|QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 02 May 2010|
Page 12 of 13
NAS Server Final Thoughts
I guess I was an early adopter, or at least I was in the early majority. I bought my first NAS in 2005, after my wife's Dell desktop shredded the first of several hard drives. The easy, automated backup process, available for all computers on the network was just what I needed to restore domestic harmony. Sometime later, after rebuilding her desktop environment a couple times, I did two things: I learned how to clone hard drives, and I dismantled the Dell from Hell. Problem solved!
While my NAS from the past has been sitting in one spot for most of those five years, the world of NAS products has not. New products available today offer so much more functionality and additional features that it boggles the mind. Most of the advances have been in the area of software, but the hardware has also kept pace. PATA became SATA; 10Mbps became dual Gigabit NICs with failover; "locked-in-a-box" (AKA: The Brick) became hot-swap RAID clusters; one button & one light became 4-line LCD displays. However you look at it, the range of capabilities available today towers over what we had to choose from in the not too distant past.
I'm writing this article from a much different perspective than our Executive Editor. He runs an IT company and I support a small network for a home office. That being said, we both recognize the intrinsic value of network attached storage products. I bought my first one five years ago and it does automatic backups every night at midnight and 1:00 AM for the two primary workstations in the house. When I hear it light off at midnight, I know it's time to either finish my article or go to bed. Then the snooze alarm kicks off an hour later, if I'm still up. It performs well and looks stylish even today, if a bit outsized. It looks like this:
All of the QNAP TS series product in this article offer so much more capability than my old, simple NAS. Just as our small business has evolved, so too have the tools available. We're looking at creating a website and a blog to go along with it, and maybe a forum. All these can be hosted from one of these new versatile NAS devices, acting as a server. This kind of capability goes far beyond the simple remote access tools provided by Windows Home Server. Quite frankly, unless you are getting Windows Home Server for free from your MSDN account and you can repurpose an old computer that's sitting in the corner unused, all these NAS systems reviewed here on Benchmark Reviews are a much better value. If your Windows based server is only going to be used for serving out files, sharing printers and managing backups, one inexpensive NAS does all this at less than half the cost.
At the other end of the spectrum, there's no way any of these devices compete with the kind of equipment you find in a modern data center. With a multitude of virtual servers running under VMware and connecting to redundant Storage Area Networks (SAN) across a Fiber Channel backbone, the cost and complexity of full bore Enterprise IT solutions dwarfs the appliances under test here. Still, with the availability of iSCSI and virtual drives on selected systems reviewed here, the lines of demarcation are blurring.
So, what conclusions can we draw, particularly about this high performance, two-bay TS-259 Pro server. Click NEXT to find out, and discuss...