QNAP’s TVS-872XT could be the perfect choice for businesses that want a NAS with every possible connection option. Along with dual Gigabit, this 8-bay desktop box has an embedded 10GBase-T port that supports all five NBase-T speeds and comes with two 40Gbits/sec Thunderbolt 3 ports for those that want super-fast access for media editing.
There’s more as it sports two Type A and two Type C USB 3.1 10Gbits/sec ports. The single USB 3.0 port at the front links up with QNAP’s One-Touch Copy button for quickly copying the contents of an inserted USB device to a predefined local folder.
The appliance is powered by a 6-core 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-8400T CPU partnered by 16GB of DDR4 SO-DIMM memory expandable to 32GB. It has two internal M.2 NVMe SSD slots which can be used for a caching performance boost or with QNAP’s QTier 2 which manages multiple storage tiers and migrates data blocks across them based on usage.
Design and expansion
Removing the lid reveals a well-designed interior with easy access for upgrades. The Thunderbolt 3 card occupies one PCIe slot leaving the second free for further 10GbE/25GbE/40GbE upgrades or even fiber channel (FC) adapters as Qnap’s QTS software now supports them.
QTS provides great data protection apps and supports high-performance FC adapters
The CPU is covered by QNAP’s trademark finned aluminum heatsink and looked after by a dedicated blower fan. Chassis and hard disk cooling are managed by two large 12cms diameter fans at the rear and we found noise levels pleasantly low.
Memory upgrades are easy as the two SO-DIMM slots are accessed by removing the drive carriers on the right-hand side. Base memory is supplied on two 8GB SO-DIMM modules which need replacing if you want to upgrade but although the CPU supports up to 128GB, the appliance is only certified for 16GB modules.
Multi-Gigabit and FC performance
We started our testing over 10GbE where a NAS share mapped to a Dell PowerEdge T640 Windows server delivered excellent Iometer sequential read and write rates both of 9.2Gbits/sec. Real world speeds were fast with drag and drop copies of a 25GB file averaging read and write speeds of 5.3Gbit/sec and 3.6Gbits/sec while our backup test using a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files mustered a creditable 2.6Gbits/sec.
Copying the 25GB test file to an encrypted folder averaged 2.7Gbits/sec with CPU utilisation only peaking at 26%. IP SAN performance is also on the mark with a 500GB iSCSI target reporting Iometer read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec.
Swapping the appliance to a 5GBase-T port on the lab’s Netgear ProSafe MS510TX switch saw our NAS share return Iometer read and write speeds both of 4.6Gbits/sec. The 25GB file copy delivered 4.4Gbits/sec and 4Gbits/sec while our backup test was completed at 2.3Gbits/sec.
We installed an ATTO Celerity FC-164P quad-port 16Gbps FC card in the appliance and can report that FC performance is impeccable. With a single fibre link to a 750GB LUN, we saw Iometer report rock-steady sequential read and write rates of 12.3Gbits/sec and 12.1Gbits/sec while a dual MPIO link to the LUN saw speeds ramp up to 24.6Gbits/sec and 24.5Gbits/sec.
With so many ports on offer, you need an easy way to manage them and the Network & Virtual Switch app does just that. It allows you to create software-defined networks for provisioning virtualized apps or containers and automatically creates a default bridge network connection for both Thunderbolt ports.
The Network & Virtual Switch app presents a single interface for managing all the appliance’s ports
Basic and advanced modes are available for virtual switch configuration where you can select physical adapters and link them to virtual adapters on VMs. It can get busy if you’re using lots of VMs and containers but the app overview provides a clear map of port and switch assignations.
We used the Virtualization Station 3.2 app to create a Windows Server 2019 VM and isolated it by assigning its virtual adapter to one of the appliance’s Gigabit ports. We also loaded up the Linux Station and Container Station apps and assigned them to dedicated virtual switches that were isolated from the rest of the network.
Port status for FC adapters can be viewed from the Network & Virtual Switch app and they are managed from the iSCSI and Fibre Channel app. Along with viewing port speed and connection status, you can create LUNs and use groups to map them to specific FC ports.
Backup and multimedia
The TVS-872XT supports manual and scheduled snapshots for EXT4 volumes while data protection gets a boost with the slick Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS) 3 app which helps you create a 3-2-1 backup strategy in as few as four clicks. It uses Storage Spaces to define multiple backup destinations and file version management provides valuable protection against ransomware attacks.
QNAP’s QuDedupe feature reduces backup space requirements by performing deduplication and storing the reduced data set and hash tables as proprietary .qdff files at the destination. Our tests showed it can make substantial reductions but to restore data, you have to download the .qdff file to a local client and use the QuDedup Extract Tool.
Entertainment is driven by the CPU’s embedded Intel Graphics 630 GPU which delivers 4K video to the appliance’s HDMI port. Attach an HDMI monitor plus mouse and keyboard allows you to directly access the HybridDesk Station app where you can use the HD Player app to locally access all your movie, music and photo collections.
The HybridDesk Station app links up with the HDMI port and offers plenty of entertainment apps
The TVS-872XT delivers a wealth of features and port choices at an affordable price and is ideal for video editors that want super-fast Thunderbolt 3 ports. Businesses will also find a lot to like here as it delivers a superb performance while QNAP’s latest QTS software is packed with great virtualization apps and valuable data protection tools. It was awarded a coveted "TopTen" award from Simply.Reviews.