Qnap TS-219P Turbo Nas
A box of delights?
Review There are two main criticisms that can be levelled at Qnap’s TS-209 range of Nas boxes: they have poor file transfer speeds and poor access to the hard drives. The TS-219P tackles those issues head on with a faster 1.2GHz Marvell processor, compared with a 500MHz Marvell chip in the TS-209P, and sensible hot-swappable bays.
Qnap's TS-219P Turbo Nas
There are no hard drives supplied with this twin bay Nas box, so you’ll need to screw your chosen Sata hard drives to the hard drive caddy that includes screws and fittings for both 3.5in and, pleasingly, 2.5in drives too. Unlike the TS-209, there’s no faceplate nonsense covering the hard drives, however, it’s not as pretty as a TS-209. The TS-219P goes for more of a server look like Netgear’s ReadyNas range and is very sturdily built.
The hot-swappable caddies have a thick lever and a lock on the front. There are also four LEDs – two for hard drive status, one for eSata and one for Lan – that change colour so you can diagnose potential problems.
An built-in speaker can also signal potential problems, although an LCD panel – present on many other Nas boxes – would be better for solving problems. A USB port joins the party on the front, while two USB ports, two eSata ports, a Lan port and the power connector, alas featuring an external power brick, can be found on the rear.
Scheduled backup, Nas finder and bittorrent software is all included on a CD. Each does its job admirably, although the bittorrent software has uPnP Nat port forwarding disabled by default. You’ll need to enable that if you want to avoid configuring port forwarding on your router. Bittorrent files can be started on the Nas from the client or by dragging and dropping a torrent file onto a widget called Qget that floats around the desktop.
eSata and USB ports allow storage expansion
Head into the web configuration pages and you’ll be presented with a slick coverflow-like interface – part of Qnap’s new ajax-powered v3 firmware – where the web file manager, main setup pages and the Multimedia Station reside. The Multimedia Station enables access to videos, photos and music with a browser, with the slideshow mode option being a particularly impressive party trick.
Yeah but look at all it can do....
I've had a 209 since November last year and in the time up to now I've only just begun to realise what it can do.
Initially I just wanted a mirrored NAS that I could store all my movies and music on after having lost 300GB worth in a hard disk crash, but soon after I realised it could:
- Stream via uPnP via built in Twonky Server
- Act as an iTunes server
- host an FTP server accessible over the internet for uploading and downloading files.
- Same as above over HTTP
- Design and Host my website, forum and blog.
- Forward IP information to a 3rd party DNS company
- Stream music through a web interface over the internet
- Host an Email server
- Host 2 printers and share them over the network
- Act as DHCP server for the network
- Connect to IP cameras on the network and act as a server for them
- backup to a USB drive via a one touch button (slow as hell for an initial load but can properly sync rather than wipe and reload everything on the target drive).
- Act as a TimeMachine backup drive (with a bit of tweaking)
- Act as a torrent and HTTP/FTP download server.
- Join the Mule file sharing network
And I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out, I've used quite a few of these features but not all of them. Sure, there are some I will likely never use but I doubt anyone will manage to use ALL of the above.
And the QNAP team are constantly pushing out updates with new features, and the QPKG facility allows third party software to be installed and accessed via the web interface.
I'm more than satisfied with my decision to buy the 209, even though transfer speeds aren't that great. If the 219 addresses these issues then I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good all round NAS product.
The alternative of course is to spin your own NAS using a SheevaPlug. 1.2Ghz ARM based Kirkwood processor, 512MB RAM, 512MB Flash, SDCard, USB2, 1Gb Ethernet. $99 Runs Ubuntu from flash, with plenty of room for your own stuff, stick a Western Digital MyBook Mirror on the USB port and bobs yer uncle so they say..
This what I have done, and I get the best of both worlds, near NAS formfactor, NAS power consumption, ultimate configurability and a enough resources to do the most CPU intensive tasks (like transcodiing on TwonkyMedia).
"Sure you can put together a small pc cheaper and use it as server, but in the end I bought a QNAP NAS and am happy with it:"
And I'm just about to do the same. Been considering a NAS box for while, this is the first one I've seen that ticks all the boxes for me.
I've actually got most of the services running on a couple (or three) PCs under Linux already. However, our sixth power cut in the last month has highlighted how much use the whole family makes of the servers, not just yours truly. So one of these, a small UPS, a couple of 1TB drives that I've already got (had been planning to upgrade a server anyway) and that should be the last time I have to talk the wife through restarting the servers. And I get my playpen servers back!