Storage Wars NAS Roundup: Thecus, QNAP, Netgear

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QNAP TS-569 Pro Setup and Software

Out of the three NAS boxes reviewed here, QNAP's entry is easiest to install and configure (though none were particularly difficult). In fact, we set up our RAID array right from the LCD panel without before we even turned on our testbed.

QNAP's Finder utility is similar to Netgear's RAIDar software, in that it scans the network looking for the NAS box. Once found, you can look up details (like IP info), configure the NAS box, or connect to it and start poking around the GUI.

There are two views for jumping into the interface, a flow view (pictured left) that flips through different thumbnail options, and a standard view (pictured right) for a more traditional menu layout. The options are the same for both, they're just laid out differently.

Once inside, we're quickly reminded of the Thecus N4800's dashboard. Both use a similar icon-based theme with expandable options and a search field on the left-hand side, and both are much easier to navigate than Netgear's ReadyNAS Pro 4. QNAP's menu feels the most fleshed out of all three, though it lacks a customizable Favorites menu like the Thecus NAS device, which is about the only "shortcoming" we could find, if you want to call it that. Overall, we really like the user-friendly approach QNAP employed here.

In place of an extensible platform with add-on support, QNAP includes a bunch of "applications," adding flexibility to already fleshed out feature-set. For example, you can enable QNAP's Photo Stream module or configure the TS-569 Pro to act as a surveillance system, the latter of which seems to be increasing in popularity on these types of appliances.

Other tricks up the QNAP device's sleeves include things like remote replication, Time Machine support, one-touch copying of USB drives, setting up the NAS box as a cloud server, configuring users and user quotas, virtual disk support, and a whole host of other functions.

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