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QNAP TS-453A NAS Review

QNAP isn't a stranger to specialty NAS systems, but the new TS-453A introduces an entirely new feature that will have you singing with joy.

Software

Software Features

Operating SystemQTS 4.2 (embedded Linux)
Client OS SupportWindows 8 (32 & 64-bit), 7 (32 & 64-bit), Vista, XP, Server 2012 R2 / 2012 / 2008 R2 / 2003Apple Mac OS XLinux & UNIX
Supported BrowsersMicrosoft Internet Explorer 10+Mozilla Firefox 8+Apple Safari 4+Google Chrome
Multilingual SupportChinese (Traditional & Simplified)CzechDanishDutchEnglishFinnishFrenchGermanGreekHungarianItalianJapaneseKoreanNorwegianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSpanishSwedishThaiTurkish
File SystemInternal Hard Drive: EXT4External Hard Drive: EXT3, EXT4, NTFS, FAT32, HFS+
NetworkingTCP/IP (IPv4 & IPv6: Dual Stack)Quad Gigabit NICs with jumbo frame (fail-over, multi-IP settings, port trunking/NIC teaming)Service binding based on network interfacesProxy server (Squid Proxy Server via App Center)Proxy clientDHCP client, DHCP serverProtocols: CIFS/SMB, AFP (v3.3), NFS(v3), FTP, FTPS, SFTP, TFTP, HTTP(S), Telnet, SSH, iSCSI, SNMP, SMTP, and SMSCUPnP & Bonjour DiscoveryUSB Wi-Fi Adapter Support
SecurityNetwork access protection with auto-blocking: SSH, Telnet, HTTP(S), FTP, CIFS/SMB, AFPCIFS host access control for shared foldersFIPS 140-2 validated AES 256-bit volume-based and shared folder data encryption*AES 256-bit external drive encryption*Importable SSL certificatesInstant alert via E-mail, SMS, beep, and push notification service2-step verification* The data encryption functions may not be available in accordance with the legislative restrictions of some countries.
Storage ManagementQNAP flexible Volume/LUN with thin provisioning and space reclaimRAID 0,1, 5, 5 + hot spare, 6, 10Supports storage pools*Supports snapshots (4GB System RAM required)Supports Volume/LUN snapshot (Max 256 snapshots)Snapshot managerSnapshot cloneSnapshot vaultSnapshot replicaSnapshot agent for Windows VSS and VMwareOnline volume expansionOnline storage pool expansionOnline RAID capacity expansion and online RAID level migrationSMART data migrationStorage expansion via a QNAP UX-500P/UX-800P expansion unitJBOD enclosure roamingSSD read-only/read-write cacheBad block scan and hard drive S.M.A.R.T.Bad block recoveryRAID recoveryBitmap support
Power ManagementWake on LANInternal hard drive standby modeScheduled power on/offAutomatic power on after power recoveryUSB and network UPS support with SNMP managementSystem sleep mode (S3)
Access Right ManagementBatch users creationImport/Export usersUser quota managementLocal user access control for CIFS, AFP, FTP, and WebDAVApplication access control for Photo Station, Music Station, Video Station, and File StationSubfolder permissions support for CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTP, and File Station
Transcode ManagementTranscode video files to 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p resolutionAutomatic video transcoding for watched foldersHardware accelerated transcoding supportEmbed subtitles into videos for background transcoding
Domain Authentication IntegrationMicrosoft Active Directory (AD) & Domain Controller supportLDAP server, LDAP clientDomain users login via CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTP, and File Station
myQNAPcloud ServicePrivate cloud storage and sharingFree host name registration (DDNS)Auto router configuration (via UPnP)Web-based file manager with HTTPS 2048-bit encryptionCloudLink for remote access without complicated router setupmyQNAPcloud connect for easy VPN connection (Windows VPN utility)
QsyncSyncs files among multiple devices with SSL supportSelective synchronization for syncing specific folders onlyUse team folders as a file center for greater team collaboration (maximum sync tasks: 32)Shares files by links via emailPolicy settings for conflicted files and file type filter supportVersion control: up to 64 versionsIncremental synchronization for HDD space savingSupports Windows & Mac OS
Web AdministrationSmart Fan ControlDynamic DNS (DDNS)SNMP (v2 & v3)Resource monitorNetwork recycle bin for file deletion via CIFS/SMB, AFP, and File StationAutomatic CleanupFile Type FilterComprehensive logs (events & connection)Syslog client/serverSystem settings backup and restoreRestore to factory defaultMobile app: Qmanager for remote system monitoring & management

QNAP recently released QTS 4.2, its latest operating system. In it, we find support for the company's Container Station, Qsearch function and various incremental updates to existing features. You can read more about QTS 4.2 on the operating system's microsite.

Feature Applications

File ServerFile sharing across Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIXWindows ACLAdvanced folder permission for CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTPShared folder aggregation (CIFS/SMB)
FTP ServerFTP over SSL/TLS (Explicit)FXP supportPassive FTP port range control
File StationSupports ISO mounting (Up to 256 ISO files)Supports thumbnail display of multimedia filesSupports sharing download links and upload linksDrag-n-drop files via Google Chrome and Mozilla FirefoxFile compression (ZIP or 7z)Creation of and sending download links for sharing public files with expiration time and password protectionSupport for displaying subtitles (*.SRT, UTF-8 format)Support slideshow playback in media viewerMobile App: Qfile for file browsing and management
Backup StationRemote replication server (over rsync)Real-time remote replication (RTRR) to another QNAP NAS or FTP serverWorks as both RTRR server & client with bandwidth controlReal-time & scheduled backupEncryption, compression, file filters, and transfer rate limitationsEncrypted replication between QNAP NAS serversDesktop backup with QNAP NetBak Replicator for WindowsApple Time Machine backup supportData backup to multiple external storage devicesSynchronizes with cloud storage: Amazon S3, ElephantDrive, DropboxThird party backup software support: Veeam backup & replication, Acronis True Image, Arcserve backup, emc retrospect, Symantec Backup Exec, etc
Print ServerMax. number of printers: 3Support for Internet Printing ProtocolPrint job display and managementIP-based and domain name-based privilege control
Cloud Backup StationAmazon S3Amazon GlacierWebdev-based cloud storageMicrosoft AzureOpen Stack
HD (HybridDesk) Station 3.0Playback videos, music, photos on TV with Kodi via HDMIWatch various online content such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Shoutcast, etc.Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox)Supports multi-lingual keyboard, input and mouseSupports QNAP Qremote app and the official KODI remote appSupports user login permissionsA variety of applications are available including Skype, Plex, and moreNote:- The playback and quality of some video files may be affected by the system's CPU and GPU decoding abilities.- Up to 7.1 channel audio pass-through is supported
Virtualization StationSupports creating one Virtual Machine (VM) to run an operating system such as Windows, Linux, and UnixVM import from Virtual AppliancesVM export into a virtual appliance in OVF / QVM formatVM clone & snapshotHTML5-based shared remote console
Storage Plug & ConnectCreating and mapping shared folders using QNAP Windows QfinderCreation of and connection to iSCSI targets/LUN
iSCSI (IP SAN)iSCSI target with multi-LUNs per target (Up to 256 targets/LUNs combined)Support for LUN mapping & maskingOnline LUN capacity expansionSupport for SPC-3 persistent reservationSupport for MPIO & MC/SiSCSI LUN backup, one-time snapshot, and restorationiSCSI connection and management by QNAP Windows QfinderVirtual disk drive (via iSCSI initiator)Stack chaining masterMax No. of virtual disk drives: 8
Surveillance StationSupports over 3,000 IP camerasIncludes 4 free camera licenses, up to 40 camera channels via additional license purchaseInstant playback to check recent eventsOnline editing to change cameras when in live viewVisual aid by using e-mapsPlayback and speed control by shuttle barVideo preview using playback timelineIntelligent Video Analytics (IVA) for advanced video searchSurveillance client for MacMobile surveillance app: Vmobile (iOS and Android)Mobile recording app: Vcam (iOS and Android)
VPN ServerSecure remote access: PPTP & OpenVPN VPN servicesMax number of clients: 30
VPN ClientSupported VPN protocols: PPTP & OpenVPN servicesPPTP Authentication: PAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP, MS-CHAPv2PPTP Encryption: None, AES 40/128 bit, AES 256 bitOpenVPN Encryption: None, AES 40/128 bit, AES 256 bitTransmission package monitorOpenVPN port controlOpenVPN link compression
App CenterOver 100 official and community software add-ons like Photo Station, Music Station, Video Station, DLNA server, Notes Station, Signage Station, Airplay/Chromecast, and more

Interface

There are so many software features that we could write an entire article on the operating system and what's inside. But for now, just know that there there are more native features and optional add-ons than we can discuss in a single device review.

There are hundreds of pages in the QNAP QTS operating system, all originating from the main screen. The icons are similar to what you find in Android; you can move and reposition them across the three default pages. Of course, you can also add and remove icons as needed.

The Health Check feature in the lower-right corner of the dashboard opens to what we see here. It provides a quick way to catch the latest QNAP software news, see details about firmware updates and view the system's status. You can monitor the storage array and the CPU, as well as keep an eye on memory usage and network traffic. Another pane shows if other users are logged in to the system; you don't want to update firmware or restart the NAS if someone else is using a shared file from a remote location.

Before we even get into the applications, let's look at the system's many configurable features. Everything comes set up from QNAP, but you can easily change the options to create a more customized experience.

For instance, you can disable and hide all of the home/multimedia functions by clicking a single checkbox. This helps save processing cycles and system memory if those capabilities aren't needed.

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In QTS' Storage Manager, you can build arrays either in volumes or by pools of disks. The latter option, introduced a few years ago, allows the appliance to tackle storage like an enterprise-class SAN. For example, one part of a drive may be a member of a RAID 0 array, while another section is part of a RAID 5 array.

When we review QNAP NAS appliances, we use the single-volume option. Systems with seven or fewer drive bays are tested in RAID 5, while systems with eight or more disks are tested in RAID 6.

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You get a lot of networking options, too. QNAP facilitates several modes of teaming, including 802.11ad link aggregation. And there are a few ways to connect to the system from outside your intranet: via QNAP's cloud feature, a free service through a specialized website, or through a third-party DDNS service.

QTS-Linux Dual Systems

The TS-453A supports some new functionality not found on other QNAP platforms. For instance, the QTS-Linux dual system opens up the Internet of Things (IoT) world for developers to build rich applications. Although the QTS App Center is light on IoT applications right now, we expect it to see new and exciting plug-ins over time. In some ways, this is an extension of QNAP's existing desktop virtualization that allows users to run a second operating system from the NAS.

Dual HDMI

The TS-453A also introduces independent HDMI ports, so you can have your Linux and HD Station at the same time. Use the two ports to mirror or extend a desktop from the hosted operating system—even Windows, if you choose to install it in the virtualized environment.

Audio, Video And More

HD Video Station enables Kodi, a successor to XBMC and one of the most popular applications for networked storage today. Kodi might as well be its own operating environment because once it's installed, you can install plug-ins that expand its utility. If you ever dreamed of cutting the cord, consider Kodi your sheers.

OceanKTV - Karaoke At Home

At this time, only QNAP offers the OceanKTV application through its on-board management system. The TS-x53A series was built to complement the software, and the model we're reviewing has a pair of dynamic microphone inputs that allow two people to sing along with music from a GUI.

Dynamic microphones are professional-grade, like what musicians use. The industry standard is the Shure SM58, and these models cost around $100 each. You will need a special cord to connect to the NAS or a wireless system. While there are lower-cost alternatives available, if you want the full experience, the SM58 is an excellent choice.

  • Confusias1
    "We found the QNAP TS-453A available from several online resellers for $60." Please tell me where this reseller is....
    Reply
  • Lulzon
    Did you mean $600? Not $60?
    Reply
  • Confusias1
    17891974 said:
    Did you mean $600? Not $60?

    They did indeed mean $600.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    "We found the QNAP TS-453A available from several online resellers for $60." Please tell me where this reseller is....

    You need to read the entire sentence:
    "$60 less than Asustor's AS204T."
    So it's $60 less then the AS204T, it's not selling for $60.
    Reply
  • Confusias1
    17893394 said:
    "We found the QNAP TS-453A available from several online resellers for $60." Please tell me where this reseller is....

    You need to read the entire sentence:
    "$60 less than Asustor's AS204T."
    So it's $60 less then the AS204T, it's not selling for $60.

    I am quite aware of what I read, my comment was accurate. The article has since been corrected.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    I wish QNAP would just sell their Nas OS with Visualization Features.

    I wanna build a skylake DDR4 nas, with their top flight os on top, but its a pipe dream. Their upcoming skylake ddr4 nas's are coming out in a few months but even the i3 version will costs $1500 diskless I guarantee it.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    17893950 said:
    17893394 said:
    "We found the QNAP TS-453A available from several online resellers for $60." Please tell me where this reseller is....

    You need to read the entire sentence:
    "$60 less than Asustor's AS204T."
    So it's $60 less then the AS204T, it's not selling for $60.

    I am quite aware of what I read, my comment was accurate. The article has since been corrected.

    Well that explains it. I guess I read it all after it was corrected. Cheers!.
    Reply
  • Confusias1
    I wish QNAP would just sell their Nas OS with Visualization Features.

    I wanna build a skylake DDR4 nas, with their top flight os on top, but its a pipe dream. Their upcoming skylake ddr4 nas's are coming out in a few months but even the i3 version will costs $1500 diskless I guarantee it.


    That would indeed be awesome. There are several NAS manufacturers that I would love to be able to install on top of my own hardware. I'd even consider a software licensing fee to be able to use QNAP's or Synology's OS... It'll only take one to start doing it and the rest will follow.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I have not tried this yet but here you go.

    QNAP - https://sourceforge.net/projects/qosgpl/

    Reply
  • Confusias1
    17894607 said:
    I have not tried this yet but here you go.

    QNAP - https://sourceforge.net/projects/qosgpl/

    Awesome, now if only I were savvy enough to compile a build from source... My *nix skills is that area are rather lacking.
    Reply