Articles: Networking

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Getting Started

This series of NASes having an integrated large-capacity flash drive to store firmware, you don’t need special software tools to start the TS-469 Pro up. You just put one or several hard disks into it, preferably clean ones, and connect it to your network. After booting up, the NAS will prompt you to initialize its firmware by using the display and buttons or the integrated web-server. In the latter case you can look up the NAS’s network address on the display or in the Qfinder utility. The initial setting-up is limited to configuring the network name and clock, creating a disk partition, selecting network services, and changing the default admin password. The whole procedure took less than 5 minutes with our HDD.

If the NAS is connected to the internet, it will automatically check for firmware updates when you enter its web-interface. We used the latest firmware version for our tests: 3.7.3 Build 20120801.

If you’ve got extra applications installed, links to them may appear on the start page of the web-interface. Available in several languages, the interface works in most browsers, supports HTTPS, allows changing the port numbers, and contains integrated help and search systems. Corporate users may utilize their official SSL certificates.

QNAP hasn’t changed the interface design for a long time. It is structured traditionally with a menu tree on the left. There are over 60 pages with settings in it. The Overview page offers all the links to setup pages with additional icons. The header contains extra services and a dropdown language selection menu.

The first page you see after entering the interface provides links to frequently used features and to the manufacturer’s forum, tech support, Wiki and RSS newsfeed.

Basic Functionality

High-performance NASes often have two LAN controllers and the TS-469 Pro is no exception. Its LAN adapters can work as two individual controllers to connect to two different networks or can be teamed up to increase bandwidth and reliability, also in the 802.3ad mode. The LAN adapters support Jumbo Frames, WOL, VLAN (802.1Q), and IPv6. The TS-469 Pro has a DDNS client and an integrated DHCP server. It can also connect to a wireless network after you attach a compatible USB Wi-Fi adapter to it.

Protocols and services can be bound to the NAS’s network interfaces, which may be appropriate for corporate environments.

Access control lists based on individual IP addresses of ranges thereof can be enabled to ensure higher security. User access can be automatically blocked if a password guessing attempt is identified.

The support for UPnP and Bonjour protocols will help home users discover the NAS’s services on the network whereas corporate users can use SNMP to integrate the NAS into their control and monitoring systems.

RAID capabilities being a most important feature of every NAS, the TS-469 Pro supports JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 6. The number of arrays is only limited by the number of installed HDDs. A replacement disk and the Bitmap option can be enabled for fault-tolerant configurations.

The TS-469 Pro allows changing its RAID configuration without losing data. The supported migration scenarios let you change the type of your RAID and expand its capacity by replacing its disks one by one or by adding new disks. These features are going to come in handy for corporate users (as they increase the service life and reduce the downtime) as well as for home (if you cannot make a large backup copy on another storage device).

When creating a RAID, you can choose its file system (EXT3 or EXT4) and enable AES128 encryption. The HDDs can be scanned for bad blocks and the file system can be checked for errors.

As for the health of the HDDs themselves, the NAS can monitor their temperature and status via S.M.A.R.T. Regular tests can be enabled.

The iSCSI support may be useful for virtual environments. With the current firmware iSCSI volumes are created on existing disk arrays. The TS-469 Pro supports iSNS, Thin-Provisioning, CHAP, Mutual CHAP, Data Digest, Header Digest and LUN access control. An option of saving a backup copy of the LUN and restoring it from a local or network resource has been added recently. The TS-469 Pro can also serve as an iSCSI initiator and connect remote volumes to expand the total amount of storage.

The NAS supports a lot of data access protocols: SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP, HTTP, and WebDAV. When on a Windows network, it can work as a WINS server, Master Browser, or be integrated into a domain. The FTP server supports passive mode, anonymous access, encryption (Explicit SSL/TLS), Unicode, different port numbers, limits on the number of connections and speed. Recent updates have improved the NAS's compatibility with Mac OS 10.7 and higher. There are no special settings for NFS, but we can note that the NAS supports the third version of that protocol.

Access control is ensured by means of user names and passwords. Besides a local user database, Windows domain or LDAP server data can be used. In the first case, if there are a lot of user accounts, you can try importing and exporting them or creating a large number of accounts automatically. Users can be united into groups for easier management. The NAS supports disk quotas for users. The administrator can set up password complexity rules which are going to be helpful on large networks since users can change their passwords themselves.

Data access is implemented in the conventional way with shared folders on disk volumes. When you create the first volume, a few standard folders are also created on it automatically. The list of shared folders provides information about the number of folders and files and their total size. Users and user groups can be assigned access rights as No access, Read only, Read & write. The administrator can additionally permit to assign access rights for child objects to enable more flexible access control management. Besides that, an IP address filter can be applied to shared folders. Dedicated databases with user rights are used for NFS and WebDAV.

The NAS can enable a recycle bin for files deleted over the network. You can specify the storage period and set up a type-based exclusion filter.

Besides ordinary shared resources, QNAP NASes offer two more options to implement network access. You can create a shared folder out of an ISO image and aggregate resources from other network servers under a single name.

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