Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and datacenter operators are minimizing the footprints of their computing equipment using virtualization. Heavily virtualized environments require a good network backend (efficient IP-SANs and / or fast NAS units along with 10G-enabled switches). However, NAS units and switches with 10G functionality are currently not very cost-effective.

QNAP already has powerful and affordable rackmounts capable of accepting 10G add-on cards such as the TS-EC1279U-RP. The need for their customers was affordable 10G networking equipment. While vendors such as Netgear (and, to some extent, Supermicro) bundle both switches and NAS / storage server units as a package for customers, QNAP doesn't have expertise on the networking side in-house. On the other hand, ZyXEL's NAS ambitions have been restricted to home consumer versions. Therefore, teaming up makes a lot of sense for both QNAP and ZyXEL.

We are very impressed by the price points that QNAP and ZyXEL have achieved with their bundles. There are two packages: The Performance Pack bundles a ZyXEL XGS1910-24 (a 24-port switch with 2x 10Gb SFP ports) and a QNAP TS-870U-RP (a 8-bay rackmount with a 2.4 GHz dual core x86 CPU) for less than $3000. The Premium Pack bundles a ZyXEL XGS1910-48 (a 48-port switch with 4x 10Gb SFP ports) and a QNAP TS-1270U-RP (a 12-bay rackmount with a 2.4 GHz dual core x86 CPU) for less than $4000. These price points are way less than what one would pay separately for the units.

While pricing is definitely important, bundling, long term support and reliability are other factors that SMB customers keep in mind while ordering IT equipment. With this partnership, both QNAP and ZyXEL are moving towards addressing these concerns. Long term support and reliability can only be assessed as the partnership gains more customers.

Source: QNAP Newsletter

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  • merikafyeah - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Not my definition of "affordable". Still, how hard is it to make affordable 10Gbit switches and adapters? All I see everywhere is just 1 gigabit switches. 125MB/s is just not gonna cut it anymore, especially when SSDs max out at more than 4x that rate, and PCI-E drives even more than that.

    The only affordable 10+Gbit solutions I know of are these Infiniband PCI-E adapters from IBM and Cisco you can get from eBay for $40-50, like the IBM 2945 Mellanox dual 10G PCI-E cards, or the Cisco 20Gb DDR HCA cards. The cards from Cisco purportedly have Windows drivers, so that's a plus, but they're single port cards so you'll need an Infiniband switch if you plan to connect more than two computers, which will cost about $150. Of course you'll also need to buy some Infiniband cables which cost about $15 for a 6ft cable.

    You can also go for the slightly more affordable USB 3.0 bridge approach with something like this:
    Daisy-chaining these seems possible so a USB 3.0 network is within reach, but 5Gbps is still a bottleneck for today's storage. Fortunately USB 3.1 was just finalized so consumer 10Gb interconnects may become more prevalent in a few years if we're so lucky. Thunderbolt is a terrible, terrible alternative and Intel should be ashamed for pushing costly, failure-prone active cables. Passive cables will always be more reliable and cost effective, in other words, better, than any active cable. I sincerely hope Thunderbolt is relegated to permanent niche-dom a la FireWire, where it belongs.

    The future is HDBaseT:
  • StealthX32 - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Really? HDBaseT in a datacenter?
  • merikafyeah - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    No, HDBaseT is for everything except the datacenter, though in the future who knows? Bandwidth is scalable to 20Gbps, which is inline with most of today's datacenter interconnects but I digress.

    HDBaseT is meant to replace HDMI / DisplayPort / DVI / VGA / Thunderbolt / etc.
    It can also replace the power cord for all devices that draw 100W or less and carries ethernet packet data up to 100Mbps. It uses standard Cat5e / 6 / 7 cables up to 100m (over 300 ft) and even longer with repeaters.

    There is literally no downside to HDBaseT other than the slow adoption rate into the consumer market, but with companies like Belkin, Epson, Onkyo, and Pioneer announcing intention to join the HDBaseT Alliance along with Samsung, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LG, and Valens Semiconductor, it's only a matter of time before adoption picks up. All we really need now is for the video card companies to join so that monitor manufacturers can follow and seal the deal.
  • merikafyeah - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    This just in; It appears the future of datacenters will be Intel's MXC:

    1.6 terabits per second over a SINGLE cable. Amazing stuff.
  • surt - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Yep, no downside to that big square connector, literally no one cares about form factor these days.
  • Freakie - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    I find it super annoying that 10G ethernet ports haven't become standard. There have been 10G ethernet ports for many years now but outside of only a few server boards from Intel, I don't think they've ever hit the market. I'm perfectly ready to switch to 10G myself, just bought a 100ft CAT7 cable last week in fact. I would absolutely love to see Broadwell systems to start shipping with 10G ethernet... but that's a pipe dream I'm sure. I hate using USB for high speed, and Thunderbolt is ridiculously expensive and not ideal for networking. Would be able to get a half decent NAS going for super cheap if 10G were actually implemented widespread.

    Does anyone know why 10G isn't being utilized in the consumer world? It would be used if it was pushed out, it's ridiculous that we have had to wait this long for expensive Thunderbolt and latency filled USB solutions to reach good speeds. Is it interests groups from the USB and Thunderbolt organizations that have held it back or something?
  • beginner99 - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    It isnt being used becasue most people do not need it. Even I can live without it and I have 3 2 TB green HDDs. Backup to USB 3 drives, rest of data is mostly for streaming were even wireless is good enough. Occasionally I copy some stuff onto my laptop and laptop hdd's aren't exactly fast. transfer is about 85 mb/s over 1G ethernet. And the green storage drive themselves can hardly push more than 90-100 mb/s.
  • Kevin G - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    There is a 10G option for the C600 chipset. The catch is that few motherboard makers have taken advantage of it.
  • ganeshts - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    As a home user, definitely very attractive to go the route you describe..

    Enterprise / SMB customers want something available and ready to use off-the-shelf, need someone to go to for support in case anything breaks down etc. That is where companies like Synology, QNAP etc. are making the big bucks :) A Cisco 10G-enabled switch, by itself, costs $3000 (After rebates etc.), while ZyXEL and QNAP are bundling a similar switch and a 12-bay rackmount NAS (ready to use) for less than $1000 more. I guess that is where 'affordability' comes into play :)
  • DanNeely - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Please no, RJ45 is a horrible connector and needs to die.

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