IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

TerraMaster U8-111 review: A smashing budget NAS rack

Modest performance and features, but a good-value rack NAS that ticks all the network storage boxes

A photograph of the TerraMaster U8-111
Price
£749 exc VAT (diskless)
  • Strong value
  • Heaps of apps
  • Straightforward setup and provisioning
  • Limited expansion potential

Chinese company TerraMaster has been in the NAS game for over a decade and offers an impressive range of storage appliances, all with a sharp focus on value. The U8-111 on review is a prime example: this 2U rack appliance teams up eight hot-swap LFF/SFF SATA drive bays with dual gigabit plus a high-speed 10GbE copper port and comes at a competitive price.

The appliance is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 CPU. The base 4GB of embedded DDR3L memory can be doubled, but it’s far from easy as the motherboard must be removed to access the spare SODIMM slot underneath. Two USB 3 ports are for connecting external storage devices, but further expansion is limited by the lack of PCIe slots. 

Build quality is good, with a steel chassis and equally sturdy metal drive carriers. A feature that will appeal to small offices is the three hot-plug fans which run so quietly that the appliance is almost silent, even with four 16TB Seagate IronWolf disks and dual Micron 1.92GB SSDs fitted.

Installation is simple. The TNAS PC utility discovered the appliance and led us to a browser-based wizard that loaded the latest TOS (TerraMaster OS) 4.2 software and created a RAID5 volume. During this process, we opted for the Btrfs file system rather than EXT4 as it enables snapshot services.

The web console is easy to navigate and we quickly created NAS shares, applied access security, assigned storage quotas and decided whether to encrypt them. A separate app manages on-demand and scheduled NAS share snapshots and recovery but doesn’t currently support iSCSI LUNs.

A photograph of the rear of the TerraMaster U8-111

There are plenty of apps on hand: TerraMaster offers 88, more than eight times that provided by the likes of the Qsan XCubeNAS XN5008T. The Centralized Backup app secures Windows desktops and servers running a local client downloadable from the appliance, file servers using SMB or Rsync and Windows Server Hyper-V VMs, although for the latter each VM requires its own backup job. 

Another backup app supports Apple’s Time Machine and secures appliance data to remote Rsync servers, while cloud sync apps extend to Amazon S3, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and Google Drive. Docker apps can be run onboard in lightweight containers, but avoid the VirtualBox app if you’re running TOS 4.2.28, as it’s incompatible with this version.

Performance is similar to other Celeron J3455-equipped appliances, with a share mapped to a Dell PowerEdge T640 Windows server over 10GbE delivering Iometer sequential read and write rates of 5.3Gbits/sec and 4.4Gbits/sec. Real-world speeds are reasonable, too, with copies of a 25GB test file between the appliance and server averaging read and write rates of 4.4Gbits/sec and 3.3Gbits/sec, while securing 10,500 small files to the appliance returned 1.4Gbits/sec.

IP SAN performance is equally good, with a 500GB iSCSI target returning read and write speeds of 5.3Gbits/sec and 5.1Gbits/sec. We added an SSD cache to the volume containing the target and watched it deliver improvements of 185% and 338% for random read and write IOPS.

Plenty of new features will be available in TOS 5, which is still in beta testing, and we were given access to the latest version. The redesigned web console is much faster than previous TOS versions, the Snapshot app will extend protection to iSCSI LUNs and when the new Centralized Backup app is released, it will be able to secure VMware VMs.

Upgrade options are limited but the U8-111 is a big rack NAS well suited to small budgets. Plenty of business apps are on tap including a good range of data-protection services, and it delivered reasonable performance across our tests.

TerraMaster U8-111 specifications

Chassis

2U rack chassis

CPU

1.5GHz Intel Celeron J3455

Memory

4GB DDR3L (max 8GB)

Storage

8 x LFF/SFF SATA hot-swap drive bays

PSU

250W internal PSU

RAID support

Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10

Network

2 x Gigabit, 10GbE Ethernet

Other ports

2 x USB 3, HDMI

Management

TerraMaster OS 4.2

Warranty

1yr hardware warranty

Featured Resources

Big data for finance

How to leverage big data analytics and AI in the finance sector

Free Download

Ten critical factors for cloud analytics success

Cloud-native, intelligent, and automated data management strategies to accelerate time to value and ROI

Free Download

Remove barriers and reconnect with your customers

The $260 billion dollar friction problem businesses don't know they have

Free Download

The future of work is already here. Now’s the time to secure it.

Robust security to protect and enable your business

Free Download

Most Popular

How to secure your hybrid workforce
Advertisement Feature

How to secure your hybrid workforce

23 Sep 2022
What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops
Advertisement Feature

What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops

21 Sep 2022
Cloud and cyber security certifications remain highest paying for IT professionals
Careers & training

Cloud and cyber security certifications remain highest paying for IT professionals

29 Sep 2022