Top Ten

Qsan XCubeNAS XN8012S Review

SMBs with network storage capacity, expansion and data protection high on their agenda will find Qsan’s XCubeNAS XN8012S a worthy contender. This 2U rack NAS appliance has 12 hot-swap drive bays and a key feature is its support for SAS3 and SATA devices giving businesses the choice of going for high performance storage or opting for a greater capacity at lower costs.

It may look very similar to its 12-bay XN8012R stablemate but a glance at the rear shows a completely different hardware package. Whereas the XN8012R uses a standard motherboard, the XN8012S employs the same removable controller sled as Qsan’s higher-end appliances.

XN8012S rear view

XN8012S rear view

A downside is you lose the six rear SFF bays but no matter, as you can fit SAS3 or SATA SSDs in the front bays and use them for high-speed storage pools, caching or data tiering. An upside is the controller includes an integral pair of SAS3 ports so you don’t need to purchase an extra adapter card when adding external disk shelves.

Qsan’s QSM ZoL (ZFS on Linux) software provides an excellent range of enterprise-class data protection and storage saving features. These include near-unlimited NAS and IP SAN snapshots, data deduplication, intelligent real-time data tiering and facilities for applying WORM (write once read many) policies to protect NAS share data.

XN8012S Hardware features

Build quality is excellent as the XN8012S is presented in a solidly built short-depth chassis and uses equally sturdy metal drive carriers that incorporate small locking tabs. The controller is easily removed from the rear where you’ll find its 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Xeon D-1527 CPU topped off with a solid passive heatsink plus a dual copper heat-pipe array and partnered by 8GB of server-grade ECC DDR4 memory that can be expanded hugely to 128GB.

XN8012S Front View

Built as a short-depth chassis and uses equally sturdy metal drive carriers that incorporate small locking tabs. Click to enlarge.

Along with a Gigabit management port, the controller presents dual embedded 10GBase-T data ports and the two expansion bays alongside provide a good upgrade potential. There are plenty of modules to choose from with Qsan offering quad-port Gigabit plus dual or quad 10GbE and 16Gbps fibre channel.

External expansion is quite unbelievable as the dual SAS3 ports can be used to connect up to eight Qsan 24-bay XD532D disk shelves. Even better, you can push capacity up to an incredible 7.4PB as Qsan’s partnership with Western Digital allows four of this vendor’s supermassive UltraStar Data60 and Data120 SAS JBOD arrays to be connected.

Power redundancy is present and correct as the price includes a pair of 850W hot-plug PSUs. All cooling is handled by hot-plug fan modules next to each PSU but their high noise levels will relegate this appliance to a dedicated server room.

10GbE performance

XN8012S QSM management interface

The XN8012S is simple to deploy and the QSM software provides a good range of business-focused apps

Installation is swift as we loaded six of Toshiba’s latest 18TB MG09 HDDs and used Qsan’s Finder app to discover the appliance, upgrade its firmware and create a huge 77TB RAID5 storage pool. With a share mapped to a Dell EMC T640 Xeon Scalable server running Windows Server 2019, we watched Iometer report fast sequential read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec.

These translated to good real world speeds with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file averaging read and write speeds of 5.3Gbits/sec and 5.2Gbits/sec. Backup performance is just as good as securing a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files to the share averaged a tidy 2.6Gbits/sec.

Moving over to IP SANs saw equally good speeds with a 1TB iSCSI LUN mustering Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 9.3Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec. We then created a dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target and saw read and write speeds ramp up to 18.5Gbits/sec and 13.7Gbits/sec.

XN8012S Storage features

XN8012S Backup App

The Backup app provides plenty of data protection services including manual and scheduled snapshots

Qsan has always focused on pure business use for its storage appliance so you won’t find anywhere near the number of apps as you would with Qnap and Synology. That said, the QSM software has all the business bases covered with ten apps for backup, hardware monitoring, cloud syncing, antivirus, file and media management, web services, virtualisation, VPNs and SQL databases.

Snapshots for NAS shares and iSCSI volumes are handled by the backup app where you can run them manually or schedule them for as often as every 5 minutes. Data can be swiftly restored by choosing a snapshot from the list and rolling it back or browsing a NAS share snapshot and restoring individual files and folders.

This app is very versatile as it can also secure appliance data to Qsan or Rysnc-compatible appliances, replicate it to remote Qsan appliances using its Xmirror service and send it to the Alibaba Cloud OSS, Amazon S3 and HiCloud cloud storage providers. The Cloud Sync app supports Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive cloud accounts while the free Acronis-powered XReplicator software is used to backup Windows workstation data to the appliance and comes with a 5-user license.

After creating NAS shares, you can apply one of three WORM policies where data retention periods are set in days and can protect existing data or files subsequently added to them. The ‘WORM forever’ policy provides the strongest protection against unauthorized tampering as this stops share contents from ever being modified or deleted and won’t allow the volume containing the share to be removed either.

Remote monitoring

QSAN deduplication service

Qsan’s integral deduplication service uses an SSD read cache and delivers good storage savings

Businesses with multiple Qsan appliances will like the new XInsight app as this runs as a web service on a Windows host and provides centralised monitoring for Qsan’s all-Flash, NAS and SAN appliances. We added the XN8012S using its management IP address and our administrative credentials after which it provided a device read-out showing used and available storage plus quick links to see controller status and internal temperatures.

The XInsight home page provides an overview of all activity, storage capacity across all appliances and alert notifications. It displays all completed backup and replication tasks but wouldn’t show any details on snapshots – Qsan advised us this will be fixed in the next release.

Mobile users can get in on the act as Qsan provides its Xccess apps for Android and iOS which are primarily designed for remote file management. We used the iOS version on an iPad and after logging in to the appliance, could view folders and files, create new ones, download or upload files and send camera snaps straight to a selected folder.

Conclusion

Qsan’s XCubeNAS XN8012S is a great choice for SMBs that want a solid combination of storage performance, capacity and data protection features. Support for SAS3 and SATA storage devices adds a lot of versatility, its expansion potential is quite remarkable and an MSRP of $4,399 makes it very affordable as this is $1,600 less than Synology’s SA3400 12-bay appliance.

8.8Expert Score
Great Choice for SMBs Wanting Affordability and Performance

Qsan’s XCubeNAS XN8012S is a great choice for SMBs that want a solid combination of storage performance, capacity and data protection features. Support for SAS3 and SATA storage devices adds a lot of versatility, its expansion potential is quite remarkable and an MSRP of $4,399 makes it very affordable as this is $1,600 less than Synology’s SA3400 12-bay appliance.

Performance
9
Features
7.5
Build quality
9
Usability
8.5
Value
10
PROS
  • Excellent value
  • Fine 10GbE performance
  • SAS/SATA device support
  • Staggering expansion potential
  • Great data protection features
CONS
  • Basic set of business apps

SIMPLY.REVIEWS
Logo
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0