NAS Network Storage Server Final Thoughts
My first and solemn duty is to remind everyone that relying on a collection of drives in any RAID configuration for data backup purposes is a huge and potentially costly error. RAID systems provide protection against loss of services, not loss of data. Several examples will illustrate the problem, I hope:
- the drive controller goes bad and corrupts the data on all the drives in the array
- the entire storage device is physically or electrically damaged by external forces
- the entire storage device is lost, stolen, or destroyed
- a single drive in a RAID 5 cluster dies and during the rebuild process, which puts higher stress on the remaining drives, a second drive fails
- floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. (AKA El Niño)
All these points lead to the inescapable conclusion that multiple drives in a common system, in a single location do not provide effective and reliable data backup. Throughout this review I’ve talked about high-availability systems, and the QNAP TS-470 fits into that category, especially when employed in a RAID 6 configuration. Even with two concurrent drive failures, your data is still available and accessible. The NAS device stays online the entire time while the failed drives are replaced and the array is rebuilt. That’s what RAID systems are designed to do. The inherent redundancy is not meant to serve as a backup file set. Remember, we’re not talking about losing data here, we’re only talking about the ability to keep working uninterrupted, if one or two drives should fail. Remember, “Time is Money”.
The QNAP TS-470 is definitely a product that readers of Benchmark Reviews could contemplate purchasing. Maybe you don’t have a real justification for spending the kind of money that it takes to put eight HDD spindles in play, but four bays, a stronger CPU, and the option for 10GbE makes for an interesting proposition. As hi-res audio and video become the norm, it might make sense to invest in this level of performance. Also, if you’ve gone “network happy” in your house, have structured wiring to most every room, and have everything running through a 24 port business class switch, then this is the NAS for you. At the moment, it looks like 10GBASE-T is taking the dominant position in the 10GbE market. It has the advantage of running medium distances on CAT5e or CAT6 cables, which cuts down tremendously on the cost and complexity of implementation. Fiber will always have a place in the data center, but most small and medium size businesses have reasonably small installations, where the 55 meter cable length restriction for CAT5e is not an issue, and certainly the 100m maximum for CAT6 is even less of a limitation. Either way, the PCIe expansion slot on the TS-470 will let you install the network interface card of your choice.
I’m going to leave the issue of SSD caching for another article, just because I don’t see many people opting to do that on a four-bay device. But, if you’re committed to getting the absolute highest performance in a small NAS server, the option is there, courtesy of the new QTS 4.0 operating system.
So, what conclusions can we draw, particularly about this high performance, four-bay TS-470 Turbo NAS server? Click NEXT to find out, and discuss…