QNAP TS-253D, TS-453D and TS-653D

Features and Buyers Guide
We are at the halfway stage of 2020, having fostered a challenging first quarter, we continue to be challenged with even more vigor due to events that we have very little to no control over. What we need to do is exercise our intellect and try our best to make the correct choices.

For those still at home and working remotely, we need to adapt to working from home while balancing with our personal life and coping with the restrictions of social distancing.

For some, adoption has been quick and we have evolved to adapt innovative ways of entertaining ourselves and our loved ones, while staying put at home. Away from these challenges the single most important aspect has to be home entertainment.

Many businesses have embraced their staff working from home during the pandemic and this has allowed business continuity - #WFH has become a way to describe the new way of working. The most important aspect is to ensure a high level of security is put into place to ensure no data leakage or compromising the server. Deploying a NAS is an ideal solution with the ability to activate the security levels required to access data remotely.

Many small businesses however, probably had little or no facilitation to leverage access to data for employees to work remotely. That has probably been one of the major factors for business failures, second to financial woes. Business Continuity seems to have been lost on many small businesses, with no plan in place, they have succumbed to failure and closed up.

Network Storage and Remote Connectivity

This article can be easy mistaken as one that appears to be a short synopsis of the year 2020 thus far. Well far from it. As a leading Network Storage Systems Integrator, we are tasked with ensuring we can provide solutions for businesses of all sizes to continue business as usual during disasters and other types of business interruptions. Allowing access remotely to data, along with security, is at the heart of any data storage solution.

Our goal is to ensure our readers and customers are fully onboard with us as to the importance of having a plan for business continuity. No matter the size of your business, this plan is a must. So, if faced with a disaster, you are in readiness to continue business as usual.
As far as data storage goes, some of our leading vendors have recognized the need to work from home, access data remotely, have 24/7 always-on data on tap. #WFH was perfect for QNAP with the recent launch of The TS-x53D series NAS devices. This series compliments both home and business users with pre-dominantly the increase in speed along with support for 2.5GbE and optional 10GbE, allowing for increased transfer speeds.

SimplyNAS has teamed up with QNAP to provide the TS-x53D series of NAS sevices that can outperform any other NAS solution at a price point that is unbelievably affordable.

The TS-253D 2-bay, TS-453D 4-bay and TS-653D 6-bay NAS devices that can scale up to 96TB of gross storage capacity.

The Main Features of the TS-253D, TS-453D and TS-653D NAS models

The common features between the different models are impressive. Driven by the need for speed and coupled with the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard supporting higher bandwidth for wireless and wired
networks, QNAP’s design team has utilized the new Intel® Celeron® J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz Gemini Lake Refresh processor, with Intel UHD Graphics 600, taking care of the internal graphics, 4-core, with a maximum memory capability of 8Gb, deploying SO-DIMM LPDDR4-2400. The Dual 2.5GbE ports accelerates file sharing across teams and devices or gaming storage applications. For those of us who want to mix things up with media, the support for 4K media playback and real-time transcoding; directly watch videos on an HDTV via HDMI 2.0 (4K @60Hz) output, will be a welcome embrace.

For those who want to excel further on performance, a PCIe expansion slot allows for a Multi-Gig 10GbE or 5GbE network card, or a QM2 card to add M.2 NVMe or SATA SSDs for caching. With the additional M.2 caching using the popular ADATA pro range of NVMe SSD’s, the NAS device will perform well above par.

M.2 Caching and Related Performance

We tested with installing the QM2-2P-384 card and inserting a couple of 512GB ADATA PRO M.2’s and using QNAP’s QSW-308S-US switch. We were able to maintain a constant flow of data at the 2.5GbE level for bandwidth – we did not, however, try port-trunking as this can be done to get even better results.

With the combination of M.2. caching the I/O speeds were impressive. QNAP has announced the QSW-1105-5T, an unmanaged switch with five 2.5GbE ports backwards compatible with 1G/100M) and supports CAT5e cables to connect multiple computers and NAS, that will be available later this year. This coupled with these NAS devices will be an ideal small business solution as well as provide home users with an increase in performance that was unheard of before.

TS-x53D Products

Full Range of Models and Pricing for diskless range
QNAP TS-253D (8GB RAM version) 2-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 8GB DR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.
QNAP TS-453D (8GB RAM version) 4-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 8GB DDR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.
QNAP TS-653D (8GB RAM version) 6-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 8GB DDR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.
QNAP TS-253D 2-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 4GB DDR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.
QNAP TS-453D 4-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 4GB DDR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.
QNAP TS-653D 6-Bay Desktop NAS. Intel Celeron Gemini Lake J4125 quad-core 2.0GHz with 4GB DDR4 RAM, 2 x 2.5GbE, 1 x PCIe Gen2 x2 slot for network/storage expansion.

Cross Platform collaboration with seamless file sharing and Syncronization

Centralize your files
Besides accessing NAS-based files, File Station allows you to easily browse and manage files from multiple sources, including USB storage, mobile phones, optical disc drives and more. This allows you to quickly and easily move them to the NAS for centralized storage and management.
Remotely Connect to other NAS
Easily mount shared folders from a remote NAS using CIFS/SMB, FTP or WebDAV, then you can efficiently manage all your files across different servers and services as if they were stored locally.
Transfer files between your NAS and cloud
services
Directly browse and transfer files between your NAS and public cloud storage, including Dropbox®, Microsoft® OneDrive®, Microsoft® OneDrive® for Business, Google Drive™, Amazon® Drive, Yandex® Disk, Box®, HiDrive® and Citrix® Share File.
Instant online preview
Instantly preview documents and emails or play multimedia files. You can also view all the snapshot versions and browse their content.

Backup Features for All

NetBak Replicator
Backup features are copious, whatever you need QNAP has a solution, with Windows and Mac backup the license-free NetBak Replicator utility can back up and restore files from Windows computers. Apple’s Time Machine is supported for backing up Mac computers.

Snapshots is another feature which has translated down from the enterprise-based storage domain only and is now offered on smaller NAS devices thanks largely to advances in a combination hardware and software platforms. On a personal note, Snapshot is my best tool to guard against failures, as we all as mistakes we all make when messing with files.

Snapshots are essential for NAS data protection, and their block-level feature makes it a dependable data protection method in the face of growing ransomware threats. The TS-453D supports up to 256 snapshots per volume/LUN, and up to 1,024 snapshots per NAS.
Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS)
HBS is QNAP’s pièce de résistance, an All-in-one backup solution that leverages Multi-cloud backup, data deduplication, instant restoration and flexible synchronization. HBS 3 helps you back up data from a QNAP NAS to several local, remote and cloud storage spaces. Multi-version backup allows you to easily track changes. In basic terms HBS 3 is designed to encourage and help keep 3 copies of important files, one locally, one remotely and one to store a copy off-site preferably in the cloud. 

On a different level HBS 3 consolidates backup, restoration and synchronization functions into a single app to ease the transfer of data to local, remote and cloud storage spaces as a comprehensive data storage and disaster recovery plan. Supporting QuDedup technology that eliminates duplicated data at the source, HBS reduces backup data size and speeds up future backup tasks. This is also beneficial for accelerating multi-version backups for greater protection against data loss.
Optimizing Storage Efficiency and Performance
Whilst SSD’s prices continue to fall and capacity continues to increase it may be wise to take advantage of what SSD’s have to offer, strength, resilience, adaptability, and optimized performance. SSD caching combined with auto-tiering enables 24/7 optimized storage efficiency. The TS-253D, TS-453D and TS-653D all support numerous SSD-aware  features that can significantly maximize NAS performance without the high cost normally associated with these features. 

Multimedia Experiences and Support

Video Transcoding
4K HDMI Display and real-time video transcoding. The TS-453D has an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K (4096 x 2160) 60Hz output, allowing you to directly view multimedia content saved on the NAS on a bigger screen. The support of high-quality 4K video transcoding enables the NAS to convert videos to universal file formats that can be smoothly played on multiple devices. The TS-453D also can stream videos through DLNA®, Chromecast™, and more to satisfy versatile multimedia application needs.
Plex Media Server
Streaming media files stored on the TS-253D, TS-453D and TS-653D to mobiles and media streaming devices including DLNA®, Roku®, Amazon Fire TV® and Google Chromecast™, is relatively easy. All that is required is setting up a Plex Media Server on the NAS, and it should only take few minutes to do so.
Media Accessible 24/7
A perfect media experience, whether it’s watching a movie or video or streaming music, requires a stable environment that includes your Plex Media Server and your network. Since the NAS is designed to run 24/7 without having to power off everyday like your PC, your multimedia files are available online all the time. The NAS acts as your private cloud, allowing you to remotely access and enjoy your media anytime on any device.
Caveat: The TS-453D’s hardware provides hardware decoding, encoding, and transcoding capabilities. However, playback quality may vary due to factors including playback software, file formats, system usage, and available bandwidth.

Single Server to host Virtual Machines and Containers

No matter what your virtualization needs are, one thing is certain, you can count on Virtualization and Container Stations for a complete virtualization support. Using a Network and Virtual Switch you can allocate adequate physical network resources to virtual machines, containers, and the NAS to simplify network deployment.
Virtualization Station
Running multiple virtual machines in Windows, Linux, Unix and Android is not an issue, simply access via a web browser or Virtual Network Computing (VNC). Businesses can run virtualized server application on a single NAS without the need for additional physical servers.
Container Station
Lightweight Linux®-based OS and app virtualization solution Supports LXC and Docker® containers, Easy deployment, portable, and efficient, download apps from the built-in Docker Hub Registry, import and export containers and create abundant microservices.
VM, LXC and DOCKER, you may need them all
In many usage cases, a virtual machine is the ideal deployment solution for systems with fixed resources. In recent times, LXC has grown to be the ideal choice for administrators to deploy extremely lightweight operating systems. In contrast, Docker is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for rapidly deploying application services across several platforms including cloud, servers and PCs. With an interesting level of sophistication and choice, tailoring your virtualization strategy to fit your needs just got a lot easier.

Cross Platform collaboration with seamless file sharing and Syncronization

Centralize your files
Besides accessing NAS-based files, File Station allows you to easily browse and manage files from multiple sources, including USB storage, mobile phones, optical disc drives and more. This allows you to quickly and easily move them to the NAS for centralized storage and management.
Remotely Connect to other NAS
Easily mount shared folders from a remote NAS using CIFS/SMB, FTP or WebDAV, then you can efficiently manage all your files across different servers and services as if they were stored locally.
Transfer files between your NAS and cloud services
Directly browse and transfer files between your NAS and public cloud storage, including Dropbox®, Microsoft® OneDrive®, Microsoft® OneDrive® for Business, Google Drive™, Amazon® Drive, Yandex® Disk, Box®, HiDrive® and Citrix® Share File.
Instant online preview
Instantly preview documents and emails or play multimedia files. You can also view all the snapshot versions and browse their content.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The QNAP TSx53D range from QNAP signals a new direction for all-in-one servers, that coupled with apps provide a cross platform collaboration for a total solution for both home and small businesses to protect their most valuable asset – Data.
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