Feb 252011
 

As if the arrival of the final components for Rage wasn’t enough tech debauchery, the present trucks also delivered a shiny new QNAP TS-419P+ and 4 Samsung Spinpoint F2 1.5TB drives. Devon helped me unpack everything and carefully mount the drives in their trays. He even helped me plug it in and start the initial setup process.

The QNAP packaging and physical documentation is simple, nay, spartan. Which I like. The device itself is smaller than I expected (always nice) but I was disappointed to find a separate power brick instead of a built-in power supply – this educed my excitement about the compact size of the unit a somewhat. The recommended “Linux Setup” was to connect a PC directly to the NAS and configure your networks to talk to eachother – this didn’t appeal to me, so I just looked up the QNAP IP on my dd-wrt router and followed the directions for Windows and Mac – just without installing a qnap finder application.

The QNAP web interface is highly polished. Initial setup included setting the hostname (I selected Toph in keeping with my heroine theme for my personal machines), installing the latest firmware, setting an initial password, which network services to enable, and an initial RAID configuration. Perhaps this is obvious to everyone else, but be sure to unzip the firmware you download from the QNAP website, otherwise you’ll just get an unhelpful error complaining the image is bad. I found the initial RAID selection to be odd as it is very limited. I chose RAID 5 as that is probably what I want to do, but the device offers a lot more options than a single RAID array using all the disks. Given the amount of time it takes to resync a 4.5 TB RAID 5 array – it seems like this step could be skipped and the user sent directly to the full-featured volume management admin screen at first login. Instead, after completing the initial setup, you are presented with this iTunes-wanna-be AJAX interface:

From qnap

Here you can see the volume management screen – and an ascending time remaining field in the Status column. I really don’t know how I’ll partition things up, or if I even need to. The QNAP offers a _ton_ of flexibility in how you access your data. I’ll need to spend a good deal of time considering them before I make a final decision. I’ll reserve judgement on these features until then.

From qnap

Out of the box, several network services are available for immediate configuration:

From qnap

And finally, QNAP offers add-on packages in the form of QPKG, which oddly enough includes an IPKG application for even greater selection of packages. There are several media streaming servers available, including one that is pre-installed. The installation process appears a bit cumbersome, requiring the user to download the package to a PC and then upload it to the NAS for installation. I am looking forward to installing Python, possibly Twonky, and maybe MySQL and WordPress (I’m considering moving this blog away from Drupal and to something else).

From qnap

So for now, my QNAP is resyncing its RAID 5 array. I hope to have the time to explore its many features soon, and I’ll share my experience as I do. My initial impressions are good, and I’m optimistic that this will turn out to have been a good choice for our needs.

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