Qsan XCubeNAS XN7016R review: A big rack for big business

A very expandable rack NAS that’s big on performance and loaded with high-end data protection features

Qsan XCubeNAS XN7016R front and rear

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Multi-PB maximum capacity

  • +

    Robust cloud support

  • +

    Outstanding performance


  • -

    Default memory only allows for 1GB per VM

If capacity is your priority, Qsan's XCubeNAS XN7016R could be your ideal NAS. This 3U rack appliance offers 16 hot-swap drive bays, any of which can be fitted with SSDs for caching or data tiering.

They're not limited to SATA, either: high-performance SAS3 drives are supported both inside and out, with a pair of external SAS3 ports allowing you to connect up to eight external 24-bay shelves. Qsan's partnership with Western Digital means you can even connect four massive Ultrastar Data60 or Data102 SAS JBOD arrays for a ludicrous raw capacity of up to eight petabytes.

It all runs on a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium D1517 CPU, and comes with a base 8GB of DDR4 memory that can be upgraded to a whopping 128GB. High-speed connectivity is taken care of by a pair of embedded 10GBase-T data ports, and if you need even more bandwidth, the two expansion bays accept dual and quad-port 10GbE and 16Gbits/sec fibre channel modules.

Setting up the XCubeNAS is simple; after installing four 16TB Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS drives for testing, we used Qsan's Finder app to quickly discover the appliance, upgrade its firmware and create a big 42TB RAID5 storage pool. The QSM web interface is clear and intuitively designed, and the ZFS-based QSM software offers a great spread of features, including unlimited snapshots, data deduplication, real-time data tiering and three WORM policies for secure data archival. If you have more than one Qsan storage appliance, the new XInsight app runs as a web service on a Windows host to provide a central view of activity, storage usage, backup status and alerts for all of them.

Qsan XCubeNAS XN7016R management software

Data protection is as easy as using the Backup app to set snapshot schedules, while for remote backup your data can be replicated to other Qsan or rsync-compatible appliances, or uploaded to Alibaba Cloud OSS, Amazon S3 or HiCloud. The Cloud Sync app, meanwhile, allows you to connect your storage to Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, while the free Acronis-powered XReplicator software is used to back up Windows workstations to the appliance.

Beyond that, the app library is comparatively sparse. QSM only offers ten apps, but these cover the most important bases, including hardware monitoring, antivirus, media management, VPN access, SQL databases, web services and virtualisation. Note that if you choose the standard hardware configuration with 8GB of system memory, the virtualisation app will only allow you to assign 1GB of virtual memory to VMs; upgrading to 16GB of RAM relaxes the limit to 3GB per VM.

Performance is great. When we connected to a share from a Dell T640 Xeon Scalable Windows server over 10GbE, Iometer recorded fast sequential read and write rates both of 9.2Gbits/sec. Drag-and-drop copies of a 25GB test file averaged read and write speeds of 8.7Gbits/sec and 4.7Gbits/sec, while our backup test copied a 22.4GB folder of 10,500 files at a nifty 2.6Gbits/sec.

IP SAN speeds are equally good, with a 500GB LUN delivering read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 8.5Gbits/sec. Configuring a dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target saw speed increase nicely to 18.5Gbits/sec and 12.9Gbits/sec.

In all, Qsan's XCubeNAS XN7016R is an exceptional NAS appliance. For growing SMEs seeking enterprise-class performance and data protection services, it's an excellent choice.

Qsan XCubeNAS XN7016R specifications

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Chassis3U rack chassis
CPU1.6GHz Intel Pentium D1517
Memory8GB DDR4 ECC (max 128GB)
Storage16 x LFF/SFF SAS3/SATA hot-swap drive bays
PSU2 x 750W hotplug PSUs
RAID supportSupports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, Z3, JBOD
Network2x 10GbE, Gigabit Ethernet management port
Other ports2x external SAS3, 4x USB 3, USB 2, 2x expansion module bays
Warranty3yr hardware warranty
Dave Mitchell

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.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.