Qnap TS-h1886XU-RP review: Split personality

This flexible yet affordable rack NAS boasts dual OS support, great performance and heaps of features

A photograph of the Qnap TS-h1886XU-RP
Price
£2,756 exc VAT (diskless/32GB)
  • Fabulous performance
  • Highly expandable
  • Extremely versatile
  • 4TB SSD cache requires 128GB RAM
  • Switching from QuTS hero to QTS can be laborious

If versatility is what you’re after in a business NAS, then Qnap’s TS-h1886XU-RP has you covered. This 2U rack system can house up to 18 drives, via 12 front-facing hot-swap bays and six rear SFF bays, and has plenty of connectivity options, in the form of quad Gigabit Ethernet ports plus dual 10GbE connectors.

The appliance even offers two operating systems: on initial setup, the quick-start wizard prompts you to choose between Qnap’s nimble QTS OS and the advanced QuTS hero OS. While the latter is more demanding, the TS-h1886XU-RP has the resources to match it: the price above includes 32GB of DDR4 RAM, which is enough to fully enable inline deduplication and get top performance from the 10GbE ports. The only catch is that you’re limited to a 1TB SSD cache; to increase this to 4TB, you’ll need to upgrade to the maximum 128GB.

QTS doesn’t have all the high-end features of QuTS, but it can support a 4TB cache out of the box – and, unlike QuTS, it supports Qnap’s Qtier 2 data-migration feature.

Whichever path you choose, the user experience is very similar. The two systems present almost identical web consoles, with 130 downloadable apps for QTS and 144 for QuTS. All the key backup apps are available for both OSes, including Hybrid Backup Sync 3, Qsync Central and HybridMount – plus Hyper Data Protector for VMware and Hyper-V systems.

What’s more, both platforms give excellent performance. The appliance is driven by a quad-core 2.6GHz Intel Xeon D-1622 CPU, and three vacant PCI-E slots offer plenty of expansion options: they’ll take multi-Gigabit, 10GbE, 25GbE and 40GbE network adapters, or 16/32Gbits/sec Fibre Channel cards.

A screenshot of the Qnap TS-h1886XU-RP's management dashboard

Qnap recommends installing QuTS on SSDs, so for testing we used a pair of mirrored 960GB Micron SFF SSDs. For data-storage duties, we fitted six Toshiba 18TB MG09 SATA hard disks and created a massive 79TB RAID5 storage pool. Subsequently switching to QTS was a bit of an operation, as it requires you to back up all your data and reinitialise the appliance. However, QTS doesn’t require SSDs for its system pool, so we just created a single pool from the Toshiba drives - and the results were illuminating. 

For 10GbE NAS performance, there’s nothing to choose between the two operating systems: under both systems, Iometer recorded read and write rates a shade over 9Gbits/sec, which is what we’d expect from a business-class appliance. 

It was the same story in our file-copying tests: when we dragged a 25GB file to and from a network share, both OSes averaged around 7.6Gbits/sec for both reads and writes, while our 22.4GB test folder was copied at a speedy 2.4Gbits/sec.

To test IP SANs, we used a 1TB iSCSI target mapped to our test server over a dual 10GbE MPIO link. Again, QTS and QuTS delivered near-identical performance, with sequential read and write speeds between 17Gbits/sec and 18Gbits/sec. Moving to random read operations saw respective speeds of 18.5Gbits/sec and 18.1Gbits/sec.

We did see one big difference, however. QuTS uses Qnap’s ARC (adaptive read cache) and ZIL (ZFS intent log) features, which enable much faster random writes over iSCSI: QTS achieved rates of only 0.6Gbits/sec, while QuTS shot ahead at an average of 17.3Gbits/sec. Adding a dual SSD cache to QTS improved performance, but only to 4Gbits/sec.

Note, too, that QuTS supports triple mirroring and RAID-TP (triple parity) to protect against three drive failures – something QTS can’t match. And when creating NAS shares, QuTS gives you the option to enable native compression and deduplication to save space, plus WORM policies to prevent data being tampered with.

With its dual personality, the Qnap’s TS-h1886XU-RP will appeal to a wide range of businesses. Both OS options perform well and offer a wide range of features, and its clever 18-bay design is ideal for SSD-accelerated storage services with plenty of room to expand. 

Qnap TS-h1886XU-RP specifications

Chassis

2U rack chassis

CPU

2.6GHz quad-core Intel Xeon D-1622 CPU

Memory

32GB DDR4 ECC (max 128GB)

Storage

12 x SATA LFF/SFF (front), 6 x SATA SFF (rear)

PSU

2 x 550W hot-plug PSUs

RAID support

RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, Triple Parity, Triple Mirror (with QuTS)

Network

4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x 10GbE SFP+ PCI-E card 

Other ports

2 x USB 3.2  4 x PCI-E 3 slots

Warranty

5yr hardware warranty

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