Qnap TS-873AU-RP review: A great storage package in a space-saving chassis

This short-depth rack NAS delivers high capacity plus good performance and data-protection features

A photograph of the Qnap TS-873AU-RP

IT Pro Verdict


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    Highly upgradeable

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    Compact footprint

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    Strong performance

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    Flexible share provisioning


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    Memory upgrade may be required for some use-cases

Space-poor SMBs will love Qnap’s TS-873AU-RP, an 8-bay appliance that packs a lot into a comparatively small package. Its 2U rack chassis measures only 425mm deep, so it will slip easily into a small data cabinet or can be placed conveniently on a desk.

This shortness doesn’t come at the cost of features, though. It’s powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz AMD Ryzen V1500B CPU, and the base 4GB of DDR4 memory can be boosted to 64GB. The network is handled by dual 2.5GbE multi-gig ports, a pair of PCIe slots provide plenty of upgrade options, and the price includes two hot-plug 300W PSUs.

You also get a choice of operating systems. It can run Qnap’s QTS or QuTS hero, although to get the best from the latter you may need to upgrade the memory. Its inline deduplication and SSD caching features need at least 16GB of RAM, and upgrading to 10GbE speeds can require up to 32GB for the best possible performance.

QTS doesn’t offer the same level of integral data protection and storage-saving features as the ZFS-based QuTS, but is less demanding, as 4GB of memory allows it to handle 1TB SSD cache sizes. You can change the OS whenever you want, but this requires a factory reset so back up your data first.

Both OSes present identical web consoles and support virtually all of Qnap’s apps, so there’s plenty to play with. Along with scheduled snapshots, all backup apps are available for both and include Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS) 3, Qsync Central and HybridMount plus Hyper Data Protector for VMware and Hyper-V virtualised environments.

A photograph of the Qnap TS-873AU-RP

The appliance can function as a virtualisation host, although a memory upgrade may be prudent to ensure there’s enough for your VMs. You can use the Container Station to run Docker apps in lightweight containers while the Virtualization Station can host just about any OS you want.

QuTS makes its presence felt when creating NAS shares; it offers options for thick or thin provisioning, encryption, compression, deduplication and WORM (write once read many). WORM isn’t available for IP SANs but you can apply thick or thin provisioning, deduplication and compression, and both OSes also support Fibre Channel adapter cards.

When WORM is enabled on a NAS share, it can’t be modified or disabled, with the Enterprise policy allowing a protected folder to be deleted but stopping anything in it from being individually modified or removed. The tougher Compliance policy only allows a folder to be deleted by removing its parent storage pool.

For performance testing, we used four 14TB Western Digital Red Plus HDDs configured as a RAID5 array and hooked the appliance up over 10GbE to a Dell EMC T640 tower server running Windows Server 2019. Both operating systems delivered great performance for NAS shares, with Iometer recording a shade over 9Gbits/sec for sequential read and write operations.

Real world test speeds when copying a 25GB file between the appliance and server were also very similar. Both OSes delivered around 6.8Gbits/sec for reads and writes, and each secured our 22.4GB backup test folder at 2.1Gbits/sec.

IP SAN testing revealed some differences, with a 500GB iSCSI target managed by QTS returning Iometer read and write rates of 8.8Gbits/sec and 9Gbits/sec and QuTS averaging 7.6Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec. A dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target saw the gap widen for read performance with QTS ramping up to 14.6Gbits/sec and QuTS languishing at 8.4Gbits/sec.

The TS-873AU-RP offers a great storage package in a space-saving chassis. You’ll need to upgrade memory to get the best from it, but it offers good all-round performance, and the choice of operating systems makes it very versatile.

Qnap TS-873AU-RP specifications

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Chassis2U rack chassis
CPU2.2GHz AMD Ryzen V1500B
Memory4GB UDIMM DDR4 (max 64GB)
Storage8 x LFF/SFF hot-swap drive bays
PSU2 x 300W hot-plug PSUs
RAID supportSupports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, Triple Parity, Triple Mirror
Network2 x 2.5GbE multi-gig Ethernet
Other ports4 x USB 3.2, 2 x PCIe Gen3 x4 slots
ManagementQTS/QuTS hero software
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.