The TS-659 Pro II supports PC-less installation. As soon as it is powered on, the LCD display indicates the status of the unit. On an average, the unit took around 3 minutes to complete booting up. Various characteristics such as the Volume Configuration (RAID type) and Networking Configuration could be set up using menus on the LCD display. Depending on the network environment, it might not even be necessary to install and use the QNAP Finder software. We will cover our testbed setup in a later section. In this section, we will look at the various features available in the administration web interface.

The TS-659 Pro II has a web server service which is disabled by default. Hence, visiting the IP of the NAS through any web browser automatically leads to the administration web interface. Otherwise, it can be explicitly entered into by visiting the URL with the 8080 port number tagged on. The gallery below presents screenshots from the initial pages.

The default login and password combination is 'admin'/'admin'. The flow interface also links to other services, customer support and online help wikis. The initial screen shows a list of available wizards which aid the administrator in getting up and running with creation of users, user groups, shared folders etc.

Next, we look at the various options available under System Administration. Under General Settings, one can explicitly set the server name and administration port (default is 8080). Under Network Configuration, one can configure the settings for the GbE ports. The two NICs can be configured in a number of ways to provide adaptive load balancing, fault tolerance or just dynamically aggregating the bandwidth.

One of the more important options under the Hardware subsection is the ability to enable write caching for EXT4 formatted volumes. This needs to be disabled if the NAS is used in virtualized environments. There is also the option to turn off the buzzers for various types of events. In addition, the user has control over the fan speeds. Power management options, system logs and firmware update support (direct from the Internet or from the local disk) wrap up the System Administration section.

The Disk Management section provides options to manage the volumes and inspect the current configuration of the physical disks and logical volumes. RAID management allows operations such as capacity expansion and bitmapping on the already existing logical volumes.

The HDD S.M.A.R.T subsection helps the user in checking up on the S.M.A.R.T status of the disks and also allows for periodic scheduling of S.M.A.R.T tests (a feature not supported by Synology). The iSCSI subsection allows for enabling the iSCSI service and includes a Quick Configuration Wizard to get a iSCSI target and LUN set up. The firmware also includes an iSCSI initiator to configure virtual disks (i.e., iSCSI targets resident in another network appliance).

The Access Rights Management section provides options for Active Directory support, configuration of users and user groups, shared folders and managing user disk quotas.

The Network Services section provides options to configure Samba, Apple Filing Protocol and NFS. FTP, Telnet / SSH and SNMP settings can also be modified. The web server service can also be enabled and configured in this section. uPnP and Bonjour services can also be enabled.

The TS-659 Pro II provides a rich set of application servers as evident in the gallery below.

The Web File Manager provides an AJAX interface to the file system on the NAS. The uPnP media server also enables the unit to act as a DLNA server. Multimedia Station organizes the photos and videos in the NAS in a single easy to use page. A caveat for the users is that the Multimedia Station doesn't use the same login credentials as the one used for the administration. The surveillance station supports upto four IP cameras. The streams can be viewed in real time or recorded for archival purposes.

The firmware web interface also supports a host of other options like configuring backups on the Amazon S3 service and ElephantDrive. The One-Touch Copy button in the can be configured to either copy from the USB drive to the NAS (default behaviour) or copy over a specific directory in the NAS over to the USB drive. The button can also be disabled if necessary.

The TS-659 Pro II can also be configured as a network UPS slave. QNAP also provides the MyCloudNAS service (dynamic DNS) which helps users to access the unit over the Internet. Users can also configure the various services which are visible over the MyCloudNAS service. Of course, the appropriate router ports need to be opened up, and the firmware provides options for auto configuration. The last section allows the users to check up on the information about the system, the currently turned on services and monitor the resource usage.

 

Unboxing Impressions System Teardown and Analysis
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  • jmelgaard - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    I Use the PS3 Media Server instead of the built-in one to stream to a PS3.

    I must admit I have not tried streaming directly to my Sony DLNA enabled TV as I have gotten to use to using the PS3.

    But it might be worth trying to see if it narrows the cases where the format is unsupported.
    Reply
  • saiga6360 - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    You will probably run into the same issue, which is really a Sony issue not supporting media formats. In which case, you will be stuck with a PC in between your storage and media player. As NAS hardware continue to upgrade to more powerful CPUs then maybe a better integrated DLNA media server can become possible. Reply
  • jmelgaard - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    The point is that the PS3 has the same issue, many formats are unsupported by the PS3.

    The PS3 media server is therefore aimed to transcode unsupported medias to a format that the PS3 supports, so this should narrow the cases unless it chooses to transcode into a format that a TV does not support.

    There is a bunch of settings for the various encoders, but to what degree you can control what is transcoded by default and what the output is I don't know.
    Reply
  • jmelgaard - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    Oh and the whole point of choosing the PS3 media server over any others was just that it already has a Pre-build QPKG for QNAP users making the installation a blizz...

    For other NAS types it's a different story.
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    I'm somewhat surprised by the (relatively) poor NFS performance. Were the hard disks left in ext4 configuration or formatted to NTFS before the tests? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    NFS performance could be improved by playing around with the mount options. We just tabulated the values at the default settings. The disks were in EXT4 only. Reply
  • Sivar - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    A know of several businesses looking for something just like this. Your article was not only well-written and informative, you also have a clue about image formats so didn't use JPEG, which is horribly inefficient for screen shots like the ones in the article. Reply
  • SeeManRun - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Hi Ganesh,

    I read the article as I am very interested in getting a NAS or building my own. One thing that appears to be a limit for all of these machines is the speed at which you can transfer data from them. It seems to me with dual gigabit ethernet ports bonded, you should be able to see above 110 megabytes per second. I have read on smallnetbuilder that almost no NAS can get above this limit. Do you happen to know why, or care to explore this?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • tbutler - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Question that wasn't answered in the review: are the eSATA ports on this box compatible with port multipliers? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    I just checked it out myself and am able to confirm that the eSATA ports are compatible with port multipliers.
    Reply

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