This feature is all right. The NAS supports console access via telnet or SSH, which means you can add new modules almost without limitations. For higher security you can change the standard ports of these services. If you don’t want to study Linux deeply, you can use preassembled QPKG packages installed via the web-interface. There are over a dozen such packages available already. Besides these two options, you can use QPKG to install the Optware package management system and install modules later via the console.
I tested the TS-219P using Intel’s NASPT 1.7.0 software and 500GB Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS drives. The testbed configuration is the same as in our previous NAS reviews: an Intel Core 2 Duo processor at 1.8GHz, 4 gigabytes of system memory, a Gigabit Ethernet controller and Microsoft Windows Vista.
The NAS is connected to the PC via a Gigabit Ethernet router with Jumbo Frames support. The NAS is set up in a basic manner before the test: I create a disk volume, a shared folder and a user with full access rights.
The first diagram shows the performance of different types of arrays when using the EXT3 file system.
As you can see, the NAS offers rather high performance, delivering a read speed of 40MBps and a write speed of 30MBps. A RAID0 is somewhat faster than a single HDD while a RAID1 is, on the contrary, somewhat slower than the latter. The only disappointing fact is that the write speed of the striped array is lower.
I have not tested other NASes based on a similar platform, so I can’t make comparisons as yet, but the performance meets my expectations. Interestingly, QNAP and other makers have also decided to utilize the Marvell 6281 processor in their new mainstream models but use an 800MHz version of it rather than the TS-219P’s 1.2GHz version. And they install less memory. Such differences in hardware configuration are not crucial for moderately loaded NASes, though.
Compared to the top-performance platform from QNAP, the TS-219P is only half as fast as it.
QNAP’s newer firmware versions allow formatting a disk volume with data in EXT4 which is declared to have higher performance. This should have a positive effect on NASes with their rather limited platform resources.
The numbers say that the EXT4 file system is indeed faster in most cases, up to 50% when reading sequentially located data from a single HDD and from a mirror. Writing improves less, yet the improvement is clear, too. It is very nice to get a 30% performance boost by simply changing the file system. The templates consisting of many small files are less sensitive to the change. Occasionally, the performance is even lower with the new file system. On the other hand, processing large files such as disc images is more important than processing lots of small ones. The maximum speeds are 52MBps when reading and 39MBps when writing. I didn’t spot any negative effect from using EXT4, so I recommend this file system for formatting disk volumes.