QNAP TVS-h1288X 12-bay NAS Review

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QNAP QuTS Hero Software

The QNAP TVS-h1288X we are testing utilizes the QuTS hero software stack. This solution combines the ease-of-use and many of the higher-level management features of QNAP’s traditional offering but adds ZFS as the back-end storage. For those who want that emphasis on ease of use, but also want ZFS underneath, QuTS hero is the company’s answer. We are going to have a number of screenshots showing off a bit of the features and functionality. There is frankly too much to go over in this review.

QNAP QuTS Hero Setup
QNAP QuTS Hero Setup

QNAP also has a nice feature where it can show the health status and location of a disk. If a disk fails, the TVS-h1288X can pinpoint which node and where it is in the chassis. These chassis management features are a great touch. Often if one uses open-source software to build their own ZFS NAS, this is the type of feature that often takes extra effort to set up. As a result, some other ZFS NAS solutions are not as clear on which drive failed which does not seem like an issue during setup but can be a big issue during future service. This is a great feature.

QNAP QuTS Hero TVS H1288X Disk Error
QNAP QuTS Hero TVS H1288X Disk Error

As we mentioned earlier, this information is tied into the various screens and locations are shown in the web interface.

QNAP QuTS Hero TVS H1288X Disk Error 2
QNAP QuTS Hero TVS H1288X Disk Error 2

We also showed earlier that we have a LCD screen for error messages and the same green/ red status in the software dashboard is mirrored on the front of the system. It may seem like a small step, but this is perhaps the easiest system to see which drive has failed that we have ever used.

QNAP TVS H1288X Status Screen 2
QNAP TVS H1288X Status Screen 2

Along with the storage, QNAP can also get system inventory information based on the NAS unit which we would expect. Perhaps the other nice bit of customization we saw is that the network ports are shown with status and location based on where they are in the overall chassis. QNAP went beyond disks with this functionality.

Creating a storage pool is relatively easy in QuTS hero. One can simply select disks and have the Create Storage Pool Wizard and have QNAP’s software configure everything for you. QNAP offers a lot of different options, but one does not need to delve into them. As a quick aside, just as an example of how abstracted the actual functionality of ZFS is to the experience, we did not see ZFS mentioned on this creation wizard.

QNAP QuTS Hero Create Storage Pool Wizard
QNAP QuTS Hero Create Storage Pool Wizard

The only area we saw ZFS mentioned was adding a SSD cache there is a “ZIL” reference which is the ZFS intent log. At STH, we have a guide on What is the ZFS ZIL SLOG and what makes a good one. That was the biggest hint that we were using ZFS aside from the fact that we skipped the volume creation workflow.

QNAP even has an easy UI to adjust how the SSD cache is used and allows one to pick data sets that it should be used on. One can also over-provision arrays and create reserved space for ZFS snapshots. Something one can see in these screenshots is that QuTS hero automatically is creating these different share locations without our intervention. Again, this is a higher level of automation to make the user experience easier.

QNAP QuTS Hero Create Storage Pool Wizard 2
QNAP QuTS Hero Create Storage Pool Wizard 2

One of the really interesting parts of the solution is that by default, QNAP enables compression. One can optionally enable deduplication on data sets as well. This is ZFS functionality that is added with little fanfare, just a simple switch.

QNAP has an extensive set of software solutions. This includes a large selection of apps in the App Center. For admins who just need a simple click-to-install experience, this is a great option.

QNAP QuTS Hero App Center
QNAP QuTS Hero App Center

While one can host applications, VMs, and containers locally, the solution can also be used to connect to other virtualization hosts. QNAP has step-by-step guides for doing this work as well.

QNAP QuTS Hero Virtualization Guides
QNAP QuTS Hero Virtualization Guides

Overall, the key here is that QNAP is focused on building an extremely easy-to-manage solution even if one has little experience with storage management. All of this functionality does mean that there are additional security surfaces to secure which goes along with having that extra functionality. Still, this is a significantly easier experience for a novice admin or one that does not administer a QNAP NAS daily to work with since there are wizards, suggestions, and well-explained tool tips throughout the web GUI.

Next, we are going to discuss performance, power consumption, and noise before moving to our final words.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.0
Performance
9.2
Feature Set
9.6
Value
9.0
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I have the 9 bay TS-h973AX AMD Ryzen NAS, running QuTS Hero. My first QNAP NAS after a couple of Synology. I specifically bought it for the mix of ZFS NAS dedup and compression with the nice addition of the app ecosystem. Mine stores multiple, very similar linux VDI VMs on an iSCSI connected datastore and is achieving impressive data storage reductions, and I am really happy with the storage performance across the inbuilt 10 and 2.5GBe network ports. I am using 5 Ironwolf HDDs and 2 intel enterprise NVME drive for caching and ZIL log.

    I used to work in the enterprise server/storage areas, and this really seems to perform as well as some of the old HP/EMC storage systems I worked with. As well as being my PLEX media server…

    I really think this is a significant step-change for SMB/homelab setups, after a good few years of ‘meh’ NAS device updates. I had my last Synology for 5 years, never saw a reason to update it until I saw the QNAP/ZFS solution…

  2. Not so much about this product but the state of the market:

    * While I’m glad to see 2.5 Gbps appearing, NBase-T would be preferable. Do you know why it’s shipping on so few products, I assume cost?

    * Is there any indication of a next-rev Xeon-D?

  3. 100W “Idle” seems a bit excessive, does this have a BMC? Is it possible to simply install Linux on it since it’s all standard components?

  4. Great review, but it lacks recent news regarding Qnap devices around the world facing ransomeware:

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/massive-qlocker-ransomware-attack-uses-7zip-to-encrypt-qnap-devices/

    Appears to be a pattern of failed security, including hard-coded passwords in backdoors:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/qnap/comments/mwo72h/with_all_the_ransomware_attacks_i_highly/

    I was close to buying this new unit with 16-drives. Perhaps after some significant improvement!

  5. Thanks for the great Large QNAP NAS review. STH is comprehensive and just plain forthright and honest every time.
    For my SOHO my 1st NAS I is a Synology DS-218+. A little great 2-bay. I upgraded May 2020 to a QNAP TS-253D (another 2 bay). That little TS-X53D family NAS has a few pre-view features its much large big brother. It has multiple 2.5GB ports (easy to port aggregate), many USB ports (compatible with all of the 2.5 & 5Gb Adapters reviewed by STH), and a full PCIe slot (to use any of the many QNAP PCIe 10Gb NIC & NIC/Memory cards).
    The QNAP QTS OS does take a long while to boot and shutdown. To me along with the size of the hard drives the up & down times also appears to be related to the number of Apps installed, Snapshots & Virtual machines configured, etc. The variable speed fan is pretty quiet but the constant HD noise along with the Synology NAS HD’s clearly is annoying in a quiet office space.
    Synology & QNAP have regular OS software updates and frequent App updates.

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