I've seen a number of QNAP NAS arrays over the years, and the TS-EC1279U-RP is the best of the bunch so far. Previous iterations were solid performers for the price, but they lacked features that would bring them to the next level. This has been sorted out with the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP.
My main issues with midrange NAS devices have been a shortage of backplane capacity and the absence of redundant power supplies. QNAP has addressed these shortcomings quite nicely with this rack-mount unit, which not only sports redundant power supplies in a sleek 2U chassis, but also brings together a strong disk I/O subsystem and 10GbE network interfaces to move the TS-EC1279U-RP into the realm of big, fast, reliable storage for small to medium-size businesses.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Synology RackStation: Virtualization storage on the cheap | NAS shoot-out: 5 storage servers battle for business | Subscribe to InfoWorld's storage newsletter and stay on top of the latest info. ]
It wasn't so long ago that the delta between low-end and high-end storage arrays was large in almost every respect: price, capacity, performance, and reliability. Many companies were forced to purchase storage that far exceeded their performance needs in order to get the densities they desired or the redundancy that would let them sleep at night. It wasn't uncommon to find that storage was the most expensive line item in a data center expansion or renovation simply because IT refused to deploy devices that lacked suitable redundancy features. That time has passed.
Capacity and redundancy at the right price
Priced around $6,700 with 12TB of raw capacity, the TS-EC1279U-RP offers storage densities that would have cost substantially more only a few years ago; even greater densities can be achieved with the high capacity of today's SATA drives. Buy the empty chassis for $4,699, add your own drives (up to 3TB each) to the 12-spindle chassis, and you could beef up this unit to hold 36TB of raw capacity -- a conservative 27TB when configured in RAID6 with a hot spare disk. The TS-EC1279U-RP can be equipped with either 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives, including SATA solid-state drives, and the system supports SATA 6Gbps throughput.
On the I/O side, QNAP offers the TS-EC1279U-RP with four built-in Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and optional dual 1GbE or 10GbE interfaces. Because the unit supports Ethernet link aggregation, you could combine these interfaces into larger pipes, or with the 10GbE option, provide network redundancy to two 10GbE switches without sacrificing network performance.
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