back to article Brimming with VM goodness: Qnap TS-453mini 4-bay NAS

Qnap’s TS-453mini is the latest addition to the company’s TS-x53 Pro mid-range series of NAS units for SMBs.It is available in two basic models, the TS-453mini-2G (2GB DD3L) and the TS-453mini-8G, the flagship model of the range. The one I have to review has the maximum amount of memory the unit supports: 8GB of DDR3L running at …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way over priced. You can buy a HP 1610T on ebuyer for £120 after cashback, comes with double the memory compared to the base Qnap model (4gb as opposed to 2gb) and a faster cpu, the Celeron 1610T as opposed to the J1900.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/722189-hp-proliant-gen8-g1610t-4gb-ram-microserver-819185-421

    1. Timmay

      Not quite the same

      Sure, I've got the previous generation of that, and I use it for my NAS. But the difference is this thing comes setup with all the software you need - plug and play. The HP box is just hardware.

      I'm not saying the Qnap isn't overpriced (as is most of their stuff), but it's not an apples to apples comparison, and they have to make money somewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not quite the same

        So, chuck on linux for free or one of the free BSD NAS setups. £230 saved for an hours work setting up the software more than pays for drives.

        And I have to save money from somewhere, not set fire to it.

        1. Timmay

          Re: Not quite the same

          Look, you're preaching to the converted here! Amen, fella!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not quite the same

            Look, you're preaching to the converted here! Amen, fella!

            Timmay, glad to meet a fellow member of the tight arse club :)

          2. Ian Watkinson

            Re: Not quite the same

            Running costs on the Qnap vs the HP? (given that both are going to be on for 24/7/365 for 3-4 years)

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Not quite the same

          Sure, a good few of us could do just that. However when you factor in the cost of our time, the HP solution starts to look not so cheap.

          Ok, I might be a little biased as I've got a QNAP TS410 sitting on a shelf out in the garage. Been super reliable and does OOTB what it says on the tin. The ease of use is the main selling points of these devices.

          The last thing I want to do is scrabble around trying to get something working again after a slightly botched OS update when all I want to do is get access to my files.

          This device has oodles more power that the TS410 I bought at least 6 years ago for around the same price.

          Support hasn't been too bad either. I upgraded its software last year. Better than a lot of phones/tablets.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not quite the same

            Steve,

            "The last thing I want to do is scrabble around trying to get something working again after a slightly botched OS update when all I want to do is get access to my files."

            Well that's you, there are more technically adept people around who can sort issues quickly and don't get paid £230/hour. I've seen plenty of bjorked updates of other things over the years.

            1. Day

              Re: Not quite the same

              The number of people who can do what you propose is vanishingly small. The fact that I can do it and you can do it does not mean that there is no market for this item. Of course it's more expensive than a bespoke solution. But if you can't do this stuff, you get a lot for the difference in price. If you can do this stuff, but prefer to buy one of these NASes it still might be worth it, depending on how your value your time. Not everyone has the same amount of time to spare for projects like this. But I guess you know this anyway - for reasons best known to yourself, you want to pretend that your way of doing things is right for everyone.

            2. <shakes head>

              Re: Not quite the same

              at what point did the desire to not do something become not having the ability?

          2. K Silver badge

            Re: Not quite the same

            "However when you factor in the cost of our time, the HP solution starts to look not so cheap"

            So your earning capacity is > £200 per hour?..

            These type of boxes are nothing more than crippled mini-itx. With the HP units you get far more expandability, flexibility and even more important, you get reuse. My HP MicroServer went from NAS to ESXi Host.

        3. DanielN

          Re: Not quite the same

          "£230 saved for an hours work setting up the software more than pays for drives."

          If you can actually do all of that in an hour, you are skilled enough to make £1000+ an hour. Miracle workers do not work miracles for themselves. They send their staff out to buy a pre-worked miracle. ("No, I really can do that!" You can't even write the regression test plan in an hour. You _were_ going to test it fully for each software update, right? It wasn't going to be a tossed together pile of silliness that breaks dozens of times over the years, right?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can, but you need to sacrifice one of the HDDs to hold an OS.

      Some people want to spend time building and configuring a NAS. Some just want to use one. I've been down both roads, but the first time I discovered that I'd got a failed HDD on a FreeNAS install, and zero alerts because of it, was the moment I thought of switching to a "proper" NAS.

      1. Down not across

        You can, but you need to sacrifice one of the HDDs to hold an OS.

        Some people want to spend time building and configuring a NAS. Some just want to use one. I've been down both roads, but the first time I discovered that I'd got a failed HDD on a FreeNAS install, and zero alerts because of it, was the moment I thought of switching to a "proper" NAS.

        No you don't have to sacrifice disk for OS. I have some of the old N36 ones and they have a nice USB socket on the motherboard that is perfect for USB stick with FreeNAS/NAS4Free. I would be surprised of the new generation did not retain that. Guess I'll find out as I'm tempted to upgrade (nice of the new ones to have ILO built in as well (even if bit restricted unless you cough up for the license)).

        I've not had any issues with alerting/monitoring FreeNAS7. Fair enough in my case it gets polled via SNMP quite frequently, but equally you could have its default email alerts if you don't do SNMP.

        Setting up FreeNAS/Nas4Free is not really much different from setting up a "real NAS". Sure there are some extra steps to get to the point where it boots off the USB stick so its not quite as simple as ready made system.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I've not had any issues with alerting/monitoring FreeNAS7. Fair enough in my case it gets polled via SNMP quite frequently, but equally you could have its default email alerts if you don't do SNMP."

          Try it - pull the data cable out of one of the disks and see if it alerts you to a degraded RAID5 array. Mine didn't, but this was 3 years ago. Be interested to know if this has changed, but I didn't get any notification, even with full alerting switched on. Was a bit of a wake up call.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. petur

      sure, for users who know how to do this stuff, there are far cheaper options.

      But many (most) normal users aren't, and I see enough people even have questions when configuring such an easy device.

      Another pro is that QNAP support doesn't really care how old your NAS is, if you get into trouble, somebody will even connect and fix things for you, even if it means manually reassembling the RAID array on a 5 year old machine after RAID rebuild failure.

      So for many users the extra money buys them peace of mind.

      That said, nobody prevents you from getting the 2GB model and stuff 8GB in it, the memory slot is at the bottom and easily accessible.

      disclaimer: I don't work for QNAP, but I run a QNAP community forum for Dutch speaking users at http://www.qnapclub.be

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So Petur absolutely no vested interests in qnaps then ?

        "but I run a QNAP community forum for Dutch speaking users at http://www.qnapclub.be"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        QNAP support used to be excellent, and cover the Western Europe timezone. Now they're far east hours only and demand that you to leave an admin workstation logged in overnight, unlocked and with a desktop sharing app running.

        Don't be fooled into thinking RAID is indestructible - I've seen three instances across five rackmount QNAP servers where the entire volume becomes corrupt and unmountable. In each case QNAP walked away saying the disks weren't on their approved list, so on the basis of that list backed up by a press release all the disks were replaced with WD Reds. Fortunately I'd kept a copy of the press release because six months later one of them trashed irrecoverably again and we discovered that Reds had been quietly dropped from the list for rackmount systems owing to vibration problems.

        Not that any other low-to-mid four digit storage vendor is likely to be much different as you get what you pay for.

        1. M. B.

          I had an 8-bay at a previous job for OwnCloud storage (TS8xx rack mount), loaded with approved drives. It was okay for what we needed at the time but had horrible write performance under load, then suffered a catastrophic failure resulting in data loss (which is impressive on a RAID-6 array) - sure enough the drives we had used which were on the approved list when we bought them were also removed sometime before the failure, and I know they weren't Reds because that's what we were going to replace them with.

          So my experience with QNAP is poor at best, but I'd still like a 2-drive unit for home, some nifty features there from a home perspective that I could get on with and I'd love to have something on-prem for backup.

        2. petur

          "QNAP support used to be excellent, and cover the Western Europe timezone. Now they're far east hours only and demand that you to leave an admin workstation logged in overnight, unlocked and with a desktop sharing app running."

          Weird, they've been doing the exact opposite by building local support teams for certain countries, but the focus was on language, not time zone. There are people in France, Germany, The Netherlands,...

          "Don't be fooled into thinking RAID is indestructible - I've seen three instances across five rackmount QNAP servers where the entire volume becomes corrupt and unmountable. In each case QNAP walked away saying the disks weren't on their approved list, so on the basis of that list backed up by a press release all the disks were replaced with WD Reds. Fortunately I'd kept a copy of the press release because six months later one of them trashed irrecoverably again and we discovered that Reds had been quietly dropped from the list for rackmount systems owing to vibration problems."

          Yeah, serious fault of QNAP, they should never have certified HOME NAS class disks for RACK. If you're running big rackmount setups 24/7, don't be a cheapskate and order enterprise-class drives.

  3. TrevorH

    Hmmmm

    Magnetic lid and spinning rust... good combination.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Hmmmm

      > Magnetic lid and spinning rust... good combination.

      So don't stack your 5 1/4 inch floppies on top of it then.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've been dogfooding the new firmware for a while

    It's been in public beta for a while.

    I'll admit to being quite pleased with the new functionality regardless of my loyalties.

    (no, i'm not in Belgium)

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Protocols?

    So what about the "Network Attached" bit, does it support any grown-up protocols like NFS or iSCSI, or it is a pure SMB product just intended for Windows networks?

    1. url

      Re: Protocols?

      iSCSI, SMB, NFS, and AFP

  6. Inertia

    QNAP and Synology nas are uniformly worth a premium if you need a NAS. Nooobody does, IT better....

    1. razorfishsl

      Fail........

      Synology construction is CRAP.....

      NAS is way better.

      If you think running rust at >50 degrees C. is good engineering, then you are in for a surprise....

      And building an "enterprose/business" NAS with the capability of 25TB storage WITHOUT anything other than 1G networking is just fucking stupid, it can take 4 days to recover a synology......

  7. BenBell

    I've been looking for an upgrade. I currently run a TS-212 at home, which is brilliant, but very full!

  8. lurker

    Cooling and Noise

    It would be helpful to have a description of the noise it makes. It's sounds funny, but the main reason I moved from using things like this to using a larger more traditional PC case for my NAS (home use) is because these things often come fitted with tiny fans running at high RPMs which sound like a bottle of aggrieved wasps. To me, for home use, this matters more than the performance side of things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cooling and Noise

      It would be helpful to have a description of the noise it makes.

      That is a very good question to ask, not just for home use but also in an office. Unfortunately, the challenge for the author is that any measurement will never just be the NAS, it will also be the drives, and I suspect fans are adaptive so it may also depend on load.

      But I too still would like to have some idea. Even if it's in El Reg measurements :)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Run VM's with only 8Gb ram? Why?

    1. Bluto Nash

      Run VM's with only 8Gb ram

      Because you sometimes don't NEED a full throttle, firebreathing behemoth of a machine, just one that'll do what you want it to? Bear in mind that this is for SMB/SOHO, not enterprise, in which case you'd have a dedicated chassis for running your VMs.

    2. InfiniteApathy
      Facepalm

      I agree with the AC just above - what kind of VM are you going to run on this thing that would actually be useful? Don't forget, you need to leave some of that 8GB of ram and Celeron for the NAS to get it's groove on with. I don't want to be mistaken, this is a sweet feature, I just don't see the utility in it.

      Bittorrent dump box?

      .....???

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Proxy, try-out versions of OSes, linux desktop etc. I reckon you could do most with less than 8GB. Possibly, relating to another recent article, you could run your own OpenBSD mail server in one such VM.

    3. url

      docker & lxc support

      Container station I guess

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10G support?

    I keep building my own NAS boxes at home, because all of these premade jobbies only ever come with 1GbE nics. :(

    When are they going to start utilising higher bandwidth nics?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10G support?

      TS-X63 are "10 GbE Ready", Mellanox cards are supported also.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: 10G support?

      Ok, so what percentage of the market has anything more than 1GB Lan?

      How muck does 10GbE cost?

      What consumer level and business PC's have the capability to run at more then 1GB?

      Your stance is fine if you have an infrstructre that supports 10GbE but for the rest of us.... 1GB is the best we can afford/justify.

      When the costs of switches/router come down (As they will do ... eventually) we might see more SME's with 10GbE networks.

  11. Justin Clift

    Re: Steve Davies 3 - 10G support

    Fast network connections don't cost much for home labs. eg:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=MHGH28-XTC&_sop=2

    Those cards are 20Gb/s per port, and there are two ports per card. :)

    Switches can be found reasonably cheaply too.

    1. <shakes head>

      Re: Steve Davies 3 - 10G support

      which really helps over my wireless connection to my laptop <sigh> different does not me good or bad it just means different, when will we git this( or I may be wrong)

  12. H.I.T.S

    Errrmmm what do I write here....

    Can't speak for QNAP but I'm huge fan of Synology, agree they're not cheap but by and large they do 'just work' and are very reliable, unlike W.D RED HDD ( story for another day ).

    The 2 & 4 bay versions are ideal for micro SME's who need basic sharing, remote access but not much more.

    The main thing for me is Synology support is excellent. Speak loads to their U.K. tech team who go out of their way to be helpful.

    Compared to some of the I.T. manufacture support teams I've spoken to over the years, the Synology chimps are the best.

    That's kind of what you are paying for and the time saved, especially when on site with a cross customer who wants the earth for nothing..

  13. Allonymous Coward

    I used to have a QNAP NAS

    Think it was a TS-219 or something. Nice little device, but I soon realised it was basically an ARM box running a bespoke Linux distro, and I was hitting limits fairly regularly when trying to use it as a music server, cloud backup client or whatever. Sure you could *do* most of that stuff but it was harder than I liked, and sometimes felt a bit hacky and non-standard if you stepped outside the packaged features.

    Decommissioned it in favour of an HP Microserver with big cashback offer, running OpenMediaVault off a spare laptop HDD plugged into the internal USB port (yes it does work). I like OMV better; very polished preconfigured NAS experience but full fat Debian under the hood if you need to get down with some detailed configuration.

    I like things that Just Work, but unfortunately I found a dedicated NAS device Just Worked for about 90% of what I needed. Other people's mileage will undoubtedly vary. Cost, while nice, wasn't a major factor.

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