When we move into the SMB market after looking at a few SOHO sector products, there is a natural presumption that there will be a higher level of performance on offer and rightly so as you’re buying a system that can cope with a higher level of demand, provide a higher level of functionality and more noticeably costing more money. As we said right back at the start of the review, the TS869 Pro holds a very close resemblance to the TS419P II that we looked at earlier in the year and when you look at the range of systems that QNAP have on offer right through from the SOHO market up to the enterprise level offerings, there is a clear similarity in design in the free standing (non-rackmount) systems. By doing this, brand recognition is easier and also for those that are looking to upgrade through the range, the transition is easier – especially for the not-so-advanced users that are out there.
The big thing we have to shout about with the TS869 Pro is going to be its performance. When we looked at the N5550 from Thecus last month, we praised it for its ability to push the limits of what can be done through a single Gigabit LAN connection and likewise to that, we have to praise this system for doing exactly the same and at the same time pushing the bar up a little bit higher. With this in mind we are curious as to how far we REALLY can push the Gigabit boundaries and after a little bit of delving around it appears that we are oh so close to the stage where no matter what we throw at it, we won’t be able to raise the bar any higher. Without digressing from this particular NAS too far, for the vast majority of users that are going to incorporate one of these systems into their network infrastructure, the performance that we have seen in the past and particularly here is going to be a huge welcome especially when we take into account the vast amount of server features that the system has to offer. Naturally some individuals and larger business with more connected users (and ourselves in particular) are going to want a bit more from the system if they can, but this can lead to more expenditure on the network infrastructure to get it ready for the next level which, we ourselves will be doing at a later stage.
Getting back on track with the TS869 Pro, the system is very user friendly and easy to setup, even on the very first boot. This feature took me by surprise a little as I was expecting it to start displaying the system status on the front panel display, however to aid setup, after all the drives have been installed and the system powered up for the first time, you are now able to configure the first storage array build right from the front panel buttons. For those that are wanting to get the system up and running as quick as possible so that they can start getting data on as soon as possible then worry about the finer points later on.
In the different market sectors, the monetary cost of anything is always a factor when building up an infrastructure although we find cost a bigger player on the lower end of the market where budgets are not as great in the larger scale of things. As we know the TS869 Pro is aimed at the middle market, the SMB sector and priced in at around the £950 mark, we do have to acknowledge that it is a fair chuck of money to fork out, what ever level you’re working at, especially when drives are added on top. What we do have to consider though, is that in this kind of market, this is a relational cost and you won’t get the best gear for pennies, hence why fully fledged servers and even rackmount NAS can and do cost more.
So the bottom line with the TS869 Pro from QNAP. Its paved its way to the top of the list that I’ve got running here at HQ with its pure speed capabilities. The new feature of the first time quick RAID setup from the front panel is a great thing to see and supposedly the performance is set to get better with the firmware upgrade the is available, but that bit is for another article. If you’re in the SMB sector and need a NAS that can deliver no matter what and a rackmount solution is either not on the option list for one reason or another then this offering that we have here is one to add to the short list.