QNAP TS-409U Turbo NAS review

£550
Price when reviewed

When Qnap launched its TS-409 Turbo NAS desktop appliance earlier this year its main target was small businesses, and the TS-409U aims to increase its appeal by delivering the same package in a 1U rackmount chassis.

Build quality is reasonable, although the thin metal chassis doesn’t have the reassuring weight of Netgear’s ReadyNAS rack appliances. RAID options are better, although dual-redundant RAID6 for a four-bay appliance is excessive, as it will cost you half your total storage.

The online capacity expansion and RAID migration features are more useful, since you can add more drives, upgrade on the fly to larger ones and migrate from a single drive to other RAID arrays. For testing, we used a pair of 150GB Western Digital Raptor drives in a mirror, added a third and migrated it to a RAID5 array in about 1hr 30mins.

Qnap’s Finder utility locates the appliance on the network and takes you through network configuration, firmware installation and RAID setup. We upgraded our unit with the latest firmware, which brings in the new Surveillance Station – very similar to that offered by Synology’s storming DS508.

The TS-409U supports up to two IP cameras, lets you view their feed in the web interface and record to hard disk. We tested this with an Axis 207MW camera, and found it worked perfectly. However, note that only Synology includes a motion-detection function as well.

The well-designed web interface is common to all Qnap appliances. Businesses will like the security on offer, as you can control access with a local user and group database or Active Directory, set individual read, write and guest access privileges and provide users with a private shared area.

For multimedia you have a TwonkyMedia UPnP media server, an iTunes server with integrated smart playlists and a Multimedia Station for storing and viewing photographs. You can run your own websites, since the appliance supports PHP4 and has an integral SQLite server, while the Download Station can be used to retrieve remote files using BitTorrent, HTTP and FTP – although only manually as Qnap doesn’t offer a scheduler.

We saw read and write rates of 24.4MB/sec and 13.3MB/sec while copying a 690MB video clip over Gigabit Ethernet between the appliance and a Boston Supermicro 3.2GHz Pentium D workstation.

FTP speeds were more impressive, with the FileZilla utility returning read and write rates of 34.5MB/sec and 14.5MB/sec. For backup, remote replication copies folders to a remote appliance to daily, weekly or monthly schedules, encrypts and compresses the data and runs incremental copies once a full backup has been taken.

For the price we’d have expected better build quality, but the TS409U can’t be faulted for features. The multimedia functions won’t impress small firms, but access security and backup facilities are a cut above the rest, and the surveillance feature could prove useful.

Basic specifications

Capacity N/A
Cost per gigabyte N/A
RAID capability yes
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Services

FTP server? yes
UPnP media server? yes
Other media servers iTunes
Print server? no
Web hosting? yes
BitTorrent client? yes

Connections

Ethernet ports 1
USB connection? yes
eSATA interface no

Security and administration

Admin support for users yes
Admin support for groups yes
Admin support for disk quotas yes

Software

Software supplied QNAP Finder, NetBak Replicator, QGet

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