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Features

This is the first QNAP I have seen with QTS 4.1.0, which was just released. This new version of QNAP's NAS OS brings lots of tweaks to its media and other apps that were covered in the news article linked above. The more interesting improvements, even though the 470 Pro is not positioned as a small-business product, are in 4.1's business features.

The most visible change to me is in the Storage Manager, which now implements QNAP's Flexible Volume Management architecture as shown in the graphic below. (Apparently, the Storage Manager and new FVM archtecture were introduced at some point in QTS 4.0, but for some reason I didn't notice it.) FVM allows drives to be combined into RAID Groups that can in turn be aggregated into multiple Storage Pools. Each Storage Pool is then partitioned into Volumes, which is where Folders and iSCSI LUNs live.

QNAP Flexible Volume Management Architecture

QNAP Flexible Volume Management Architecture

This can be confusing to a home user who just wants to get his or her drives into a RAID array and get on with life. Fortunately, there is a wizard to guide you through the process and can automatically create the required Storage Pool and Volume.

The Storage Manager also has a Cache Acceleration option. This option lets you use populate drive bays 3 and 4 with SSDs, which can be assigned to Volumes to improve throughput. When you create an SSD cache you have the option of LRU (default) or FIFO algorithms. The screenshot below shows the Hit Rate History from a benchmark run with cache enabled. We'll get to the results in the Performance section.

QNAP Storage Manager - Cache Acceleration

QNAP Storage Manager - Cache Acceleration

The other business-flavored improvements that come with QTS 4.1 include support for SAMBA v4, which adds the Windows Domain controller functionality. SMB 2.0 is now also baked into the OS, which can boost throughput in Win 7 and 8. But QNAP is a generation behind here, since SMB 3.0 is now part of Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Server 2012.

Update 6/14/2014: This forum post points out that SMB 3.0 is supported under Network Services > Win/Mac/NFS>Advanced Options.

Dennis Wood of Cinevate found SMB3's multichannel support enabled very high throughput between 10GbE Win 8.1 clients and MS Server 2012. But SMB3 is not part of QTS 4.1 or any other NAS OS at this time.

With all these changes, it's time for an in-depth review of QTS 4.1, which will come soon. In the meantime, check the gallery below for a few feature highlights.

 

Performance - 1 Gbps LAN

Firmware tested was the just-released 4.1.0 Build 20140605. I ran our Revision 5 NAS test process on four-drive unencrypted RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes using WD Re 3 TB (WD3000FYYZ) drives with 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps LAN connections. The 10 Gbps connection was directly between the NAS Testbed and 470 Pro.

The Benchmark Summary below for the benchmarks with 1 Gbps connection shows pretty consistent 110 MB/s-ish throughput for both the Windows and NASPT file copy tests, which measure performance moving multi-Gigabyte files. Throughput for these benchmarks was very consistent regardless of RAID level tested.

QNAP TS-470 Pro Benchmark Summary - 1 Gbps LAN

QNAP TS-470 Pro Benchmark Summary - 1 Gbps LAN

iSCSI target write and read performance of 103 and 100 MB/s respectively is among the highest tested and only a few MB/s behind 8 bay products costing twice as much.

Your best option for attached backup looks like USB 3.0 with a FAT or NTFS formatted drive, either of which yielded an impressive 118 MB/s!

Performance - 10 Gbps LAN

The Benchmark Summary below for the benchmarks with 10 Gbps connection shows a fairly wide File Copy benchmark range with a high of 452 MB/s for RAID 0 NASPT File Copy write to a low of 230 MB/s for RAID 10 Windows File Copy write. RAID 5 results are somewhere in the middle. All that throughput disappears, however, when you start dealing with folders of lots of small files as the NASPT Directory Copy test does.

QNAP TS-470 Pro Benchmark Summary - 10 Gbps LAN

QNAP TS-470 Pro Benchmark Summary - 10 Gbps LAN

iSCSI target writes and reads get a throughput boost from 10GbE with 310 MB/s write and 294 MB/s read on a RAID 5 volume.

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