Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: Well-endowed NAS storage

A versatile storage appliance with Xeon E-2200 power and heaps of 10GbE ports

A photograph of the front and rear of the Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP
Price
£3,783 exc VAT (diskless, 32GB)
  • Choice of OSes
  • Quad 10GbE ports,
  • Xeon E CPU
  • Great 10GbE performance
  • Enterprise data protection features
  • High expansion potential

Qnap was the first vendor to equip its NAS appliances with Intel’s Xeon E server-grade CPUs and it now brings this processing power to its enterprise-class QuTS hero-powered rack models. The TS-hx83XU series offers a choice of three drive capacities ranging from 12 to 24 bays, and first of these is the entry-level TS-h1283XU-RP.

This 2U 12-bay appliance has plenty of power on tap, with a speedy 3.4GHz six-core Xeon E-2236 in the driving seat partnered by 32GB of ECC DDR4 memory expandable to 128GB. Network port permutations are excellent as the appliance includes quad embedded Gigabit and two dual-port PCI-E expansion cards providing a choice of 10GbE RJ-45 and SFP+ fibre ports.

The TS-h1283XU-RP is massively expandable - even with the two 10GbE cards in residence, it still has two more free PCI-E slots. Along with a choice of 10GbE, 25GbE and 40GbE network cards plus fibre channel adapters, it accepts Qnap’s multi-port SAS3 expansion cards allowing up to sixteen 16-bay TL-R1620Sep-RP disk shelves to be daisy-chained in fault tolerant links. 

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: QuTS features

Qnap’s QuTS hero is a 128-bit ZFS-based operating system which delivers a range of valuable enterprise-class data integrity and protection features. End-to-end checksums offer transparent self-healing of data corruption, ZFS copy-on-write provides fast, near-unlimited snapshots for NAS shares and iSCSI LUNs, and it introduces triple mirroring. This stores identical copies of data on three drives and triple parity RAID (RAID-TP) to protect against up to three drive failures. 

NAS share data can be protected from unauthorized deletion or modification by applying one of two WORM (write once read many) policies, and QuTS hero can also make big storage savings with compression and in-line deduplication. However, there’s a good reason why the TS-h1283XU-RP comes with a base 32GB of memory: the QuTS deduplication requires a minimum of 16GB, the 10GbE ports need at least 32GB to get the best performance out of them and up to 1TB SSD cache sizes are supported.

A closeup of the internal design of the Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP

On the other hand, the appliance’s browser-based quick start wizard offers a choice between QuTS hero and Qnap’s standard QTS OS, if you wish. This is less demanding for memory but doesn’t offer the same level of data protection features as QuTS and only supports EXT4 volumes.

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: 10GbE performance

Qnap recommends SSDs for the best system pool performance, so we loaded QuTS on dual mirrored 960GB Micron SFF SSDs. For data pool duties, we chose six Toshiba 18TB MG09 SATA HDDs and created a big 79TB RAID5 storage pool. 

With a NAS share mapped over a 10GbE fibre link to a Dell EMC PowerEdge T640 tower running Windows Server 2019, we saw Iometer report great sequential read and write rates of 9.3Gbits/sec and 9.2Gbits/sec. Real world performance was equally good with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file returning read and write rates of 7.7Gbits/sec and 8Gbits/sec, while securing a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files averaged a speedy 2.5Gbits/sec. 

IP SAN performance is up there too, with a 1TB iSCSI target returning top Iometer sequential read and write rates of 9.3Gbits/sec and 9.2Gbits/sec. We then created a dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target and recorded average Iometer read and write rates of 18.5Gbits/sec and 17.4Gbits/sec.

QuTS scores over QTS for its more efficient handling of random operations as its ARC (adaptive read cache) and ZIL (ZFS intent log) features negate the need for SSD caches. We confirmed this with our dual MPIO iSCSI target, which returned random read and write speeds of 18.4Gbits/sec and 17.1Gbits/sec. 

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: Data protection

A screenshot of the Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP's Hyper Data Protector app

The QuTS web interface is virtually identical to Qnap’s standard QTS version and presents a shallow learning curve. You’ll come across many of its data protection features when creating NAS shares as the wizard offers options for thick or thin provisioning, encryption, compression, deduplication and WORM policies.

For WORM, you can set a retention period in days, months or years, while the Enterprise policy allows a protected folder to be deleted but stops anything in it from being individually modified or removed. The Compliance policy is tougher, as the only way to delete the folder is to remove the parent storage pool.

Snapshot creation procedures are the same as for QTS; you choose a folder or iSCSI LUN, apply a schedule and decide how many to retain. Smart snapshots save space as they will only occur if the data has changed since the last one and data can be swiftly restored using the File Station 5 app to browse NAS snapshots.

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: App choices

App support is excellent as we checked the App Center and counted 113 packages available for the TS-h1283XU-RP. All key backup and file syncing apps are present and include Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS) 3, Qsync Central and HybridMount, plus Hyper Data Protector which protects VMware and Hyper-V virtualized environments.

Boxafe provides NAS-based backup services for G Suite and Office 365 cloud accounts, while the Malware Remover keeps your on-appliance data safe. The appliance can also host virtual machines via the Container Station, Ubuntu Linux Station and Virtualization Station apps.

A screenshot of the Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP's App Center

Snapshots can be replicated to other QuTS appliances for additional protection too. The freshly released SnapSync service is accessed from the Storage & Snapshots app and synchronises snapshots to remote QuTS appliances, either according to a set schedule or in real time.

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP review: Verdict

Qnap’s TS-h1283XU-RP has what it takes to satisfy businesses that want a solid combination of storage performance, data protection features and expansion potential. The choice of two OSes adds a lot of flexibility and although the asking price for a diskless unit may seem high, bear in mind this includes a fast Xeon E-2236 CPU, 32GB of memory and a quartet of 10GbE data ports.

Qnap TS-h1283XU-RP specifications

Chassis

2U rack chassis

CPU

3.4GHz six-core Intel Xeon E-2236

Memory

32GB ECC DDR4 UDIMM (max 128GB)

Storage

12 x SATA LFF/SFF

RAID

RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, Triple Parity, Triple Mirror

Expansion

1 x PCI-E Gen 2, 3 x PCI-E Gen 3 slots (2 free)

Network

4 x Gigabit, 2 x 10GbE RJ-45, 2 x 10GbE SFP+

Other ports

2 x Type-C USB 3.2, 4 x Type-A USB 3.2

Power

2 x hot-plug 500W PSUs

Management

Web browser

Warranty

3 year limited

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