Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A – a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

QNAP has introduced to the market new network storage TBS-453A, which differs from the classical NAS in several ways. As soon as you pay attention to the slim and compact design, as well as unusual interior, containing up to four M.2 SSD, 4-core processor Intel Celeron N3150 and 8 GB of RAM. TBS-453A contains a switch-based storage, you can arrange a separate subnet, that is before us a comprehensive solution for small workgroups. Thanks to the HDMI output and two inputs microphones store also focuses on multimedia and entertainment scenarios.

TBS-453A in the QNAP product portfolio relate to the SME, ie small and medium-sized businesses. This category is below the corporate segment, the products are ideal for home and small offices. TBS-453A New location is quite different from traditional NAS systems, in which the emphasis is on large volumes of data. Due to the different modes of TBS-453A RAID storage supporting the usual data protection features, but due to the use of SSD M.2 capacity is not that big. Therefore, TBS-453A is not suitable if you large amounts of data need to be stored. On the other hand, it combines compact storage housing up to four SSD and a large number of interfaces. There are other advantages.

TBS-453A from QNAP is positioned as a universal mini-server that can be used, for example, during meetings or conferences. Participants are invited to a dedicated LAN-based TBS-453A, the storage is mobile thanks to compact housing dimensions and power supply. When connecting to the LAN clients can access the data. Four Ethernet ports of the five are connected to a switch that works, even if the NAS is turned off. With two outputs HDMI (and mode multi-monitor), TBS-453A storage can be used in single-player mode with a mouse / USB keyboard and control it remotely. A Linux Station then storage can be used as a computer running Linux through HybridDesk Station are available a variety of applications, from the browser, the LibreOffice and Surveillance Station to multimedia applications such as Kodi, Plex Home Theater, Spotify or Youtube.

Thanks to the SSD, 4-core CPU and the five ports of 1 Gbit / s TBS-453A storage is very fast file server, but QNAP has implemented an interesting concept. Five Gigabit ports are connected to the “only” two Gigabit Ethernet controllers. One of the ports is connected directly to the first controller, the remaining four ports through the internal switch – to the second controller. Four ports support a second mode of operation when the TBS-453A builds upon them private network, completely separated from the LAN or Internet. One of the possible scenarios – monitoring facilities through Surveillance Station on the TBS-453A, where you can disable IP-cameras from the rest of the network. Although TBS-453A has multiple Ethernet interfaces are not supported aggregation.

Price TBS-453A is from 450 euros without drives.

QNAP TBS-453A: Hardware

At first glance, QNAP TBS-453A is not very similar to the NAS system as the thickness of the shell with a stylish orange trim is only 25 mm. Rather, we have a HTPC, which is partly true because of the similarity of the technologies used. The same Intel Celeron, SSD M.2, USB 3.0 ports and HDMI outputs can be found in many Intel NUC systems.

The TBS-453A storage installed Intel Celeron N3150 processor, a modern 4-core of SoC, which works fine with encryption through hardware support AES-NI instructions. TBS-453A is equipped with four or eight gigabytes of memory, but two modules can be updated independently.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

TBS-453A contains the front panel power button, two USB 3.0 ports and a slot for memory cards SD, also has a copy button and two buttons with plus and minus to adjust the volume. SSD installed inside, access is through a removable bottom panel. You can also see the front four LED, showing the activity of the SSD.

Behind dominated by five network interfaces. You can also note two HDMI output ports and two USB 3.0, analog audio output and two inputs for microphones. The last point that the TBS-453A can be used for karaoke, a very popular entertainment in Asia. Along with TBS-453A comes very compact unit with 65 W power supply (19 V / 3,42 A) of the FSP. QNAP also points to the fact that the TBS-453A supports input voltages from 10 to 20V, so you can use any power supply with a compatible plug and correct polarity

TBS-453A comes in a fairly compact brown box, the front has a sticker with the basic NAS specifications, options and connection management. We tested QNAP storage with 4GB of RAM and two 256 GB SSD.

Package consists of the NAS, the two patch cords, external power supply with cable, remote control, small radiators to adhere to the SSD, and screws Quick Setup Guide.

TBS-453A front offers two ports USB 3.0, SD card slot and a copy button. Through the Backup Manager in the QTS you can configure the events that will be executed when the button is pressed. For example, to copy data from USB-drive on the NAS. USB 3.0 ports can be used to connect peripherals, together with the rear ports, we get four USB 3.0.

Additional information about the HDMI version is not present, so that we can involve the use of HDMI 1.4b with a maximum frame rate of 30 fps in 4K mode. Nearby you can see the audio output and two input microphones, not without a Kensington lock hole.

As we mentioned above, five port Ethernet TBS-453A are connected to the two Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Single port 1 connected to its own controller and is used to connect to the NAS LAN. Four ports on the left are numbered from 2-1 to 2-4, inside they are connected through a switch to the second Gigabit Ethernet controller. These four ports can operate in two modes. The first working port 2-1 at the same time as the connection to the uplink LAN, to the ports 2-2 to 2-4 can be connected to additional clients. NAS may be connected to the LAN through the port 1 or port 2-1, but without the support aggregation.

The second mode is activated the corresponding option in the control panel. Ports 2-1 to 2-4 are separated from the rest of the network, DHCP-server TBS-453A storage will distribute IP-addresses in the new subnet. Customers will be able to access resources TBS-453A, but they will be isolated from the rest of the LAN.

M.2 SSD is a small card without housing, which are installed in the motherboard memory slots. To install, open the bottom cover of TBS-453A, with a screwdriver for this is not required. Over the four rubber mounts hide the screws, which can be easily unscrewed by hand, a coin or a screwdriver with a large blade. After unscrewing the four screws you can remove the cover, and then you get access to the SSD and memory.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

To mount or remove the SSD require a small Phillips screwdriver, as M.2 SSD mounted in a small slot screw. QNAP added small radiators, because the controllers of popular SSD M.2 very hot, which could potentially lead to a decrease in productivity. The motherboard for each slot is M.2 temperature sensor that measures the heat SSD.

Our TBS-453A test sample used two 256 GB M.2 SSD production Transcend, but you can take any compatible M.2. SSD. Although it makes little sense to set the fastest M.2 SSD. Of course, the performance IOPS speed M.2 SSD can give a slight advantage, but the bandwidth all rested in the rate (double) Gigabit Ethernet interface, which does not provide aggregation.

Built-in radial fan blows air through a passive CPU cooler, which is in the photo above is of the RAM modules under the plastic cover. SSD is not positioned directly in the airflow path, but on the sidewalls of the housing are provided ventilation openings for natural ventilation.

Memory is represented by two bars DDR3L-1600 the total capacity of 8 GB, ie 2×4 GB

QNAP TBS-453A: Software

Of course, NAS functionality depends on software support. Many users collect their own networked storage, which uses a variant of Windows Server or a specially adapted Linux distributions like FreeNAS. Functionality such decisions gorgeous, but not everyone wants to deal with the assembly and configuration of such a decision, many users prefer to buy ready-made “box”. Of course, they are the buyer also expects a wide range of functions and simple operation, the more that prices “Self-assembling” solutions cost significantly cheaper NAS – especially for 4 HDD bays or more. Leaders of Synology and QNAP market offer a comfortable and simple user interface, reminiscent of a desktop operating system. As the functionality you get the usual range of options here, “Self-assembling” repository can provide benefits if you require any specific task.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

QNAP TBS-453A: First setting

The first setup QNAP NAS can be done in three ways. You can connect the NAS via HDMI connection to the TV, and then follow the instructions on the screen. The second option – to use QFinder program you can download from the QNAP website. She finds NAS on your network, then you can use the web-interface to perform “smart settings” to configure the repository. If you TBS-453A store received IP-address from the DHCP-server, it can be seen in the administrative interface of the router, and then apply directly on the IP-address from the browser. QFinder program in this case is not required, but it offers additional convenient functions: help set up an administrative account, the time, the IP configuration and finally the storage configuration.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

At TBS-453A storage operating system works QNAP QTS in the latest version 4.2.1, which provides user-friendly interface similar to desktop PCs. By not appreciably interface that a system based on Linux. The QTS interface after installation there are the usual system configuration options. Namely, the “Control Panel”, user settings, and security. There are standard applications, for example, «File Station» for file management. In addition to standard pre-installed applications via the «App Center» You can install various programs in the form of packets. The range is quite wide, from multimedia applications to the program data backup or developer tools.

QTS interface is divided into a sortable desktop and move the icons and the taskbar on top. It is possible to view the current running applications. On the right side of the taskbar panel is warning, here starts an information panel, which contains the most important operating parameters of the system.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

In “Hardware Settings” control panel, you can activate the hard disk standby mode after a specified time (from 5 minutes to 1 hour) – HDDs will stop the spindle. However, the TBS-453A used by the SSD, due to low power consumption, this function is not relevant in practice. TBS-453A supports Wake-on-Lan. The menu can be changed (including the schedule) the brightness of the LED, turn off a very loud alarm notification and configure fan control. By default, the fan runs automatically, but you can configure three custom temperature control for semi-automatic, and set the fan speed in three stages. In general, the system interface is intuitive, is not worse than the same Synology DiskStation Manager competitor.

QNAP TBS-453A: Basic functions

The basic function of network storage TBS-453A is to store data and provide access to them. Two internal SSD TBS-453A can be used in different modes RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or JBOD. But you should decide what type of volume you plan to create. The first option – single (static) that one or more of the physical drives. You will get the best performance, but it is then not be able to change. That is, the later only have to delete and re-create the volume, if necessary. Also, such a volume occupy all the space of the physical drives, multiple volumes on a single storage device is not possible.

In addition to the static volume, you can create a storage pool, which can be added to one or more volumes. And you can choose between “thick” and “thin” volumes. In the first case the space is given to the fact when it is created, it can be increased only if the storage pool has unallocated space. In thin volumes, the space for each volume is allocated a pool of dynamically, as needed. Thus, it is possible to use multiple volumes simultaneously, physical storage space is dynamically allocated between thin volumes. Of course, this part of the performance (usually small) will be spent on the additional control by thin volumes, also raises the question freeing memory after removing data that is not always easy. In any case, it all depends on how flexible you need volume.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

Most people will certainly be satisfied with a static volume, to which they add the appropriate shared folders. QNAP approach with multiple volumes of interest in a storage pool, for example, in the case where part of the data to be stored in encrypted form. Of course, version QTS 4.2 QNAP has also added encryption at the folder level, that is, you can encrypt only specific network folder. volume-level encryption is supported much earlier, it also has its advantages, such as support for long file names. A pool of storage and multiple volumes, you can create an encrypted volume in parallel with unencrypted, without allocation volumes on its own physical disk.

QNAP Encryption is only supported by AES 256-bit, here is just the way the hardware support is instructions AES-NI Celeron N3150 processor. Another relatively new feature QTS is to create a snapshot (snapshots), but instead of a static single-volume storage pool is used for this function of the reserved capacity. Subject snapshots today is very popular, even though the consumer segment btrfs file system is used more for it (for example, Netgear and Synology storage). QNAP has remained committed to the ext4 file system to which the snapshot feature has been added.

Snapshots are created on the basis of volume, manually or automatically, you can also specify the storage period. With the function “Snapshot Replica” you can save snapshots to another NAS QTS QTS the NAS storage. Snapshots can be “cloned” to the new volume, or access to them can be provided through the structure of subdirectories. Of course, the original that can be returned on the date of the creation of a snapshot, but all subsequent changes will be lost.

On the created logical volumes, you can create folders to which you can assign different access rights for users or groups. Access to an external drive connected via USB, you can also organize by folders. To access at TBS-453A network supports Telnet / SSH, FTP and file protocols all popular Windows and Mac systems. In addition to SMB or Microsoft file services, including domain support, we note the presence of a universal and AppleTalk protocol NFS (v2 / v3).

As we mentioned above, TBS-453A special feature is the unusual configuration of five Ethernet interfaces. QNAP is not used five Ethernet controllers, and only two, one of which is connected to the built-in switch on the four Ethernet ports. Through the Control Panel – Network can be reached before switching the two modes option. In standard mode, one of the switch ports (2.1 – 2.4) is used as the uplink, the other three port switch used to connect customers directly to the NAS, which may be useful in mobile scenarios. This mode Ethernet port 1 (WAN) can be used as a high speed uplink.

In the second TBS-453A mode for up to four ports of the switch allocates a separate network. DHCP-server distributes IP-addresses on the network, routing on the WAN port is not present. For services TBS-453A may appeal to the two networks. Such a scenario, for example, is interesting for Surveillance Station surveillance cameras that are on the TBS-453A can be taken to a separate network. And through the WAN port can access the Surveillance Station.

The NAS supports VPN function, both for the client and the server. In the basic configuration supports PPTP and OpenVPN, OpenVPN server that is configured quite easily. zip-file configuration and certificate is enough to download, which should be copied to the client. And in the configuration file to configure IP settings. Through the App Center, you can add support for L2TP / IPsec.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A - a compact NAS on M.2 SSD

For backup supports a variety of options. Among the objectives are supported backup Rsync, RTRR and Time Machine. It also supports cloud services and redundancy. Also QSync Central Station from QNAP TBS-453A interesting feature RRTR (Real-time Remote Replication), provides real-time synchronization via ftp. For performance it is a very interesting alternative to rsync. A “Backup” you can create backup tasks via rsync or other protocols.

Interesting and function of QNAP QSync Central Station 2.0, allowing you to create on the basis of a private cloud NAS for the respective customers.

With “Qsync Central Station” can be added to the NAS service, which will be fully responsible for the management and cloud customers. For customers enough to install the program (there are versions for Windows or Mac), and then adjust the sync folder – and it will always be synchronized with the NAS. Access to this folder is possible with multiple clients. So if you work on multiple computers, each you will always get the most current data – without the need of transferring them to the server manually. Qsync File Station provides storage of multiple versions of files. Shared folders are interesting for different users, which will have an easy access to shared data.

QNAP TBS-453A: Multimedia

As we mentioned above, TBS-453A store is equipped with two HDMI outputs, so it can be used as a media player. After installing HybridDesk (HD) Station you will receive via HDMI own desktop, where there are applications in the QTS interface. To work with this interface can be either through the bundled remote control and use the mouse / keyboard connected to the NAS. Alternatively, you can install the application “QREMOTE” on iOS / Android device. Some applications, like Kodi, great support from the management console, for others is better to use the mouse and keyboard – especially if the application is designed as a classic desktop, QREMOTE here still can not be called a complete alternative. Therefore, TBS-453A can be converted into a stylish and quiet media player for conference rooms (or living room), which can be very convenient to control with the remote control.

Interesting applications “HybridDesk” is a universal media player Kodi (XBMC), the current version 16.0, Plex Home Theater or multimedia QNAP program. Also available Chrome or Firefox browsers, it is possible to refer to the “QTS” web-interface, supported even services such as Skype, Spotify and Facebook.

TBS-453A, unlike many NAS, allows you to view the sound directly via the analog 3.5 mm audio jack. The interface HybridDesk should select only the analog output. You can then, for example, playing a sound track in Kodi, and the sound will go through an analog input. Of course, if the same audio / video receiver through the HDMI convenient sound playback option, but the yield is still more useful in mobile scenarios analog audio.

In addition to direct media playback TBS-453A supports other usual options. Available own development platform and the Music Station Video Station, but also has DLNA and iTunes servers. Through the App Center, you can set, for example, alternative TwonkyMedia DLNA-server TBS-453A. Note that TBS-453A supports playback of 4K content, up to 2160p resolution with the frame rate to 30 fps.

As for transcoding, TBS-453A supports “on the fly” video up to 1080p. To use hardware acceleration, you must use a proprietary platform Video Station. However, in practice, by means of recoding NAS good results should not be expected, the quality usually is below average.

Linux Station

Alternatively HybridDesk Station via the outputs HDMI TBS-453A repository, you can run Linux Station. The user can select the Control Panel is one of two environments, which will use the “Local Display”.

For Linux Station lies the ability to run on TBS-453A full Ubuntu Linux. The software is installed via the QTS interface with a few clicks, except that you have to choose between Ubuntu 14 and 16. Then, you can use Ubuntu, along with HDMI output and locally connected input devices to access via VNC setup procedure is the same. When you install Ubuntu user information may be requested from QTS, ie Ubuntu registration is possible on the QTS user.

Virtualization Station

Another interesting scenario TBS-453A was to support virtual machines. QNAP offers an application called Virtualization Station, which can be easily installed via the App Center. Working procedure here is the same as in the case of the PC. You can download pre-prepared virtual machine, for example, from Bitnami, but you can set and “empty» VM with almost any desktop OS. Ready profiles can be used in which specified resources available virtual machine. Of course, you can manage resource configuration manually.

Virtualization Station provides the management interface through which you can see the selected NAS resources and the status of the active VM. On the VM has a button “Console”, which opens a new browser window with the contents of the VM screen, it turns a kind of VNC (via HTML5) with support for mouse and keyboard input. The compression quality can be set in four stages, that is sufficiently strong compression interface will be jerky, but the virtual machine can be controlled from the Internet, for example, through a VPN-server TBS-453A. There is also the opportunity to display the contents of VM through the HDMI output and redirection of input devices connected via USB to the VM.

Of course, virtualization environment QNAP interestingly not all users, but it significantly expands NAS features. Many popular applications such as WordPress, Tomcat, and others are available as packages directly to the NAS environment, they can be downloaded in the App Center QNAP, but the list of available applications and scripts for popular platforms like Bitnami, still wider. If this functionality, you will be a little something on the VM, you can install a complete operating system of your choice with the necessary range of packages. So NAS TBS-453A fully able to replace the budgetary server. If you plan to run virtual machines, it is best to take the version of the TBS-453A with 8 GB of memory.

Also QTS TBS-453A supports the use of containers in Docker or LxC format via Container Station.

We turn to the performance tests TBS-453A.

QNAP TBS-453A: Benchmarks

QNAP TBS-453A is difficult to compare with other network storage, as in this case used SSD M.2. Even the “junior” version of the TS-453A-4G with four drives and 4GB of RAM provide a high level of performance thanks to the 4-core Intel N3150.

We checked data rate gigabit network interface in different scenarios, with and without encryption. The two storage drive Transcend TS256GMTS800 been established, so we tested only RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD.

Storage TBS-454A showed a nice performance. When downloading several gigabytes of data in JBOD mode, RAID 1 or RAID 0 was loaded Gigabit Ethernet interface is completely up to 112 MB / s. This also applies to transmission via FTP, and via SMB (Windows network). In the case of inclusion of FTP encryption little effect on performance, but SMB rate remains at full level of 1 Gbit / s.

As we mentioned above, TBS-453A does not support Link Aggregation, despite the presence of five ports RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet. Four clients connected to the ports 2.x TBS-453A storage have to share the Gigabit controller, but because of the easy access to the SSD is unlikely to be noticeable in most scenarios. But it is possible to TBS-453 parallel port to handle 1.

Initialization time

When initializing arrays of different QNAP TBS-453A RAID storage showed a good performance. Use speed SSD as compared to high-performance NAS HDD markedly weak, i.e. standard actions like creation or deletion of volumes in TBS-453A is not performed instantaneously kakoe-to always required time from a few seconds to minutes, depending on the task.

Energy consumption

As power consumption storage TBS-453A showed himself very well, the reason lies in the SSD – they consume a few watts under load and idle power consumption is significantly lower than that of the HDD.

Energy consumption in the active state without access (with two SSD) was only 10.4 watts, resulting in TBS-453A, in spite of the more powerful the CPU, the result showed less Synology DS216j two watts. Energy consumption in data access was 13-16 watts, that is, it was also relatively low. In the off state to the active function Wake-on-Lan power consumption was very low – 0.8 watts.

Noise level

Very good results TBS-453A shows the noise level, thanks to the SSD remains the only source of noise combined cooler CPU / system.

When you run the storage level of noise increases, but in the usual NAS mode pleases low noise. In our tests, we could not increase the noise level of access to the media or work Kodi media player, it remained at a relatively low level.

 Conclusion

Storage TBS-453A from QNAP got very interesting, although it is focused on the specific usage scenarios. Inside, you can only install SSD M.2 format, so you’ll have to put up with the capacity limitation, but there are other advantages. Housing TBS-453A surprisingly compact, low power consumption. Intel N3150 processor with SSD provides a high level of performance, QNAP storage to cope with the role of mobile mini-server for small workgroups or roadshows. Of course, TBS-453A offers and other features, including a built-in media player that allows you to turn NAS into the center of digital entertainment in the living room. HDMI output allows you to connect the TV directly to TBS-453A, as well as add other possible scenarios. For example, virtualization is supported on the basis of NAS, you can create a full-fledged Linux computer. A set of interfaces with multiple USB 3.0 ports is very good, you can also create a separate network with the built-in switch. Finally, some users will be useful two microphone inputs and one audio output.

QNAP TBS-453A good shows itself in many scenarios. Is that on the vault will be difficult to deploy a file server with high capacity, so the support of a large number of problematic clients – here everything depends on the available capacity of the SSD and support Link Aggregation. But at TBS-453A has a unique advantage, which will meet in a rare NAS: store, you can easily take with you on a trip in a briefcase or backpack.

In general, TBS-453A – a powerful storage at 4 the SSD, which delivers high performance and a wide range of functions, but it is compact and flexible configuration. For stationary use as a file server or for the living room entertainment center storage is excessive, since for the same price you can buy the “right” with the NAS-capacity HDD. But if the budget is not a problem, TBS-453A-top show in the living room.

Test and review: QNAP TBS-453A – a compact NAS on M.2 SSD was last modified: July 17th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby