Traditionally, choosing a laptop has been about compromise.
QNAP TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS
The NAP TS-639 is a fully-featured NAS device with AES encryption.
- Comprehensive server options, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and JBOD configurations, up to 9TB capacity, built in 256-bit AES volume encryption, hot-swappable drives, fast read/write speeds.
- Steep learning curve, cost, no "secret question" option for retrieving lost passwords
If you are tech-savvy enough to use the QNAP TS-639 Pro, it is an excellent NAS device that is fully featured and ideal for any SMB.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
The QNAP TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS is a well-designed Network Attached Storage (NAS) device with a comprehensive feature list. It is great for tech-savvy users and small businesses that need lots of centralised storage space and can afford the high cost.
From the outside, the TS-639 Pro looks and feels like a serious piece of tech. Six lockable and hot-swappable hard drive bays dominate the fascia and sit below the LCD panel. The black metal casing is sturdy and the unit feels solid, which is important for any device capable of holding this much important data — six bays are each capable of connecting 1.5TB hard drives, which means a staggering total capacity of 9TB. No hard drives are included with the TS-639 Pro.
We tested the NAS device with four 1TB Hitachi Desktar 7K1000.B that spin at 7200rpm and one 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB, all of which were linked in a RAID 0 configuration. We benchmarked read/write speeds by transferring 17.5GB worth of files between our testing PC, which uses a 7200rpm hard drive, and the TS-639 Pro.
The TS-639 Pro achieved a read speed of 38.5MBps, a write speed of 33.14MBps and a read/write speed of 20.38MBps. These results are excellent, especially when the number of hard drives and their capacity is considered.
A one touch USB 2.0 port can be found on the bottom left of the unit's face, which allows users to connect a USB storage device and press a button to automatically transfer the contents to the hard drives. Printers can also be connected via the USB for networked printer sharing. Four other USB 2.0 ports are located at the rear, along with two gigabit Ethernet connections and two eSATA ports for connecting more storage devices.
The TS-639 Pro is run by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB DDR2 RAM. Although the QNAP NAS has a lengthier boot up and shut down sequences than other NAS devices we've tested, this can largely be attributed to the number of hard drives that this model is capable of mounting, as well as the server capabilities it provides.. Two 9cm fans at the rear cool the unit very effectively, so overheating isn't an issue in most office environments.
The TS-639 Pro can handle a variety of RAID configurations, including RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and JBOD. Although RAID 0, 1 and 5 are common in other NAS devices like the Western Digital ShareSpace (WDA4NC20000) and the Synology Disk Station DS408, RAID 6 is less common. By allowing users to continue working with up to two failed drives, it's a useful data safety tool when working with up to six hard drives. JBOD is short for 'Just a Bunch Of Drives'. This simple configuration allows you to string together hard drives of varying sizes into a single volume, but it doesn't provide any safety features.
Another useful and important feature, especially for users working with sensitive data, is the ability to protect the information with 256-bit AES encryption. This means that even if the hard drives are stolen and their simple physical locks bypassed, the data will still be very difficult to steal unless the password is known. QNAP has made sure that users must either enter the correct password or download an encryption key from the system to access a locked volume. Unfortunately this means that users who forget the password face the unpleasant prospect of losing up to 9TB of data, so make sure you keep the password safe.
The TS-639 Pro offers a wide-ranging number of server functions, and supports MySQL database servers. QNAP's integrated download station is fully-featured and allows users to schedule HTTP, BitTorrent and FTP downloads. Remote Web access is also supported, which is good news for users trying to download their files over the Internet. Administrators can easily set user groups, permissions and quotas, while the IP filter provides an effective method for NAS access screening.
The TS-639 Pro is also configured to act as a media server. You can select the iTunes server and UPnP Media Server options in the Multimedia Station tab of the main menu to enable iTunes and TwonkyMedia. You will still need to purchase a compatible media streamer like the Logitech to connect the server to home theatre systems. If you have networked surveillance cameras, the TS-639 Pro allows for direct connection and recording between the connected hard drives and the cameras using QNAP's Surveillance Station software.
Mapping network drives is a simple matter of detecting the NAS device and mapping one of the public folders as a network drive. The QNAP Finder program included with the TS-639 Pro is capable of doing this, as is Windows and the administration page.
Unfortunately for novice tech users, all of these functions will be difficult to learn. Although the initial set-up is simple, the Web-based management system for the TS-639 Pro is clearly aimed at the technologically adept and the main menu that controls advanced features is a wall of text.
So if you're a user that needs up to 9TB of very secure and versatile data storage, then the TS-639 Pro is an excellent option. Just make sure you're happy with the cost of buying the unit — as well as the additional hard drive cost — and that you are ready for the TS-639 Pro's somewhat steep operational learning curve.
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