Best seller

Qsan TrioNAS LX U400HA-D424

TrioNAS LX U400Q Front ViewQsan has a well-deserved reputation for delivering high availability network storage that’s priced right for SMBs. The new TrioNAS LX U400HA-D424 rack appliance continues this tradition as it provides dual controllers as standard which function in true active-active mode.

The controllers are linked together over a high-speed 64Gbps PCI-Express backplane which is used to perform real-time cache mirroring and cluster heartbeat functions. In the event of a controller failure, Qsan claims the appliance can failover in less than 60 seconds and as fast as 10 seconds.

Each controller sports a 1.73GHz LC3528 Xeon CPU and their 16GB of ECC UDIMM DDR3 cache memory can be protected by optional battery backup units. They both have seven Gigabit ports with six for data and one for management access and, unlike active/standby appliances, all 14 ports are available for duty.

Total redundancy

A key feature is the appliance has no single point of failure as it also has triple 550W redundant power supplies plus dual cooling fan modules and all components are hot-swappable. Storage capacity is also very impressive as this 24-bay appliance supports a total 256 hard disks using Qsan’s external J300Q JBOD disk shelves.TrioNAS LX U400Q Rear View

The controllers both have a 6Gbps SAS expansion port so you can connect the disk shelves over dual redundant links. Even the JBOD units have dual hot-plug PSUs and cooling fans.

The appliance supports SAS drives out of the box but to add SATA drives you need to fit a special MUX interposer board at the back of each drive carrier. This is a shame as each board costs around $75 so ruling out the cost advantages of using cheaper SATA drives.

Data protection features are impressive as the appliance uses ZFS which supports plenty of RAID options including dual-drive redundant RAID-6 and -60 arrays. There’s more as standard features include snapshots, data deduplication, compression, thin provisioning plus SSD read and write caching and local and remote replication are included in the price.

Fast failover and performance

QSAN Web Interface

Qsan’s redesigned web interface is easier to use and more informative.

Installation is simple as Qsan’s QFinder app discovered the appliance, listed all its active network ports and provided direct access to the freshly designed web management interface. We fitted five 4TB WD SAS hard disks and created a four-drive RAID-5 ZFS storage pool with hot-standby.

To test failover we fired up a dual-port MPIO link across both controllers to an iSCSI LUN and left Iometer running where it reported a raw read speed of 180MB/sec. To simulate a failure, we pulled the master controller out and watched the appliance complete failover to the remaining controller in under 20 seconds.

During this phase, the Iometer test continued to run with performance (as expected) dropping to 113MB/sec. We then pushed the controller back in and watched the appliance reinstate full redundancy in less than 20 seconds after which the Iometer speed ramped back up.

General NAS performance is good as well with Iometer returning raw read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec. With Iometer running on four E5-2600 v3 servers connected to dedicated shares on the RAID5 pool, we recorded cumulative read and write speeds of 440MB/sec and 410MB/sec

Features

TrioNAS LX U400Q Replications

Local and remote replication jobs can be run for selected NAS volumes and iSCSI LUNs.

ZFS storage pools are very flexible as we could create volumes for NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs within them and enable thin provisioning, deduplication and compression as required. As you install more disks, you can use them to create new pools each with their own RAID array type or use them to expand capacity of existing pools.

Access controls for NAS shares are good as we could use the appliance’s local user and group lists to restrict access or link up with Active Directory and LDAP. For iSCSI targets, you can enforce CHAP authentication and decide which controllers and network ports they will be visible on.

TrioNAS LX U400Q Snapshot Management

Snapshots are included as standard with ZFS and rollback is a very simple process.

Unlimited snapshots are included in the price and can be applied to both NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs. They’re really easy to use as we could run them manually or to hourly, daily or weekly schedules.

Usefully, snapshots can be cloned and presented as new volumes or targets and rollback is a simple two-click operation. For replication, you can copy volumes and LUNs to another location on the same appliance or replicate them to a remote appliance for essential off-site disaster recovery

More to come

Along with the improved web management interface, Qsan’s latest firmware upgrade introduces a number of new features although there are a few still on the drawing board. At present, it supports CIFS and NFS file sharing with support for SMB 3, FTP, AFP and WebDAV scheduled for the next major firmware release.

The cluster feature allowed us to use port pairs on both controllers to quickly create fault tolerant links for CIFS and NFS shares. The next firmware release will add cluster load balancing to the mix as well.

Qsan’s QCentral Java app is provided for managing multiple appliances from a single interface. We’ve used it on previous Qsan appliances and found it very useful but it also needs an update as it doesn’t currently support the latest firmware release.

Qsan has also changed the on-appliance anti-virus scanning feature and now supports integration with a third-party ICAP system. Cloud backup remains the same with support for Amazon S3 where we could create scheduled backup jobs for NAS shares to our cloud storage account.

PROS:
  • Excellent value
  • Dual active/active controllers
  • Lightning quick failover
  • Good performance
  • Snapshots and replication included

CONS:
  • A number of feature to be implemented in next firmware upgrade
  • SATA drives need extra MUX boards

Conclusion

Qsan does it again by delivering an enterprise-class storage array at a price SMBs will like a lot. The U400HA-D424 provides excellent fault tolerance and fast failover and combines them with an impressive range of features, a big expansion potential and good performance.

8.8 Total Score
Enterprise Class Performance for SMBs

Qsan does it again by delivering an enterprise-class storage array at a price SMBs will like a lot. The U400HA-D424 provides excellent fault tolerance and fast failover and combines them with an impressive range of features, a big expansion potential and good performance.

Features
8.5
Features
8
Build Quality
9
Usability
9
Value
9.5
User Rating: Be the first one!