IT Pro Verdict
Excellent NAS performance
Mixed IP SAN performance
Wait till you see what's inside the Qnap TS-h987XU-RP before judging it on price, as this 1U rack NAS is bursting with features. First up is its nifty hybrid storage arrangement: along with four standard LFF hot-swap front drive bays, it presents five SFF trays underneath the lid, with dual support for U.2 NVMe and SATA SSDs.
It's a powerful package, too, with the resident 3.4GHz Intel Xeon E-2334 CPU supported by a base 16GB of DDR4 ECC memory expandable to 128GB. Networking is equally well endowed, with dual embedded 2.5GbE and RJ-45 10GbE multi-gig ports, while the spare PCI-E Gen4 slot can be used to add other adapters such as Qnap's 25/40GbE Ethernet and 16/32Gbits/sec Fibre Channel cards.
For our tests, we loaded four Western Digital 20TB Ultrastar DC HC560 hard disks and fitted its 1TB SA500 Red SATA SSDs in all internal trays. To really exercise the appliance, we installed Qnap's dual-port 25GbE adapter and slotted another in a Dell T640 Xeon Scalable server running Windows Server 2019. You can install Qnap's more nimble QTS software, but this appliance is geared up for the enterprise-class QuTS hero OS. It's easy to load by following the quick-start wizard, and we then used two mirrored SSDs for the system pool and all WD hard disks as a RAID5 data storage pool.
Qnap TS-h987XU-RP review: Performance
NAS performance is excellent, with a share mapped to the server over 25GbE delivering Iometer sequential read and write rates of 23.1Gbits/sec and 23Gbits and random rates of 23.1Gbits/sec and 20.3Gbits/sec. The last two results show how efficient the QuTS hero ARC (adaptive read cache) and ZIL (ZFS intent log) features are, effectively negating the need for SSD caches.
IP SAN performance was mixed, with a 1TB iSCSI target connected over one 25GbE link returning good Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 22.2Gbits/sec and 21Gbits/sec and random rates of 21.9Gbits/sec and 20Gbits/sec. A 50GbE MPIO link didn't deliver the expected speed boost, though, with sequential and random numbers increasing modestly to 30.7Gbits/sec and 22.8Gbits/sec and 28.2Gbits/sec and 21.4Gbits. The culprit was insufficient appliance memory, and doubling it to 32GB saw huge speed increases.
Running our MPIO tests again now delivered sequential read and write speeds of 45.7Gbits/sec and 40Gbits/sec and random rates of 46.1Gbits/sec and 37.7Gbits/sec. QuTS hero delivers an incredible range of data-protection features, including near unlimited NAS and iSCSI LUN snapshots, end-to-end checksums, inline data deduplication and compression. Along with the usual RAID array types, it supports triple parity RAID and triple mirroring, while NAS shares can be protected with WORM (write once, read many) policies to stop data tampering.
The SnapSync app provides fast snapshot backups to remote QuTS appliances using block-level replication run to a schedule or in real-time. The Hybrid Backup Sync 3 (HBS 3) app helps produce a 3-2-1 backup strategy for local data in as few as four clicks, and it provides file versioning for extra ransomware protection.
The appliance can host virtual machines – the Container Station, Ubuntu Linux Station, and Virtualization Station apps are all available – and you can protect external VMware and Hyper-V VMs using the free Hyper Data Protector app. Data security services are in abundance and include Qnap's Security Counselor, Antivirus, Malware Remover, and QuFirewall apps.
Qnap's TS-h987XU-RP and its smart combination of hard disks and SSDs delivers a ready-made hybrid storage solution for SMBs. The base 16GB of memory may need upgrading for network connection speeds beyond 10GbE, but this rack-friendly package offers a great specification for the price and Qnap's QuTS hero software scores highly for its data-protection features and business apps.
Qnap TS-h987XU-RP specifications
|Chassis||1U rack chassis|
|CPU||3.4GHz Intel Xeon E-2334|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 ECC UDIMM (max 128GB)|
|Storage||4 x LFF hot-swap, 5 x internal NVMe/SATA SFF SSD drive bays|
|RAID||supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, Triple Parity, Triple Mirror|
|Warranty||3yr hardware warranty|
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry. He started his career working on mainframe computers including ICL and Unisys within the pharmaceutical, services and corporate financial sectors and managed one of the largest Unisys mainframe installations in the world. Since moving into journalism in 1994, Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for IT Pro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.