QNAP is viewed as a leading maker of NASes, particularly because its products can perform a number of various functions other than just storing files. QNAP releases firmware updates for multiple products simultaneously but the functionality scope, for example the data backup features, varies between the particular models.
The TS-219P+ can be a backup server for remote QNAP systems or Rsync-enabled platforms. It can also be programmed to copy shared folders to remote servers. There are a few parameters for each backup task such as remote server, local resource, time schedule, etc. The maximum period of the schedule is 1 day. It is not convenient that you have to create a separate backup task for each folder.
Unfortunately, that’s all this NAS can do in terms of network data backups. It supports neither ordinary network folders (via SMB) nor FTP-servers whereas practice suggests that it may be problematic to set up multiple devices from different brands to work together via Rsync. On the other hand, Rsync is a standard protocol, so the problem is in finding the correct settings.
If you’ve got only one NAS and want to make your data as safe as possible, you can use the integrated cloud backup modules which support Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive. The NAS can also copy backups to external disks connected via USB or eSATA. In this case you can combine any number of folders into a single backup task. This task can then be run manually, by a schedule or automatically whenever you connect an external disk to the NAS.
Downloading files without a PC is a popular application for a NAS. Of course, the TS-219P+ can do that, too. It can download files via HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent and use premium accounts of the RapidShare service. The download system is only accessible by the administrator. Besides the NAS’s web-interface, you can use the QGet utility (available for both Windows and Mac OS X) to manage your downloads.
There is only one global setting: you can choose the time period (once or twice a day) for the download service to work. For the BitTorrent protocol you can specify the maximum number of active tasks (up to 10 in the TS-219P+, which may be too few for some users), the peak rating on achieving which a download task stops automatically, folders to save downloaded files into, port numbers (including DHT, the ports can be opened automatically on a compatible UPnP router), limit the speed of seeding and downloading, limit the number of connections (globally as well as individually for each task), and enable encryption. The HTTP/FTP settings are roughly the same: maximum number of tasks, folders, speed, premium account details.
Multiple HTTP/FTP links can be loaded as a list but the NAS cannot download folders with all their files. As for torrents, you can assign priorities and select the files you need in each torrent.
The NAS supports certain RSS feeds for downloading files en masse (you can apply keyword-based filters to select the files you need).
The download system is quite easy to use but the limitation of the maximum number of download tasks does not match the actual performance of this NAS.
The third integrated service allows to stream multimedia files from the NAS to compatible players. It is based on a popular server from TwonkyMedia. You have to specify folders with files in the NAS’s web-interface. The list of supported formats is very long and includes all popular HD video formats and some lossless audio ones. Files can be sorted by tags like performer or capture date.
If you are an iTunes user, you may find the opportunity to store your music on the NAS useful. The integrated iTunes server supports M4A, MP3 and WAV. The NAS can read tags and creates a network media library for that service.
If you want to access your multimedia files via an ordinary web-browser, you can use the Media Server feature. This service has a dedicated user database and can restrict access to certain albums (folders in the common folder called Multimedia). You can view photographs, listen to music and even watch videos right in the browser window. The first two data types must be compatible with the browser/flash player, i.e. files must be JPEG, GIF, PNG or MP3. As for videos, MP4 is supported natively whereas MPEG, AVI and WMV need to be converted into FLV. The conversion process may take quite a lot of time on the processor installed into the TS-219P+, so we wouldn’t recommend it for full-length movies. This service is perfect for sharing your photos with friends, though.
But if you want to manage your files, you may prefer the Web File Manager. It puts all your files at your disposal from anywhere. You only have to have a web-browser and Internet connection. The service can be used for downloading as well as uploading files. It is an easy way of moving files between the NAS's folders.
With so many web-oriented services, the NAS can be expected to provide a hosting service. You can establish not only a static website but also use PHP and MySQL. The latest versions of QNAP’s firmware support virtual websites so that you could run several projects on a single NAS.
QNAP has a specialized series of video surveillance servers for IP cameras and implements a similar capability in its NASes. The number of supported cameras and the compatibility list differ depending on the particular model. The TS-219P+ can work with two cameras simultaneously and is compatible with about 60 models. There are predefined profiles for cameras which will prevent you from using incompatible models.
The service is only accessible by the administrator and allows watching the video live or recording it. Scheduled recording is supported: you can enable a constant recording mode for any hour of the week or make the NAS start to record video when triggered by the camera’s motion sensor. This video surveillance system must be accessed via Internet Explorer with special ActiveX modules.