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QNAP TVS-863+ 8-Bay NAS Review

Our Verdict

The QNAP TVS-863+ is a powerful and cost effective NAS that consolidates many functions into one appliance. The system is easier to manage than a desktop computer but offers more functions is an easy to configure interface.

For

  • Cost effective 10GbE enabled system that is powerful enough to consolidate server roles while consolidating management.

Against

  • Expansion comes from USB 3.0, there isn't an eSATA option. One PCIe 2.0 x4 slot is populated with a single 10GbE port. Dual 10GbE is only an option after the initial purchase.

Introduction

NAS industry veteran QNAP has brought a new product series to market and given AMD a design win along the way. QNAP plans to tap AMD's extensive GPU knowledge to solve problems with playing back codecs that were never fully resolved in Intel processors. The flagship model using an AMD APU in the QNAP product line is the TVS-863+, the unit we're testing today.

Windows Media Center is dead, but that doesn't mean the principle will not live on. Video on a big screen is the ultimate viewing experience. Sadly, many of us don't have a lot of time to binge-watch  "Star Wars," so we absorb content on our phones and tablets. Keeping content on demand requires storage, the native function of NAS products. By supporting high-definition video playback on local and remote devices, NAS products finally have the killer app that pulls many consumers in the door.

The TVS-863+ is a step above what we see in most home theaters and is designed for small business use. The unit still leverages AMD's powerful APU processor that provides superior video support for a wide range of codecs. This model goes well beyond video playback capabilities. Video is just a big feather in the hat. The unit we're testing today comes equipped with a 10-gigabit Ethernet and 16 gigabytes of DRAM to run more applications than most off-the-shelf models. The TVS-863+ is so powerful that it can operate as a desktop computer without degrading network storage performance.

QNAP leads other NAS builders in software features and has no plans to slow development. In June, the company displayed QTS 4.2, the next-generation proprietary operating system for QNAP products. Version 4.2 adds container support for Docker and LXC while improving on a number of existing functions. What are containers you ask? That is the point. QNAP incorporates the next big thing before most even know it's a thing.

  • basroil
    If it wasn't for the price (expensive, though justifiable) I would snap one up, seems to be a great option for photo/video storage and playback, and if you have a 10gigE network, even photo editing from it is going to feel snappy!
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I have a few disk drive reviews coming out soon and the iSCSI performance from this system is actually faster than a local disk.
    Reply
  • "iSCSI is an amazing technology that allows users to mount a volume to a host computer and have it control the volume as a local drive. You can even set the computer up to boot from the iSCSI share, just like a SAN."

    A massive over-simplification which is almost up there with "I want to buy an internet for my PC". It's not a technology, it's a protocol which runs over dead-basic Ethernet connectivity. The technology is "Ethernet", not iSCSI.

    You can't boot ALL computers from an iSCSI mounted volume unless you NIC supports it - and most integrated NICs don't.

    The "Con" of only having a single 10GbE interface isn't really a con for this type of device - if you need dual 10GbE then it's more likely to be for path diversity than performance, in which case you'll be wanting multiple switches and you're then into the realms of enterprise requirements, and if that's the case you wouldn't buy one of these in any case.
    Reply
  • basroil
    "It's not a technology, it's a protocol which runs over dead-basic Ethernet connectivity. The technology is "Ethernet", not iSCSI."

    iSCSI is technology, bridging two different protocols, and it doesn't need to be done over ethernet (though most commonly done over ethernet). Sure it's not "network technology" in the sense of low level protocols and physical devices, but it's still just as much a separate technology as TCP/IP, TLS, etc. (i.e. not all technology even has to have the same purpose or independent from others)

    "You can't boot ALL computers from an iSCSI mounted volume unless you NIC supports it - and most integrated NICs don't."
    Pretty sure all newer vPro systems support it, and definitely anything with PRO series NIC from Intel (and of course server grade NICs). Considering this device is 10gigE, I don't think they meant consumer grade computers booting over it!

    As for single 10gigE not being an issue, the only case in which I think people would see it as an issue is in the case of a legacy network still running gigE, in which case two teamed adapters running gigE would certainly still have a benefit. Other than legacy networks, you're right on the ball there.
    Reply
  • Marko Ravnjak
    "With HGST's new He8 drives with 8GB density, users can easily store up to 64GB of data."

    That's not really that much... ;)
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    The comments really show just how far NAS system have come. You can do so much with them. I wouldn't go as far as to say one size fits all (not even close) but a small inexpensive system like this can easily serve 20 office systems over VDI.

    Dual 10gbE is nice for redundancy in a large network but I'm referring to performance increases against cost. A dual port 10GbE NIC has a very small price premium over a single port 10GbE NIC. QNAP sells both dual and single port 10GbE NICs but only offers the TVS-863+ with a single port.
    Reply
  • nekromobo
    Did you test the cache with 1 or 2 SSD's? Because with only 1 SSD you can only have read accelerated and need 2 SSD's to get read/write benefits.
    Reply
  • willgart
    "With HGST's new He8 drives with 8GB density, users can easily store up to 64GB of data. After RAID 6 overhead, that comes out to about 48GB of usable space with dual disk failure redundancy. "

    pretty small ;-)
    I prefer the other solutions where we talk about TB not GB... ;-)
    Reply
  • VfiftyV
    The 8GB DRAM model cost $1,399, while the 16GB model was $100 higher, at $1,400. Because math.
    Reply
  • SirGCal
    "The TVS-863+ with eight drive bays is a little too large for most home theater installations"

    WHAT? I currently have two 8-drive setups running RAID 6. A 12TB and a 24TB setup (2G and 4G drives respectively). And I'm almost full (89%). I have a large movie collection (all legal and no, you can't get any... ;-) and I also use about 8TB of that for (fake) work data storage. So I'm up to 28TB of movie and music storage that is just about full. I'd happily retire them for a single 48TB solution.

    Although building them myself is far cheaper, it's not as small. This is the first unit I'd actually consider buying that I've seen thus far. I'd for sure be excited to test it and see if it'll do everything else I need also (seems like it should).
    Reply