QNAP QGD-1600P Software Overview
The QNAP QDG-1600P runs QNAP’s popular QTS operating system, with a twist. It also has another stack called QSS which manages the switch functions.
Installing QTS is simple. One follows the on-screen installer and after entering some basic information such as a new password, one is in the easy-to-use QTS OS. Unlike solutions such as the open-source TrueNAS Core, QNAP QTS has a familiar desktop-like solution. This is very important as it makes the NAS approachable for novice users, such as many in the SMB market. This is something that QNAP has iterated on for many years, and one can see the refinement.
Since the QGD-1600P is based on QTS, we get the “NAS” portion of the SwitchNAServer. A big part of that is managing storage whether that is for backups, user/ permission management, storing VMs, containers, and even surveillance video.
Something that QNAP is one of the best in the industry at is providing plenty of wizards and contextual guidance to even novice users. QTS has a large set of wizards to make the user experience easy and that includes having reasonable and opinionated defaults and contextual guidance telling a user why they may want to change.
We are not going into too much detail on the software side in this piece because QTS is well-documented. One of the other main features that puts the “Server” side into SwitchNAServer, is the ability to both run pre-packaged applications as well as run your own VMs and containers.
All of this is nicely packaged in the QNAP AppCenter, ContainerStation, and Virtualization Station. As you can see above, we have a Docker container running a custom Ubuntu container that only took a few clicks to get running. We have basic monitoring, control functions, and even a terminal all working immediately without any additional effort.
We are going to note here that for the QGD-1600P, there is a bit of a different procedure. One needs to get QTS running, then create a storage volume. Once that is done, one can install QuNetSwitch from the AppCenter which is a portal directly into the switch subsystem from QTS.
Here, one can do basic switch management functions. One can also monitor per-port PoE power consumption.
This solution seems to be a mirror image of the QNAP QSS package that is the switch management interface.
QSS runs as a separate management system that QNAP has also integrated into QTS. Since it is a separate control plane, one can see the “Host Control Management” option on the side panel. You can, for example, reboot the QTS host while QSS and the switch are still functional.
QSS has features such as the ability to manage ports. One can set priority to PoE devices so if a power limit is exceeded, the device can prioritize the devices that receive power. There are some other nice features in QSS such as the ability to schedule PoE power windows. For example, you can schedule a PoE device to turn on at 5PM every weekday.
One of the interesting use cases is that QNAP, through its virtualization solution, can take on the responsibilities of another common edge deployment machine. It can run a router/ firewall OS in a VM. QNAP has a number of videos on this, but these options include pfSense, OpenWRT, and even MikroTik RouterOS.
The RouterOS is particularly interesting since MikroTik sells RouterOS-based PoE switches such as the similarly priced MikroTik CRS354-48P-4S+2Q+RM. While MikroTik offers the ability to run RouterOS and a bigger switch footprint, it does not have the same NAS and virtualization features that QNAP has in the SwitchNAServer. Again, the QDG-1600P is a device for those who want everything in a single box.
Along those lines, we also setup a Ubiquiti UniFi environment in a VM so one does not need a box such as a Ubiquiti Cloud Key Gen2 Plus, one can instead use this single box.
One feature we saw on the login page, and even after checking the weekend before this review went live, it was not available is a new QTS Hero option.
We could not try that on the QNAP QGD-1600P, but ZFS on QNAP is a feature many will want if and when it is released.
Overall, QNAP has a great software stack that sits behind the SwitchNAServer. While it is not perfect, it has a ton of functionality since it has both QNAP supported apps as well as the ability to run custom applications in containers and VMs.
Next, we are going to look at performance and power consumption before getting to our final words.