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QNAP TS-101 and TS-201 NAS Servers
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Date: Dec 08, 2006
Section:IT/Datacenter
Author: Jeff Bouton
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Introduction and Product Details


Home users and Small Business owners can often benefit from technologies that are normally out of reach for some general consumers. Home users may benefit from having a file server for sharing media, transferring large files between PCs, or even remote access while away. Small Office users can utilize the same features as well, while also benefiting from automated backup capabilities, centralized printer management, or even hosting a domain. The problem is, many of these things often require a level of understanding or experience that many home or SOHO users may lack or simply may not have the time to learn.  For larger businesses, network administrators are staffed to make these technologies available, however, SOHO users are typically more budget constrained and either pay a consultant as needed or sometimes just put it off until later, both of which can end up being more costly in the event of a problem.


QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station

Today we are going to evaluate two NAS (Network Attached Storage) solutions that bring a host of powerful features within reach of most small office / home office users.  These two Linux based systems aim to deliver a robust collection of useful features in small, economical packages that require little experience to implement.  The first unit is the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station.  This is a single hard drive solution that targets the home user and home office consumer with features that make it adaptable to a slew of applications.  Whether the goal is a simple storage server and backup solution or powerful media server, the TS-101 Turbo Station can handle it, while also acting as a print server, or downloading BitTorrent files without a PC, and much more.


QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station

The second unit is the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station which targets the Small Office user and will certainly appeal to some home users as well.  This device is a two drive solution that offers many of the same features as the TS-101 while adding two hard drives bays and hot swap capabilities.  The dual drive functionality offers the flexibility of added performance with RAID 0 or security with RAID 1 disk mirroring, with support for capacities totaling 1.5 Terabytes.   

Whether you are a home user, run a home office or manage a small business, both the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station and NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station have the features to fit a multitude of usage scenarios. In the pages ahead, we are going to give a thorough account of each feature these compact NAS systems bring to the game.  We'll assess the installation processes from installing the hard drive to installing the units on a network, and then we'll review the features each unit brings to the table in an effort to paint a very clear picture of what each is capable of.

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QNAP TS-101 Turbo Station: Specifications


QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station
Specifications

Features

Hardware Specification

* Easy to use, simple set-up in a few steps
* Support SATA I / SATA II disk, up to 750 GB or above, and extendable to 1.5 TB by eSATA/USB port
* 3 high speed 2.0 to support USB printer, disk, digital camera, pen drive card reader, USB Hub
* High speed transfer port: 480Mbps USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 1.5GB eSATA. Data transfer can be done in a flash
* Support PHP and SQLite to establish interactive websites.
* Supports UPnP multimedia technology for sharing of multimedia files at home
* Most reliable data backup: instant/ schedule/ real-time backup
* Best heat-dissipation, shock-resistance, anti-collision aluminum design
* Fanless, Noiseless, Absolutely Quiet!!! The Coolest BT Download Partner
* ROHS Compliant

 

* Multimedia Station
TS-101 supports user-friendly web interface to allow administrator to manage albums, authorized users to preview image, audio or video files, and print or play photos by slide show.

* Download Station
TS-101 allows users to add P2P torrent to download list and leave TS-101 to download the files without using PC.

* Mirror Station
Unique Q-RAID 1 technology enhances data security. You can mirror all the important data in TS-101 to additional USB hard drive or the latest released eSATA hard drive box.

* Disaster Recovery
TS-101 provides remote disk backup over internet connections to another storage device in remote location. Users can quickly restore their own files even if there is any incident in the location of TS-101.

* Web Server
TS-101 enables you to publish your html files as your own website on the Internet. There is no need of going through all the hassles of setting up a web server.

* Printer Server
Simply connect USB printer to the USB port of TS-101 to enable printer sharing function without occupying any PC resource.

* File Server
Centralize all your data. Files are stored and accessed via network so the need to send large size email or use costly overnight mail to send CD are virtually eliminated.

* FTP Server
TS-101 can simplify the procedure of establishing an FTP server in a few steps without the need to seek for MIS help.

* Backup Server
TS-101 provides Netbak Replicator to enable PC users to set up schedule for data backup automatically. TS-101 also supports Block Level remote replication to provide reliable, instant and secure data backup.

CPU
SoC

DRAM
64MB

Flash Memory
16MB

HDD
1 x 3.5" SATA I / II HDD, up to 750GB
(the standard system is shipped without HDD)

LAN Po x Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port

LED Indicator
USB, status, HDD, eSATA, LAN, Power

USB
3 x USB 2.0, support USB printer, disk, digital camera, pen drive, card reader, USB hub

eSATA
1 x e-SATA

Buttons
Intelligent USB Auto Copy Button
Power Button
Reset Button

Alarm Buzzer
System Malfunction Warnings

Form Factor
Portable Desktop

Dimension
210(D) x 60(W) x 182(H) mm

Weight
Net weight: 1.2Kg
Gross weight: 2.5Kg

Temperature
0~35

Humidity
0~85% R.H

Power Supply
External power adapter, 36W, 100~240V

Energy-saving Design
Fanless, HDD Sleep Mode
Low power consumption & low noise

Thermal Solution
Heat Release by Aluminum Case

Secure Design
K-Lock Security Slot for Theft Prevention
Power Cord Hook for Kicking-off Prevention

  Package Contents

  • TS-101 Turbo Station
  • 2 Vertical Stands
  • Drive Mounting Screws
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Power Adapter
  • Cat 5 Ethernet Cable
  • Setup CD

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QNAP TS-101 Turbo Station: Features and Setup

 


QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station:  Physical Features and Setup
Single Drive Solution

The QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station has an all aluminum enclosure that is both lightweight and stylish.  As its name implies, the 9-in-1 NAS Server offers a total of 9 separate services as we've summarized below, and will cover in deeper detail in the pages ahead:

    • Multimedia Station - Share images over the web
    • Download Station - BitTorrent support independent of a PC
    • Mirror Station - Allows the TS-101's hard drive to be mirrored via USB or eSATA connections through Q-RAID 1
    • Disaster Recovery - Backup/Restore needs
    • Web Server - For personal web page authoring with support for PHP and SQLite
    • Print Server - Drives a USB printer and makes it networkable
    • FTP Server - Share files using FTP
    • Backup Server - Automatic backup of server settings
    • File Server - Secure centralized file management.

Driving the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station is an embedded SoC processor backed by 64MB of DRAM and 16MB of Flash Memory.  The unit has room for one 3.5" SATA I/II hard drive up to 750GB in size. The QNAP TS-101 supports a broad range of hard drives, including Seagate's Barracuda, Hitachi's Deskstar, Maxtor's Grizzly/DiamondMax and Western Digital's Caviar drives. The maximum size supported is 750GB which should be more that adequate in the majority of usage scenarios. Especially considering you can buy a larger, single desktop HD at the moment. 

 

The front and rear consoles are clean, well organized and clearly labelled in a manner that makes the system very easy to use right out of the box.  The front bezel sports a series of status lights along with a USB 2.0 input.  The main indicator lights consist of Status, Hard Drive, eSata, Power and LAN indicators.  At the top of the unit is a One Touch Copy Button that works in conjunction with the front USB port to automatically copy the contents of a connected device, such as USB drive, digital camera, or USB card reader, to a specified location on the TS-101's hard drive. 

The rear of the TS-101 sports two more USB 2.0 ports for controlling additional devices, such as a USB printer, as the TS-101 has print server capabilities integrated.  The eSATA port can be used to connect an eSATA ready drive for backup purposes and can even be configured in a Q-RAID 1 setup which can mirror the TS-101's internal hard drive.  Below the eSATA port is a Gigabit LAN port for 1000Mbps connectivity.  The integrated Ethernet controller supports Jumbo Frame Setting for connecting devices that support this as well.  By default, the MTU is set for 1500 bytes, but can be increased to 4074 and 7418 bytes respectively for improved transfer rates between supported devices.  A reset button is provided to reset the log in and network settings to their factory defaults, a handy option if connectivity issues arise or you simply forget the password.  What the reset does not do is reset the entire system to factory defaults, so any custom folders, user profiles or other configuration options will not be lost.  Below the reset button is the standard power connector that marries up with the included power adapter.

 

As far as installing the drive, it doesn't get much simpler.  By removing two screws from the rear of the TS-101, the shell slides apart into two halves, exposing the hard drive frame.  Simply slide the drive into place, ensuring the SATA data and power ports fit securely to the drive, then secure with the four mounting screws provided in the package.  Next, slide the cover back on and reinstall the two screws at the rear of the case and the assembly is complete.  The next step is to power up the unit and insert the installation CD for final configuration of network settings, hard drive initialization and other options.

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QNAP TS-201 Turbo Station: Specifications


QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station
Specifications

Hardware

Features

HDD
2 x 3.5" SATA I/II HDD, support hot swap and up to 1.5TB
(the standard system is shipped without HDD)

LAN Port
1 x Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port

LED Indicator
Power, USB, Status, LAN, Hard-disk

USB
3 x USB 2.0, support USB printer, disk, digital camera, pen drive, card reader, USB hub etc.

Buttons
USB auto-copy button, power button, reset button

Alarm Buzzer
System malfunction warning

Form Factor
Compact cubic type

Dimensions
214 (D) x 175 (W) x 115 (H) mm

Weight
Net weight: 2.4Kg, Gross weight: 3.5Kg

Temperature
0~35

Relative Humidity
0~80% R.H.

Power Supply
External power adapter, 60W, 100~240V

Energy-saving Design
HDD sleep mode, low power consumption & silent

Thermal Solution
Silent Fan Case

Secure Design
K-lock security slot

Software Specification
Operation System
Linux embedded system

Network Transport Protocols
TCP/IP, Apple Talk

Network File Protocols
Microsoft networks (CIFS/Samba), Apple (AFP), Internet (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP, max suggested 64 concurrent connections)

OS Supported (for Client PC)
Microsoft Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X

Network Management
Fixed IP address, dynamic IP address

Disk Configuration
Single disk, RAID 0 (Disk Stripping), RAID 1 (Disk Mirroring), JBOD (Linear Disk Volume), disk usage status management, check disk/bad blocks scan

Device Configuration
SATA I/II disk, USB disk, USB printer

User Management
User account management (max 512 users), user group management (max 1024 groups), configurable password

File System Management
Network share management (max 1023 shares), share level ACL support, Unicode support, web file manager, Journaling File System, over 2GB files support

System Tools
E-mail alert (support SMTP authentication), HDD standby mode, disk usage alert, auto power on, system firmware upgrade, change homepage logo, backup, restore, reset system settings.

Event Logs
Display system log/alert/error

System Management
Web-based administration (auto detect language), Quick Install Wizard, LED display, reset button, support network time protocol

Multilingual Support
English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian

Backup Management
Support client backup software NetBak Replicator, RAID 1 mirroring, block level remote replication

. 2 x 3.5" SATA hot swappable hard disk bays
. Storage capacity up to 1.5TB (Maximum capacity)
. High performance RAID 1 for non-stop service
. Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame function for heavy throughput
. Easy to install, easy to setup, user friendly web GUI
. Powerful server management software
. QNAP unique triple backup technology:
- NetBak Replicator
- RAID 1
- Remote Replication
. BT download client embedded
. Most complete UPnP/DLNA functions: Internet radio, automatic multimedia file sorting
. Multi-protocol system support on Windows, Macintosh, TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP
. Double-byte language support for file name, user name and security settings
. High availability to keep enterprises operating continuously
. Affordable initial setup cost and no license fee
. Stylish design

THE ADVANCED FEATURES OF QNAP TS-201 TURBO STATION
Large Capacity and Low Cost
TS-201 provides 2 SATA hot-swap hard drive bays and the capacity is up to 1.5 TB. The hot-swap SATA HDD interface costs at least 75% less than SCSI-based solutions. TS-201 offers affordable initial setup cost and competitive incremental cost.

Easy to Install
The front panel can be removed simply by unfastening the four thumb screws. There is no need to remove the upper case or deal with complicated wires. Simply lock the hard disks on the disk trays and insert them to TS-201. Connect the power supply and network cable, and finish a few installation steps. The server is ready to use!

Easy to Use
Browser-based Graphic User Interface (GUI) provides high usability for the administrator to manage the server and even BT download remotely.

Easy to Expand
Easy expansion and customization of storage space. Users can install one hard disk first and upgrade to 2 disks in the future when need more capacity. You can even connect external USB disk to further expand storage capacity.

High Performance
High speed USB 2.0 transfer interface. Gigabit LAN supports Jumbo Frame ultra speedy bandwidth. With block level remote replication, transfer rate is further enhanced to shorten your backup time.

High Interoperability
Multi-protocol system support on Microsoft and Apple networks.

High Reliability
TS-201 supports RAID 1 for 24 hours, 7 days a week non-stop service and easy maintenance. The intelligent on-line data rebuilding capability allows users to replace a failed drive by hot swap, this enables automatic data rebuilding to the new drive without suffering from any system downtime. The hard disk status and usage monitoring make sure data is secured by another drive and the system will alert the administrator automatically if any drive fails.

Powerful Management Software
1. Easy File Sharing: Intuitive web-based interface to simplify management of user quota and folder access right. FTP can be set up easily for file sharing.

2. Quick Installation Wizard (QIW): QIW can search and set up IP address on the LAN with just one click. Through QIW, DHCP or static IP configuration, overall system status and network drive mapping can be done easily.

3. Reliable Triple Backup: a. Handy backup software NetBak Replicator to back up data from PC or notebook directly to Turbo Station and restore backup files from the server to client computers easily. b. RAID 1 mirroring and c. remote replication further protect you from data loss.

4. Powerful Embedded Server Management: Network settings for Windows and Apple, management of the major services, hard disk management, user access right, quota, group, share folder management, status and event logs, remote shutdown, sleep mode etc.

5. Advanced Disk Protection Technology: Built-in HHS (HDD Health Scanning) technology to scan for bad blocks of hard disk to prevent potential data loss. Hard disk standby mode can be set to extend disk life.
One Touch Auto Copy
Simply connect a USB storage device (e.g. pen drive, digital camera) to front USB port of TS-201 and press the copy button, all USB data can be copied to TS-201 independent of PC.

Package Contents

  • TS-201 Turbo Station
  • Front Bezel and Mounting Screws
  • Drive Mounting Screws
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Power Adapter
  • Cat 5 Ethernet Cable
  • Setup CD

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QNAP TS-201 Turbo Station: Features and Setup


QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station: Physical Features and Setup
Hotswapping Dual Drive Solution

When compared to the TS-101, the TS-201 is equipped with many of the same features, including One Touch Copy, Web, File and Print services as well as Jumbo Frame Gigabit and BitTorrent support.  The two major differences between each system is the TS-201's capacity for a second hard drive and its lack of eSATA support.  Additionally, the TS-201 not only supports a second hard drive, they are hot swappable, allowing for hard drive removal without shutting down the system.  This can be a handy feature when the need arises to change a hard drive. 

The design of the TS-201 Turbo Station is a bit more involved than the TS-101, although it is no more difficult to set up.  The main unit is shipped with its face plate separate, so the unit's drive trays are readily accessible for hard drive installation.  With the loosening of two screws per drive tray, the trays easily slide out of the TS-201's body.  Next, the hard drives are mounted to the frame using the screw holes on the underside of each drive.  Once complete, the drive trays slide easily back into place with minimal force.  Once in place, tighten the tray's screws and the system is ready to be set up.  The last step is to mount the front bezel with four mounting screws provided.

  

The rear of the unit sports a standard power connector, reset button, Gigabit LAN port, dual USB 2.0 ports and K-Lock Security Slot for theft prevention.  This unit also sports active cooling through the use of an 80mm fan.  The fan is rather quiet and only detectable when it revs up for a second or two during normal operation.  When we shift focus to the front of the TS-201, the bezel sports a USB 2.0 port and One Touch Copy Button as well as a complete collection of LED Status indicators including USB, Status, HDD1, HDD 2 LAN and Power.

 

While setup was just as simple as the TS-101, we did encounter a few issues that count against an otherwise impressive unit.  First and foremost, the retail box is labelled "Hot Swappable" in large bold letters, yet this is the only place we saw this feature mentioned.  We scanned the quick start guide and full PDF manual and saw no explanation of the proper usage of this feature.  Furthermore, this only benefits users when configured in RAID 1 (mirroring).  If the drives are in a RAID 0 or Linear configuration, removing a drive while running is not recommended and will lock the unit.  Oddly, the only thing we saw in the manual was if you have a hard drive issue, shut the system down and call QNAP support for assistance.

An additional issue we encountered was the unit's sharp edges.  When testing the "Hot Swap" function, pulling tray 1 resulted in a skinned knuckle.  Ideally, QNAP should make a better effort to ensure that edges are properly rounded to prevent unnecessary personal injury.

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Installation - Quick Install Wizard - Part 1

 


Installation
QNAP Quick Install Wizard - Part 1

QNAP utilizes a unified installation CD that encompasses four different NAS solutions.  Upon inserting the CD, the disk auto-runs, presenting the above menu.  Next, the user selects the respective NAS server from the list, in this case the TS-101 and TS-201, and follows the procedures for each unit.

  
QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station

To start, a graphical image appears which summarizes each server's inputs, outputs and interface features.  The instructions for each unit are identical; connect the unit to a hub, switch, router, or PC, plug in the power cord and press the power button.  Once the unit completely boots, which takes roughly 45 seconds to 1:00 minute, a steady Power, Status and LAN light will appear as well as a long beep. 

   
QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station

In the next step, the wizard detects that the unit has not been configured and asks whether the user would like to complete the setup now.  Clicking OK initiates the log in screen which comes preset with the username administrator and the password admin.  Once the log in details have been entered, the actual configuration process begins, which starts with a brief summary of what can be expected.  First, a name for the server needs to be specified, which is filled in by default or can be set to something more personal if desired.  On the next screen the system Time Zone and server time can be configured, as well as the option to have the server use an Internet Time Server automatically.  File encoding settings default to English but can be changed as needed, which may be necessary with less common Operating Systems.

    

The TS-101 and TS-201 both default to obtaining an IP address automatically through DHCP, however, the option to enter static IP, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS information is also an option.  In the next screen, each NAS server detects the hard drive(s) installed and offers to initialize the disk(s) for the first time or allows you to postpone initialization until later.  With the TS-101, the options are minimal as there is only one drive to initialize.  In the TS-201's setup, the user is presented with four setup options; individual drives, RAID 0, RAID 1 and Linear, all of which we will cover more specifically when reviewing the Web Client that is common to both systems.

    

Once all of the options are set, the Configuration Wizard offers a summary of all the options selected before committing the changes to the unit.  If any changes are needed, simply click Back as needed.

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Installation - Quick Install Wizard - Part 2 / NetBak Replicator

 


Installation
QNAP Quick Install Wizard - Part 2

Before committing the changes to the configuration, the setup provides one last opportunity to stop before formatting the disk, losing all data that may preexist on the drive.  Clicking OK initiates the final stages of setup, applying the server name, updating log in information if changed, setting the server time, updating the encoding and network options and initializing the hard drive.

  

After the process completes, the Wizard offers to map a network drive for access from remote PCs.  There are several default locations to map, with Public being the typical folder choice.  Additional folders specific to users or groups can be configured as well. 

    

Once the location you want to map has been selected, the username and password needs to be entered, which is stored so the connection is automatically restored when the computer is restarted.  Last, the drive letter of the mapped location can be chosen and the final stages of the setup are complete, with the unit appearing as a network drive under My Computer, in our case as drive Z. 
 

QNAP NetBak Replicator
Basic Backup Functionality

One major function of both the TS-101 and TS-201 NAS devices is a backup server.  To implement the backup process, QNAP offers their Netbak Replicator software, which is a basic backup software product with scheduling functionality.  Once started, simply choose the drives, directories or specific files to back up and either start the process or setup a schedule to run at a later time.

     

There are several features missing, however, that limit the benefits of the software.  First, it is not entirely autonomous, requiring user input to complete if a file is detected as locked or in use.  Ideally, there should be the option to automatically skip files if certain conditions occur, as it is highly unlikely the user is going to be watching the entire backup process while it is running.  Additionally, there are no incremental or differential backup options, which would allow only files that changed since the last backup to be backed up (incremental) or backing up files that were created or modified since the last backup (differential).  One last issue with the NetBak Replicator package is that on every reboot of the PC, the software presents the user with a log in screen that must be clicked in order to allow the backup software to load.  This was most annoying and if there was any interruption in the connection to the NAS unit, the NetBak message remained on screen until it timed out on its own and could not be manually terminated.  Ideally, this process should retain log in information, loading automatically during Windows startup and perhaps should be run as a service.

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Web Client: Main Interface, Configuration, and Controls

 


Web Client
Main Interface, Quick Configuration, Share and Access Control

The main power of the TS-101 and TS-201 NAS Servers lies in their Web Client software.  This component is the one stop option to configuring each server's features to fit the end-user's intended uses.  The interface is essentially the same for both devices, save for the Device Configuration menu which handles the hard drive setup based on each units capabilities.  The main screen is accessed by entering the unite's IP address into a browser.  From the main window, the interface provides quick access to the main administration page for advanced configuration options as well as a quick link to change the system password.  Additionally, four major components are accessible from the main screen, the Web File Manager, Web Server, Multimedia Station and Download Station

   

When clicking any item, the unit requires that a valid log in be entered.  We'll start by reviewing the key features of the administration page.  On this page there are 8 key components; Quick Configuration, System Settings, Network Settings, Device Configuration, User Management, Network Share Management, System Tools and Event Logs.  The Quick Configuration menu is essentially a web-based representation of the original set up options we were presented with during initial setup.  Here the server's basic setup options are outlined in six steps, including Server Name, changing the administration password, setting system date and time, entering network settings and initializing the hard drive.

The User Management screen offers control over the creation and management of Users, User Groups, Password changing and assigning users to specific user groups.  Disk storage limitations through quota settings can be applied globally or on a per user basis as needed.  Another feature is to set a private share on the server that is only visible to a particular user. 

 

The System Settings window offers control over many of the same options set with the Quick Configuration. Here the Server name can be changed, date and time set and encoding options configured.  There is also a summary window to review current settings.  The Network Share Management is a tool for creating, deleting and restoring network shares.  Share paths can also be changed and access rights management specified as well.

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Web Client: Network Settings, Services and TwonkyVision 3.1

 


Web Client
Network Settings, File Services and TwonkyVision 3.1

The Network Settings menu is one of the more robust configuration screens, offering access to TCP/IP settings and various system services.  The TCP/IP Configuration defaults to DHCP but static IP gateway and DNS information can also be entered.  This is also where Jumbo Frame Settings can be adjusted, as we discussed earlier.  When connected to supported equipment, the default MTU of 1500 can be increased to 4074 or 7418 bytes for improved performance in a Gigabit network.  The server also provides Microsoft Networking options, such as setting the unit as a standalone server, WINS server or even as a Domain controller.  For Apple users, Appletalk is supported as well, however, it must be enable manually.

 

The Web File Manager service enables web access to the system folders.  This enables basic file access functionality for simple viewing of an individual file.  The FTP service enables the File Transfer Protocol making the unit accessible remotely via an FTP client such as GlobalScape's CuteFTP.  The Download Station service enables BitTorrent support.  Once enabled, the web interface permits the creation of BitTorrent jobs that do not rely on a PC.  The Multimedia Station offers two options, the first being the Multimedia Station service which provides a web-based interface for sharing photos, with the ability to create Photo Albums as well.  The Multimedia Station allows for the viewing of images, slideshow creation, zooming, rotating, printing and saving of images.  The other option is a UPnP MediaServer service, which is available with the latest update.  Once enabled, the server is immediately detected as a TwonkyMedia server, powered by TwonkyVision MediaServer v3.1.  This facilitates UPnP/DLNA functions, allowing the unit to act as a media server for Internet Radio and more.

  

Once enabled, the TwonkyMedia Configuration screen can be accessed by a URL or by double-clicking the server on the local network.  This is a powerful software package that enables the NAS device to function as a media server, working in conjunction with a myriad of streaming network clients as listed here.

   

If you don't have a streaming media client, user's can also use Shoutcast to play Internet Radio stations or they can create their own stations by genre, artist or album name.  The biggest drawback to this feature is documentation, which is spotty.  There is no manual available nor could we find anything on the TwonkyVision website.  Instead, information is mostly available through forums, where answers to specific questions are readily accessible.  Nonetheless, if you are interested in getting a streaming media client to generate custom radio stations with your current music library, including MP3 and iTunes files, this is one feature that should prove to be fun, challenging and loaded with features.

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Web Client: System Tools, Drive Configuration, Event Logging


Web Client Continued
System Tools, Drive Configuration, Event Logging

The System Tools menu provides a number of useful options for notifications, system updating and backup/restore functionality.  Alert Notifications can be configured so messages are sent to up to two e-mail addresses.  Basically, there are options for sending messages when an error or warning occurs, when only an error occurs, or the option can be set to disabled.  This could be useful for those reliant on system up time for web or file access.  The unit can also be cycled to shutdown and restart with a single click.  The Hardware Settings screen offers options to control hard drive standby times from 5 minutes to 5 hours. A visible light can be set to illuminate when the hard drive's free space drops below a certain threshold, warning of low disk space.  Another excellent option is for the unit to power itself back on after a power failure.

 

The System Update window provides the ability to easily upgrade the system's firmware when an update is available.  While the unit doesn't auto detect when an update is available, it does offer a link to quickly check for an update and download as needed.  The Backup/Restore/Reset Settings menu provides the ability to quickly backup, restore or reset all saved settings, including user profiles, network settings and other critical settings.  One of the more useful features is the Remote Replication function.  With Remote Replication, the data from a specified directory can be configured to back up to another location, be it a server in another country or another computer on your personal network.  This helps ensure that your data is safe and backups are available in case of disaster.

The Device Configuration menu is one of the few areas where the options differ between the TS-101 and TS-201.  This is expected as each unit offers very different functionality in this area.  For the single drive TS-101, the menu offers four choices, SATA, eSATA, USB Disk and USB Printer options.  The SATA Disk options are fairly straight forward, permitting formatting, error checking and scanning for bad blocks.  With the TS-201, the choices are greater, with various options catering to a multi-disk configuration.

   
QNAP NAS Server TS-201 RAID Options

With the TS-201, the two disks can be configured in one of four ways. The first is simply to have two independent disks.  The next option is to set up a RAID 1 array for disk mirroring, making for the most secure setup out of the four choices.  RAID 0 can also be set and works well even with mismatched drive sizes.  We had no trouble creating a RAID 0 array using a 74GB Western Digital Raptor and a older 250GB Maxtor drive, athough you will sacrifice some capacity on the larger drive.  The last choice is to create a Linear Disk Volume which loads all data on one drive and then shifts to the second as the first fills up.

As we stated earlier, the TS-101 is the only device of the two to offer eSATA support as well as Q-RAID 1 for both eSATA and USB Disks.  In the configuration screen, the eSATA and USB drive can be set up using Q-RAID 1, which allows either drive to mirror the internal SATA disk of the TS-101.  Both units provide USB Disk settings for USB drive formatting and summary information, while the USB Printer menu simply shows a brief status window and offers the option to clear the print spooler.

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Performance Metrics and Power Consumption


Assessing performance of components such as the QNAP TS-101 and TS-201 NAS units can be difficult. There are so many variables to consider such as the hard drives used, the hard drive configuration, network speed, router, switch, the size of network, well, you get the picture.  Nonetheless, we wanted to quantify performance in some way that would be relevant to our readers.  In this case, we kept network performance testing to a few basic tests considering the multitude of variables in each environment that can have a major bearing on individual performance.  We also measured power consumption of the two units in our current configuration.  Again, this is dependant somewhat on the hard drives installed, but should still provide a fair indicator of power consumption, which is a major characteristic to quantify as these units are both marketed as low power consumption devices.  With that said, below is a brief list of the hardware used in our tests. 

The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD
PC For Transfer Testing
Processor
AMD Athlon
64 FX-60 (2.6GHz x 2)


Motherboard
Asus A8N32-SLI

Video Cards
GeForce 7900 GT (x2)

Physics Accelerator

Ageia PhysX 128MB


Memory
2048MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM


Audio
Integrated on board

Hard Drive
2 - 150GB Western Digital "Raptor" (RAID 0)
1 -
400GB Seagate Barracuda
1 - 250GB Maxtor 7Y250M0

LAN
Marvel Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Controller

10/100/1000Mbps

Router
Linksys WRT54G 10/100

Servers
QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station
QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station

Hard Drive
Western Digital 75GB "Raptor"

Basic Network Performance Metrics
Bandwidth Assessment

For our basic performance testing we copied a 2GB file from a PC to a network share on each device to measure Write performance, logging how long it took to complete the process in minutes:seconds.  Next, we copied the file back to the the PC to test Read performance, once again logging the time to complete the process.  We ran each iteration with the PC connected to a Linksys WRT54G router for 100Mbps testing and Gigabit testing was tested with a default MTU of 1500 while directly connected to the Gigabit port on the PC using the CAT 5e cable provided.

QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station

Bandwidth Read Write
100Mbps 4:03 5:08
1000Mbps 1:51 3:49

QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station

Bandwidth Read Write
100Mbps 4:22 4:43
1000Mbps 2:21 3:15

Overall, in our experience, Read testing was the strength of the TS-101, topping the TS-201 in both modes of operation.  Write performance, conversely, was a strength of the TS-201, leading the TS-101 in both configurations.  Once again, these are basic tests that are easily influenced by hardware and network variables.  With a proper Gigabit switch and support for Jumbo frames, both devices should deliver even faster performance, especially with larger files. 

Basic Power Consumption
Wattage

As for their power consumption, both devices performed on par with the same hard drive installed in each.  First we powered up the unit and monitored power usage while the unit posted and then ran for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes the wattage was recorded, with both units drawing the values steadily at this point. 

System IDLE LOAD
TS-101 Turbo Station 8 watts 15 watts
TS-201 Turbo Station 9 watts 20 watts

Lastly, the units were left untouched for 30 minutes, allowing time for the hard drives to power down.  Once again, when the values were recorded, there was no fluctuations occurring at that time.  In the end, both units were quite similar in power draw, with the TS-201 being slightly more power hungry.  No matter how you look at it though, both units have an awful lot to offer while drawing less power than a low wattage light bulb.

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Closing Thoughts


After thorough inspections of both the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station and QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station, we ended up rather impressed. The amount of features and functionality squeezed into such small packages is impressive.  With UPnP capabilities, advanced file server capabilities, excellent networking options, and robust user management, both units are well equipped for home or small business consumers. 

First, let's talk about the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station. This unit supports a broad range of hard drives and uses an extremely low amount of power. The Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame support was a nice touch as was support for eSATA for further expanding the storage capacity of the TS-101.  The body of the unit itself was designed well, with an intuitive front bezel, and the body was easily opened for hard drive installation.  The One Touch Copy is a handy feature, as was the unit's powerful web-based interface.  Being able to utilize the system as a print server is an added bonus, although the feature is limited to straight printing and will not support multifunction fax / copy / scanner / printer devices, or more than one printer.

The Quick Setup guide was decent, but the electronic manual on the setup CD was much more thorough.  It was disappointing to see such little documentation available for the TwonkyVision software, however, and the manual itself seems geared for users already with some familiarity of its features.  The installation software was down right foolproof, walking the user through the entire process with a well laid out script.  The NetBak Replicator software was not the greatest solution, especially with its nag screen that appeared with every reboot of the PC.

The QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station is the more affordable one of the two models we looked at, selling for approximately $260 at a popular online reseller.  When you consider all of the functionality that comes at that price point, the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station seems like an attractive option.  In the end, this unit delivered on virtually all fronts and it has the room to expand as your NAS needs grow. 

  • Intuitive Design
  • Low Power Consumption
  • eSATA
  • Q RAID 1
  • Excellent Feature Set
  • NetBak Replicator Could Be Better
  • Documentation
  • No Multi-function Printer Support

Building on the positives of the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station, the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station trades eSATA support for a second hard drive bay, while also adding Hot Swapable capabilities to the mix.  The design of the TS-201 also accommodates a broad range of hard drive configuration options including RAID 0, RAID 1 and Linear RAID.

The physical design of the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station was very well thought out except for a sharp edge in the main opening.  The tray design for each hard drive was easily accessed and very secure when the drives were in place.  When in place, the finished bezel added to the units overall aesthetic, although we did find the mounting thumb screws so low profile that they were hard to tighten without a screw driver.

The documentation of the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station was adequate, but ideally it should be written as if the target user knows nothing about its features.  Adding support for a second hard disk tacks on an additional $100 to the price tag compared to the TS-101.  For about $360, the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station adds several RAID options and support for two 750GB hard drives, for a total of up to 1.5TB of storage.  Overall, the added cost seems worth it, although it would have been nice to see QNAP keep the eSATA support as well.

  • Intuitive Design
  • Low Power Consumption
  • RAID 0, 1, Linear
  • Hot Swapable
  • Feature Rich
  • Documentation
  • Sharp Edges
  • NetBak Replicator Could Be Better
  • No Multi-Function Printer Support

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