Setup – Initialization and Storage Options
There are multiple ways to initialize a QNAP NAS and the included Quick Start guide will help you find the right one for your setup. I prefer to use QNAP’s Qfinder tool that easily finds all QNAP devices on my network and also gives me instant access to various of their settings.
Agreeing to the popup asking to initialize your new NAS or double-clicking it in the list will open the web interface in your default browser.
From here on it’s just a few steps to have your new NAS setup.
The NAS doesn’t need a lot of information to get started, but it does need a few such as a NAS name and a new admin password.
You can choose to set the date and time manually on the device, or you can use the automatic synchronization with NTP servers.
Whether you want to use DHCP to assign a network address and mapping automatically or set them manually comes down to your setup and what you need to do with the NAS. Both are equally valid, but if in doubt, pick DHCP.
Most NAS that I have tested only had Windows sharing enabled by default in the past, so it is really nice to see that we can select which protocols we want to use during the initialization. Most people will only need SAMBA/CIFS for Windows, but there are still a lot of Linux and Mac users out there who need AFP or NFS.
You can also choose to install the most basic and function rich apps right away on the same page and add a lot of extra features to the NAS right away.
We can also pick what disk configuration we would like. The HS-251+ only has two bays, which limits it a little bit. We still had Single, JBOD, RAID 0, and RAID 1 modes available.
The final page of the configuration will show you a summary of your choices and allow you to edit them once more should you want to make some changes. It’s also nice to see the password hidden on this page.
Now you can lean back or go make yourself some coffee as the NAS is applying the settings and configurations you just supplied it with.
You’ll be congratulated to the completion once the setup is done and you can go right from here and directly to the normal user interface.
When we arrive at the QTS dashboard, we’ll be presented with a Quick Start to introduce us to our new NAS and some of its functions. If it has an internet connection available, it will also check for updates to the firmware and operating system right away. In this case the new QTS 4.2 was available and naturally I’ll want to install that.
The update speed is naturally depending on your internet connection and speed, but it didn’t take long for me.
The NAS has to reboot once more when it is done, but you’ll be prompted whether you want to do that now or wait. With a major update like QTS 4.2 is, I would reboot right away and get the new and improved system instead.
After this quick reboot, the QNAP HS-251+ is ready with the brand new QTS 4.2 and all its features. We get a new quick start screen because I didn’t tell it last time to not display it again.
We also get a prompt whether we want to participate in the QTS Beta program or not. Most normal users will probably not participate while it’s a great option for enthusiasts and developers at the same time.
There can be multiple reasons to switch the storage setup and luckily QNAP has made the whole thing very easy. You can find the Storage Manager either through the menu from the top left corner or through the normal control panel. Once open, it gives you a quick view on your current storage settings as well the health information and warnings.
You can find more detailed information about the individual drives that are installed in the QNAP HS-251+ as well as run SMART scans too.
There is the option to create and manage all of your storage pools and they’re all listed under each other for quick reference.
The management page will allow you to see the details, which shares are on the volume as well as expand and delete it.
QNAP’s QTS system also offers the ability to use Cache acceleration, but that’s probably not a function that will be used a lot on a livingroom-designed NAS with just two bays. It’s still good to see that it’s there and hasn’t been stripped away.
iSCSI is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to connect your storage. It allows great flexibility and it’s easier to use than most people think.
Externally connected drives can also be viewed through the Storage manager that can provide some basic information and functions for each.
Creating new storage pools and volumes just takes a few clicks and whether you just want to create a pool or do it all at once comes down to how you’re going to use your storage. Novice users should just hit the ‘New Volume’ button.
You have options between a static single volume as well as thick and thin multiple volumes.
Select the disks to use and which mode and it’s almost done.
The final step on creating a new volume defines the size, alert threshold as well as the volume name.
You can adjust some of the filesystem options, enable full volume encryption, and instantly create a new shared folder at the same time as the volume is created.
The built-in notification system will keep you up-to-date on the process while it is being created. You can easily move on and do other things while you wait for it to finish.