Qnap TVS-471U-RP-i3-4G Review

TVS-471U-i3 front viewStepping in at the upper end of Qnap’s SMB NAS appliance family, the TVS-471U-RP delivers even more storage power into the smallest of rack spaces. Offered with a choice of two CPUs to suit your budget, it’s one the first slim-line 1U appliances we’ve seen to come 10GbE ready.

On review is the TVS-471U-RP-i3-4G which has a 3.5GHz Core i3-4150 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 memory and dual redundant PSUs. The TVS-471U-RP-PT-4G has a 3.1GHz Pentium G3250 and for both appliances, memory can be upgraded to a maximum of 32GB.TVS-471U-i3 Rear View

Single PSU models are also available and all have four Gigabit and quads of USB 3 and USB 2 ports. It’s a winner for expansion potential too, as it supports Qnap’s 16- and 12-bay REXP disk shelves and a maximum of 132 drives so raw capacity can be pushed to over 1PB.

 Upgrade maneuvers

Prior to testing, we upgraded the appliance with an Emulex OCE11102-NT dual-port 10GBase-T card. Be prepared to get busy with the screwdriver as you need to remove eleven screws just to get the lid off and a further five to remove the expansion card bracket.

The card installed without any problems and uses Qnap’s proprietary mounting bracket. The REXP expansion shelves require Qnap’s SAS-6G2E-U dual-port SAS card and as there’s only one PCI-Express slot, you can’t have 10GbE as well.

The interior is well designed with the Core i3 CPU covered by an enormous passive heatsink and teamed up with a pair of dual-rotor cooling fans in front. The two 300W PSUs also have integral cooling fans but we found during our 10GbE testing that fan noise levels ramped up sufficiently to make this appliance a very poor choice for a SOHO environment.

QTS Firmware

Qnap’s QTS firmware delivers a wealth of free utilities for local and cloud backup

Swift installation

The appliance is easy to deploy using Qnap’s cloud portal and the unique cloud key on the label on the lid. We just entered the key, registered the appliance with our MyQnap cloud account and left it to download the latest QTS software.

We loaded up four 2TB WD Enterprise SATA hard disks and opted for a single RAID5 storage pool. We also had a chance to test the array rebuild services as one drive showed up with SMART errors.

After swapping it out for a new one, the rebuild proceeded automatically and finished in around seven hours. We also upgraded the appliance to the latest QTS 4.2 RC firmware which brings in a wealth of new features.

 10GbE performance

With it hooked up over a direct 10GbE link to an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2, the appliance delivered impressive performance results. Running on a mapped share, Iometer reported 9.1Gbits/sec for both raw sequential reads and writes.

This translated well to our real world tests with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file returning average read and write speeds of 413MB/sec and 351MB/sec. It had no problems with our backup test as copying a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files mustered 258MB/sec.

IP SAN performance is equally good with Iometer reporting 9.1Gbits/sec read and write speeds for a 500GB iSCSI target. With a dual-10GbE MPIO link to the target, we saw very similar speeds to those quoted by Qnap with Iometer reporting read and write rates of 12Gbits/sec.

Dropping to a 4K transfer request size saw 134,000 IOPS and 128,000 IOPS for sequential read and write operations. Again, these figures are very close to Qnap’s quoted I/O performance.

Snapshot city

The new snapshot feature provides swift data protection and recovery tools

The new snapshot feature provides swift data protection and recovery tools

Qnap supports three data volume types and we chose the thin multiple volume option so the new snapshot features would be enabled. Note also that single and thick multiple volumes don’t support thin provisioning.

Snapshots of NAS data volumes and iSCSI LUNs can be taken on-demand or scheduled for as often as every five minutes. Smart snapshots are a valuable feature as if the source hasn’t changed since the last snapshot, it won’t take another, thus saving on storage space.

The Snapshot Manager app makes light work of data protection and recovery as it lists all snapshots for the chosen source. We could pick one, view its contents and restore individual files back to their original location, another destination or just download them directly to our management PC.

For full recovery, we chose a snapshot and selected the Revert option. We tested this by deleting 30GB of data in a share, reverted to the last snapshot and had it all safely back in place in under 30 seconds.

PROS:
  • Fast 10GbE performance
  • Good value
  • Big expansion potential
  • Snapshot data protection
  • Latest QTS packed with features

CONS:
  • Cooling fans are far too noisy
  • Not currently available in the U.S.

The best of the rest

We used the new Gmail Backup app to secure our Google email account and all messages

We used the new Gmail Backup app to secure our Google email account and all messages

QTS 4.2 RC is a major upgrade and delivers a superb feature set along with a revamped web interface. Multiple Qnap appliance can be centrally managed and monitored using the Q’centre app, Qsirch provides text-based file search facilities and the Container Station supports Docker so the appliance can host Linux apps in isolated containers.

The Virtualization Station makes Qnap’s appliances highly versatile as it allows them to run other OSes in local VMs and the new virtual switch means you don’t have to dedicate network ports to VMs anymore. The updated File Manager app provides direct links to cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive and we used the Gmail Backup app to secure our Gmail accounts to the appliance.

Summary

The main complaints levelled at the TVS-471U-RP are the excessively noisy cooling fans and the fact that, for some arcane reason, Qnap is not currently making this product available in the U.S. Nevertheless, those that can get their hands on one will find this appliance is a powerhouse 1U rack NAS that’s packed with features and capable of delivering very good NAS and IP SAN performance.

5 Total Score
Not Available in the USA

The main complaints leveled at the TVS-471U-RP are the excessively noisy cooling fans and the fact that, for some arcane reason, Qnap is not currently making this product available in the U.S. Nevertheless, those that can get their hands on one will find this appliance is a powerhouse 1U rack NAS that’s packed with features and capable of delivering very good NAS and IP SAN performance.

Performance
8
Features
9
Build Quality
5
Usability
8.5
Value
8
User Rating: 1.6 (1 votes)