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Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage Server
QNAP v3.4 New Features
Closer Look: QNAP TS-419P II
Insider Details: QNAP TS-419P II
QNAP Turbo NAS Features
QNAP TS-419P II NAS Hardware
QNAP TS-419P II Software
QPKG Center Software Expansion
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
RAID 5 Test Results
NAS System Overhead Measurements
NAS Server Final Thoughts
QNAP TS-419P II Conclusion

NAS System Overhead Measurements

I've discussed the potential impact the NAS hardware has on performance in general terms so far. The hard reality is that the CPU, drive controllers, memory, and network subsystems have a direct and profound impact on the throughput of a NAS device. In extreme cases where multiple drives (4+) are arranged in higher-order RAID configurations, the CPU has a ton of work to do, calculating parity bits and parsing them out to multiple data streams. In-line data encryption adds another potential load to the infrastructure, but I'm not going to bother testing that until I get a system with the recent AES-NI additions to the Intel64 instruction set. It's just not realistic to use encryption without that level of support. In this section, I'm going to look at some results from the System Monitor capability that is available on the QNAP Turbo NAS server.

Let's start off looking at CPU usage on the NAS server. During a straight data transfer from the PC to 4 disks configured as RAID 5 on the TS-419P II, the results show the Marvell 88F6282 SoC device completely maxed out at 100%. The two blocks in the chart represent two different sets of files being transferred, with a break between them. The first block represents ten 1GB files transferred by one Windows command, and you can see little dips where the CPU paused between each file. The second block represents one 10GB file, transferred the same way. Any dips in CPU utilization in this section are due to system wait states thrown in by some sub-system crying "Uncle" for a brief period of time. By and large, there's little difference between the two scenarios, except the single 10GB file is transferred over a little quicker.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_1x10-the-10x1-cpu.png

The memory subsystem on the QNAP TS-419P II is not being taxed by these file transfers at all. Unless you plan to use the NAS for all of the "extra" things it can do, as a media server and such, don't worry about the fact that it only comes with 512MB of memory capacity. That's plenty, at least for the basic disk functions. This is very close to the same level of memory usage I saw on the two-bay device I tested , so there's no additional load presented to the memory by four disks in RAID 5, as compared to the single-disk configuration.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_1x10-the-10x1-mem.png

The network interface is getting more of a workout than the memory, but it is still running well below the throughput limits of the Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interface. This particular chart was produced during two disk-writing tests, we'll see a difference with disk-read tests shortly. There's a lot of extra capacity here, even with one of the larger NAS devices, running multiple disks in RAID configurations with a single GbE connection. This TS-419P II unit, and most of the larger QNAP units, all have dual Ethernet connections that allow for teaming via IEEE 802.3ad/Link Aggregation, that in certain cases allows for almost double the network throughput. This is only going to be required in rare cases, where both systems connected this way have the raw transfer speed to make it necessary. That's the sort of thing you're only going to see in a corporate LAN room, at least for now. One day, I'm going to load up one of the big NAS units with high end SSDs in RAID 0 and let it rip; then we'll see where the system bottlenecks are.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_1x10-the-10x1-network.png

The network throughput scales right along with the disk throughput, as seen here. In this test, I was reading from the NAS, instead of writing files to it. The increased data transfer rate from the disks translates to an increase in network throughput, up from about 55MB/s in write operations, to over 80MB/s in reading mode. In the following chart, you can also see the effect on the network load as a multi-file transfer operation takes place. Until now, we have been moving very large files around, but in the last portion of the chart below, I transferred a very large number of smaller files, just to see how that would impact performance. Instead of one 10 GB file, the green portion of the chart shows what happens when transferring 4,793 items totaling 6.5GB from the PC to the NAS. If you're going to use any NAS for basic backup duties, this is the kind of action it's going to see. Still, there should be no worries as far as network speed goes, no matter what the primary usage is.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_4794-files-network.png

In contrast, the NAS CPU is still being taxed during these file transfers, with either small numbers of large files or a large number of small files. In the third section of the chart below, you can see some additional dips, but they're sharp drops with a corresponding sharp recovery. There's nowhere for the CPU to hide in a high performance NAS appliance, and the ARM processor in QNAP's lower-priced models gets hammered pretty bad in typical use cases.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_4794-files-CPU.png


I hope this section showed you some objective reasons why the infrastructure that any NAS product brings to the table is important to its overall performance. As the number of drive bays goes up, the hardware requirements increase as well, and the price has to follow. I know it's disheartening to see that you don't get great economies of scale on the larger NAS units, but it would be even more of a shame if they didn't perform up to their true capabilities because the hardware was holding them back.

Now, let's look at some Final Thoughts, and then move on to our Conclusion and Product Ratings.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-01 05:17
Excellent article which will require me to read it a second time to gain all the information presented! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article.

The TS-419P II is a well designed software solution with a wealth of functionality. The case is well made and looks great but uses yesterday's processing hardware. Why USB V3.0, Dual CPU and SATA6 are missing is a turn off for me. SATA6 is probably of little value but it's the industry trend with disk drives and may prove useful in the future. Intel hardware is a plus for me.
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# There's so much there.....Bruce 2011-12-02 07:43
Funny, you should mention having to read it twice. There's so much functionality built into these devices that sometimes I feel like I'm writing two reviews. LOL

USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s are all available on the more high-end QNAP servers. I don't know of any Dual CPU units made by anyone, but if you mean dual-CORE, then that's also available on the pricier units. Most of the "Pro" models have the Dual-Core Intel® Atom? (1.80 GHz) in them. The really hardcore models have a Quad Core Intel Xeon E3-1225 at 3.1GHz Processor or a Dual Core Intel® Core? i3-2120 Processor at 3.3 GHz.
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# Best media NASKeith 2011-12-09 20:34
I have been reading a lot of reviews on Home servers/NAS but really haven't seen any reviewers basically make their recommendations based on useage situation. For example I'm looking to build or buy a homer server that can serve up my media and DVR recordings throughout the house and when I'm on the road. Also it'll be used for photo, video and general back ups.

The software on this unit looks great and has a lot of functionality and great access ability.

For the average home user with a decent amount of tech knowledge, working within a win7 environment at home but an iPhone/iPad on the road what would be better; windows home server or a product like this? And in your opinion would building a box myself with better parts( processor, memory) bet the better option?
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# RE: Best media NASRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-11 08:56
Bruce,

Yes, I meant dual core, I know better. I would be happy with an Intel 2120, but never an Atom anything.

Disk drives sure jumped in price due to unfortunate weather!


Keith,

If the sofware was offered separately, the answer would be easy. I'm in much the same position as you. I don't like the processing capability until the price is more than I want to spend.
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# Future of Windows Home ServerBruce 2011-12-11 13:13
I'm sure someone will jump in and tell us how much you can do with tWindows Server (...one of the four versions they sell...), but IMHO, there's a whole lot more dvelopment going on in the NAS world than there is for Windows server. There is a good amount of competition in this sector, and it's driving more and more features into the NAS software packages. Windows server has been pretty much moribound in the same time frame. So, today I like the features that QNAP has to offer, and I suspect that in the near future this trend will accelerate.
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# RE: Future of Windows Home ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-11 14:18
Bruce,

I totally agree with you. I will probably break down and pay the higher price for improved processing because the software is impressive!
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# RE: RE: Future of Windows Home ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-16 06:47
Bruce,

I just now ordered the TS-659 Pro II. Didn't get everything I wanted but got everything I could afford. I will have a toy to play with tomorrow. I should have purchased the TS-659 Pro+ because it's a much better buy, but common sense failed.
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# Hold on to your hats, because...Bruce 2011-12-16 08:01
I just got the QNAP® TS-879U-RP in house, for testing. This thing should COOK! I've got to build a better test platform to mate it with, something with honest-to-God SATA 6G performance.
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# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerAnna 2012-01-21 10:24
When you compare this one to the TS-419P+, is the TS419 II worth the money? Because I doubt between an TS-419P+ and a TS419 II.
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# Depends....Bruce 2012-01-21 13:12
... on what your primary usage is, and if you are going to use it almost exclusively for one thing, or do many things, either singly or all at once. The 25% increase in CPU speed only matters in some use cases. In others, it's not a factor.

What is your intended use(s)?
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# RE: Depends....Anna 2012-01-21 20:19
- Downloading
- Music/movie streaming
- Backup
- Central storage
- Near future hosting my own website
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# In that case....Bruce 2012-01-21 21:34
Depending on how heavy the backups are (are you doing daily backups for 5 machines, let's say...?), I think the TS-419P+ would do the sum total of those things pretty well. The CPU gets hammered during RAID 5 Write activity; that's why the backup tasks are the key differentiator. You need to act quickly, because I think the only TS-419P+ units you will be able to buy are what's left in inventory.

What's the price difference - about $100, right?
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# RE: In that case....Anna 2012-01-22 12:46
Tnx for the info, and yes the price difference is pretty big.
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# Differences in QNAP's lineupBKK 2012-01-22 10:15
Bruce, thank you for a great and comprehensive review. I've been going back/forth researching NAS for a year and it's time to make a decision. I'm trying to get my head around QNAP's line up between 419P II, 439 Pro II+, 459 Pro II - besides the processor and memory are there significant difference really from a functionality stand point? I'm a small business running out of my home, but I have one partner who is remote and ideally I'd like for him to able to use the NAS as a remote file server and access it in a secure manner. We also travel a lot for business so remote access is needed. Intention is to use the NAS as a primary file server (i.e. not having to store everything on the laptop HDD) and a consolidated backup server for the various laptops (3 laptops and 1 desktop, backups daily or no later than every 3 days); the NAS would then be backed up to S3 or some other cloud backup service. Also looking to use the NAS to store all of our digital photos (RAW and JPG format). Given that, is the 419P II a good solution? Or should I be considering one of the other QNAP products? One potential use in the medium term is to use the NAS as a web app server for product demos (but we wouldn't use it for production deployment of the product however). Budget is around $2000 with the HDDs. Appreciate your sage advice.
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# They sure do make a lot of them....Bruce 2012-01-22 15:27
Those are all good choices. The features that you get as you move up the ladder probably don't matter much to you, except maybe Real Time Remote Replication, since you have somebody whos more or less permantly at a rempte location. This feature is available on all the Intel-based units. The other features you get with the high-end models, are primarily focused on advanced networking schems, such as: VMware Certification, Citrix Certified, Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows 2008 Failover Cluster. It doesn't sound like you need that, yet. The one other thing Intel units have is AES 256-bit Volume-based Encryption, but it's quite slow with the Atom CPU, and it may not be an issue for you, depending on your physical security situation.

Now, the OTHER thing you get as you spend more mony is WRITE speed. Take a look at QNAPs published write speeds:

Write Performance (MB/s) - Dual-Core Atom: 107, Single-Core Atom: 88, Marvell 2.0GHz: 75, Marvell 1.6GHz: 45

This has a direct impact on yur backup speeds, although the laptops may be the limiting factor anyways, if they have the typical 5400 RPM HDDs in them. They use less power, so it's quite common to use them instead of the 7200 RPM models.

The other thing you get for your $$ is USB 3.0. This may not have any impact on your intended usage, but for some, USB 2.0 is a deal-breaker.

Of course, you also know that QNAP released a couple new models at CES, right. I tell you, I can't keep up with them... LOL

Bottom line, like Anna above, I think your expectation for backup performance is the key discriminator here. That's the primary area (of the ones you listed), where spending more will get you more.
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# Thanks!BKK 2012-01-23 16:08
Bruce, thanks for the advice. You make a good point about the real-time remote replication. I should look into that.

Presently I don't need the virtualization features.

Are the new models announced at CES listed in their site? I would assume so, as their site indicates the 459 Pro II as a new model.

And thanks for the link below.
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# Forgot to sayBruce 2012-01-22 15:29
Here is a direct comparison between the units you mentioned:

qnap.com/images/products/comparison/Comparison_4BayNAS.html
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# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerKeith 2012-01-29 07:52
A great point was made by Richard above regarding the software side of it (new features, etc...). When compared to say windows home server, which doesn't seem to be getting full attention from MS, if you had to make a nas purchase based solely on software or os , what would be the choice?
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# Easy ChoiceBruce 2012-01-29 16:00
There's no doubt that the major NAS players are continuing to drive more and more and better features into the NAS side of things. QNAP just release version 3.6 at CES this month, which is two releases beyond what I tested in this review.
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# 419P ii does have USB 3.0Ahmed 2012-04-09 16:34
I just purchased the Qnap 419p ii today and to my surprise it does have USB 3.0 ports! Two of the slots on the back are USB3.0

I first saw it on the box then when I opened and looked at the back of the unit, two of the ports are labeled USB3.0 The quick start guide also says USB3. This is very odd since their website and all reviews say only USB2.0

I do not know if the new units are shipping with USB 3 or is it Canadian versions. I am in Canada. Anyways I am thrilled. This unit offers so much for the price.
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# That's Cool....Bruce 2012-04-09 18:02
That is a VERY NICE surprise!

Usually when the "Manufacturer reserves the right to update the product specifications" it's to take cost out of the product.
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# Ditto the USB 3Rich 2012-05-05 09:47
I just got one of these in Germany and two of the three USB's on the back have been changed to USB3. The remaining USB 2 on the back is used by the UPS to trigger shutdown. No idea why they haven't updated their website as this resolves one of my major tradeoffs when I was selecting this unit.
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