We have previously covered QNAP NAS devices but wanted to touch again on these to see how the new version of its operating system, QTS 4.0 is coming along.
The TS-220 is a dual bay NAS, powered by a Marvell 1.6GHz processor, 512 MB DDR3 RAM and a gigabit network adapter.
The two hot-swappable drive bays can easily accomodate both 2.5" and 3.5" SATA II HDD/SSD. In addition to those internal drives we can expand by using two eSATA ports and two USB3 ports available in the back of the unit (an addition USB2 port is available at the front).
While the addition of USB3 adapters is welcome, the most visible change is really the setup and operation environment and that's what we will show here in a few images.
First the setup, through myQNAPcloud, is incredibly simple. You need only to plug one or two HDD to the unit and that to your LAN with access to the Internet, then on any browser visit a website (start.qnap.com) to continue setup.
You're asked to enter a "Cloud Key" and it will automatically guide you through creating an account (which you can use to manage the device online), install the firmware in the first HDD to boot the device and configure it. These are the steps in image:
Once the NAS is configured you can login locally through your browser and manage all aspects of it through a very easy to use, updated interface:
User management as well as partition management didn't change much in terms of functionality. The system supports a variety of EXT3/EXT4 filesystems and a variety of options in terms of RAID. It can also be a target for environments such as VMware vSphere (ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.x), Citrix XenServer 5.x, 6.x, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster.
In terms of applications, QNAP offers a vast library in addition to third-party packages available in other repositories. With this unit you should remember to chose those targeting ARM processors.
The more common (by number of installations) are the multimedia apps, including Photo Station and Music Station. These work pretty well and allow you remote access to the contents over a browser creating a very easy to setup|configure|manage storage solution for consumers and small/medium business.
Support for some web functionality exists through packages such as PHP, MySQL and ready to use solutions such as blog engines, Content Management Systems and more sophisticated solutions such as collaboration and project management apps.
An interesting functionality is the ability to perform remote synchronisation to other NAS/servers and cloud-based backup with services such as Amazon S3, ElephantDrive and Symform.
I was interested in testing this more as a consumer/home user and found out a PLEX (home media management/streaming solution). This installed without a problem but after indexing my library I found out small problems when trying to playback some video content:
Also when trying to access the service via a mobile app I found out the version currently available is not supported, so we'd have to wait for a newer version from QNAP:
I am sure these aren't impossible problems to solve, but out of the box it wasn't great. On the other hand all other apps I tried worked pretty well, including DLNA support, network settings, remote access - and the VPN server which can be easily used to allow secure remote access to your network while away.
Overall a worthy device. In terms of pricing I consider it a good solution compared to homegrown servers, taking in hardware price, software installation, easy of management.
- The easiest to install/configure NAS I've seen to date
- Good support for third party apps make this a device good for consumers and small/medium businesses
- Processor still not fast enough to transcode video on demand