The imminent uptake of WiFi 6 in businesses will drive an increased demand in network bandwidth well beyond the capabilities of Gigabit. With wireless speeds of up to 5.9Gbits/sec, network infrastructures will need to be upgraded to support this and the NBase-T specification is perfectly poised to make this far more affordable than ripping and replacing Cat5e/6 cable runs.
Qnap’s TVS-872N is waiting in the wings as it comes with a 5GBase-T port that supports speeds of 5GbE, 2.5GbE, Gigabit and 100M. This allows it to deliver faster access to network storage and file sharing services over your existing cabling.
There’s much more to this 8-bay desktop appliance as it’s powered by a speedy 3.1GHz Intel Core i3-8100T CPU partnered by 8GB of DDR4 memory expandable to 32GB. Along with the multi-Gigabit port, it’s endowed with dual Gigabit plus two Type A and two Type C USB 3.1 10Gbits/sec ports.
10GbE upgrades are a possibility as the appliance offers dual PCIe expansion slots. And then there’s the CPU’s embedded Intel UHD 630 graphics processor which pipes 4K video through to the rear HDMI 2.0 port.
Build quality and hardware features
The TVS-872N is well built with a sturdy steel chassis and solid plastic tool-free drive carriers. Along with the eight front bays it has two embedded M.2 slots that support an extensive range of PCIe NVMe SSDs.
The 8GB of memory is supplied on two 4GB sticks which you’ll have to replace if you want to upgrade this. They are easy to access as you release the drive carriers from the right to access both SO-DIMM slots in the side.
Removing the lid reveals a side-mounted motherboard with the CPU covered by a large finned heatsink. In front of this is a blower fan assembly while chassis cooling is handled by two large and quiet 12cms diameter fans at the back.
The rear USB ports can be used to expand storage capacity with Qnap’s range of TR and UX desktop enclosures. The single USB 3 port at the front teams up with Qnap’s One-Touch Copy button for quickly copying the contents of an inserted USB device to a predefined local folder.
Good multi-Gigabit performance
To test 5GbE and 2.5GbE performance we called up the lab’s Netgear ProSafe MS510TX switch which supports all multi-Gigabit speeds and offers dual 10GbE as well. Appliance deployment is swift and we used four 16TB Seagate IronWolf NAS hard disks to create a 44TB RAID5 storage pool.
Starting with a 5GbE link, we mapped a NAS share to a Dell PowerEdge T640 host running Windows Server 2019 and connected to the switch’s 10GbE port. Iometer reported fast sequential read and write rates both of 4.6Gbits/sec.
Real world speeds were equally good with our 25GB drag and drop file copies returning read and write averages of 4.5Gbits/sec and 4.1Gbits/sec. Backup performance was impressive too, with our 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured at 2.4Gbits/sec.
Copying the 25GB file to an encrypted share over 5GbE delivered a good average of 2.1Gbits/sec. IP SAN performance is fine with a 500GB target returning Iometer read and write rates of 4.6Gbits/sec and 4.5Gbits/sec.
Swapping to a 2.5GbE connection returned Iometer NAS read and write speeds both of 2.3Gbits/sec while the 25GB file copies mustered 2.3Gbits/sec in both directions. Backup performance held steady at 1.4Gbits/sec and the iSCSI target returned read and write speeds of 2.3Gbit/sec.
During our testing, Qnap released its QTS 4.4.1 software which heralds in even more useful storage features and support for Fibre Channel adapters. The Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS) 3 app has a sharp focus on running full 3-2-1 backup strategies.
It offers a more intuitive interface making it easier to manage backup and restore tasks and offers version management so you can retain multiple file versions as a defense against ransomware attacks. It uses Storage Spaces to define backup destinations which can be local and remote NAS appliances, CIFS/SMB shares, FTP, Rsync or RTRR servers and any one of 26 cloud providers.
The HBS 3 app also feature Qnap’s QuDedupe which employs source deduplication and compression to reduce the amount backup storage space required. When enabled in a backup job, it stores the source data and hash files on the destination as proprietary .qdff files which are previewed locally using the QuDedup Extract Tool and files and folders within them restored.
The VJBOD Cloud add-in snaps into the Storage & Snapshots app and allows block-based cloud storage from providers including Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure to be mounted as NAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel volumes. The separate HybridMount app builds on the earlier Remote Mount feature by allowing standard cloud storage from providers such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive to be mounted as NAS shares and have caching enabled.
Qnap’s new Multimedia Console brings all the various Station apps under one roof for easier management. After loading the Music, Video and Photo Station apps, we used the Multimedia Console to choose their source folders, assign access permissions and run media indexing and thumbnail generation.
The TVS-872N is clearly a very capable NAS appliance but although the 5GBase-T port adds a lot of versatility, it isn’t the best value. Qnap’s TVS-872XT, for example, comes with a faster Core i5 CPU, twice the memory, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots and a multi-Gigabit 10GBase-T port but only costs around $200 more.
There’s no denying the TVS-872N delivers great multi-Gigabit performance and the new QTS software is packed with features and a keen focus of data protection. It’s a tad too expensive for our tastes but the fact that it offers up to a five-fold speed increase over your existing legacy network cabling is a big plus point.
- Multi-Gigabit port
- Great 5GbE NAS and IP SAN performance
- Feature-packed QTS 4.4.1 software
- Top data backup apps
- Good multimedia services