrity and storage saving features.
- Top value
- 24 U.2 NVMe SSD bays
- AMD EPYC Gen2 CPU
- Huge memory capacity
- Quad 25GbE ports
- Great IP SAN performance
- Feature-rich QuTS hero OS
- PSU fans can get noisy with heavy workloads