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Features - more

Here's the feature rundown:

  • Individual drive, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 modes (no JBOD)
  • Two RAID arrays can be created
  • RAID expansion and migration
  • Multiple expandable volumes can be created via LVM
  • Optional AES-128 drive encryption
  • Network file sharing via SMB/CIFS, AFP and NFS
  • NT Domain and AD support
  • Users and Group creation w/ Quotas for both
  • FTP / FTP-S server
  • HTTP / HTTPs file and admin access (not auto-forwarded)
  • Email alerts
  • Logging: Syslog and viewable / downloadable system, SMB and FTP logs
  • Backup: Schedulable and immediate to other Buffalo NASes only (no non-Buffalo rsync support) and attached USB drive. 10 licenses of NovaBACKUP Business Essentials Backup Included:
  • FAT, NTFS, EXT3, XFS write/read USB drive support
  • Apple Time Machine backup support
  • Secure Web-based remote access (hosted at buffalonas.com)
  • USB printer serving
  • UPnP AV / DLNA media server (Twonky Media)
  • iTunes server
  • Web server w/ MySQL
  • BitTorrent downloader
  • UPS shutdown sync (via USB or serial)
  • DFS support
  • File / folder name search

Those with their pants on fire for IPv6 support will find that there is none and iSCSI and virtualization support is still lacking. But Buffalo has added many features missing from the ES.

You can create only two RAID arrays, but they can be partitioned into expandable logical volumes via the Logical Volume Manager (LVM). But when you enable this feature, you're warned that it will bring a performance hit. Given the Pro Quad's relatively low performance among D510-based NASes as we'll see shortly, that's not a good thing.

There is also now a RAID Mode Manager (RMM) to support RAID level migration and expansion. You can even start out with all the drives as separate volumes and create a RAID 1 array (assuming you have a drive with nothing on it). JBOD, however, is still not supported.

While taking the screenshots for the gallery below, I was shocked to find a link to enable a Squeezebox Server! Once I defined a folder and aimed the server at it, lo and behold, a full-fledged Squeezebox server appeared.

The screenshot shown in the gallery shows that it's version 7.5.1, which is much newer than the version 7.4.0 I have running on my aged QNAP TS-101 Pro. And it's certainly better than the 7.3.2 version that is used in the D-Link DNS-325 add-in, that doesn't support playing non copy-protected .m4a (iTunes) files.

There are more screenshots of some of the new features in the gallery.

Image Gallery

Performance

I tested the Pro Quad with its factory-installed 1.01 firmware using our NAS test process to run tests with RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes using all four drives.

The Benchmark summary below shows Windows File copy write with a RAID 0 array measured 54 MB/s, dropping to 34 MB/s for RAID 5 and bumping up a bit to 45 MB/s for RAID 10. File copy read for RAID 0 was higher at 80 MB/s, about the same for RAID 5 at 81 MB/s and dropping slightly for RAID 10 to 77 MB/s.

Pro Duo WVL Benchmark Summary

Pro Duo WVL Benchmark Summary

NASPT File Copy write benchmarks were lower across the board for RAID 0, 5 and 10 at 30 MB/s, 20 MB/s and 25 MB/s respectively, as were reads at 63 MB/s, 67 MB/s and 65 MB/s for RAID 0, 5 and 10, respectively.

The tougher NASPT Directory Copy tests for RAID 0 barely made it to 10 MB/s, while RAID 5 and 10 stayed in the mid single digits.

I ran backup tests using the USB 2 and USB 3 ports with a Buffalo DriveStation Axis USB 3.0 drive. I'll be using this instead of the dual-drive Iomega UltraMax Pro for future USB backup testing.

I was able to use the built-in formatter to run tests using FAT32, EXT3 and NTFS formats. USB 2 performance was in the mid 20 MB/s range for FAT and EXT3, with NTFS maxing out the bus capacity at 28 MB/s. So, like QNAP, Buffalo must be not using an open source NTFS driver.

For USB 3, I again got the highest backup speed of 46 MB/s using NTFS and lowest with EXT3 at 37 MB/s.

There are no iSCSI or network backup results because iSCSI isn't supported and I didn't have another Buffalo NAS to use as a network backup partner.

The RAID 5 File Copy Write and Read charts below are filtered to show only four-bay NASes. The products you see toward the top of the chart include both D525 and D510-based NASes. The highest-ranking D510 NASes are the Synology DS411+ and Cisco NSS324 and damned if I know how they get them to be that fast! The QNAP TS-459 Pro + uses the D525.

I don't know what Buffalo is (or isn't) doing. But the Pro Quad is almost in a class of its own with its older siblings and a few not-so-popular products like the Plextor PX-NAS4 and Promise NS4600.

RAID 5 File Copy Write Comparison

RAID 5 File Copy Write Comparison

Rankings move around a bit for RAID 5 read and the Buffalo moves out of the cellar. But it still tends to rank lower than other recent-generation NASes.

RAID 5 File Copy Write Comparison

RAID 5 File Copy Read Comparison

Closing Thoughts

Unlike some other Buffalo NASes, the Pro Quad doesn't make up in value what it lacks in performance. The 4 TB TS-QVH4.0TL/R6 model reviewed is just over $1000 when shipping is included. The best alternative would be Synology's DS411+, which at $924 ($680 + 4 X $61 for the same Samsung HD103SI Eco Green F2 1 TB drives) leaves you with more money and much higher performance.

It's certainly good to see Buffalo improve the feature set on its business-class NASes. But they need to improve performance, documentation and value to stay with their competition.

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