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Alternatives to Drobo from Synology or QNAP – Which NAS Should You Buy?

27 juillet 2022 à 01:33

Leaving Drobo NAS and Buying a Synology or QNAP – Get it Right, First Time

For a long time, I championed the Drobo Brand of network attached storage (NAS) as a great option for users looking to have their very own no-fuss, easy to set up and content-creator-friendly system. However, I think it would be fair to say that in the last 5-6 years, whilst many of the more ambitious NAS brands such as QNAP and Synology were pushing the boundaries of what people can do with their NAS systems in software and hardware, Drobo had made little or no innovation in their either department. Indeed, although we saw the impressive and surprisingly affordable Thunderbolt RAID device, the Drobo 5D3, in the world of NAS we really saw things start to stagnate. Fast forward to 2022, and we recently found out that Drobo (and its parent company StorCentric) had sadly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing impacts on their business from the pandemic. Although the company has stated in several interviews that they intend to carry on later, with a smaller product line perhaps, I think the brand had been in trouble long before the pandemic and for a while, many users on the brink of buying their latest NAS or were in the process of upgrading an existing Drobo populated network storage environment, started considering making the switch to the bigger and more established NAS brands, Synology and QNAP. These two brands have 22 and 18 years of experience respectively in network attached storage and in that time have continued to release new and exciting innovations that challenge alot of the rather unexciting and rudimentary storage services that Drobo NAS systems arrive with.

What Do Synology and QNAP Provide that Drobo Doesn’t?

NAS has a technology that anyone (home or business) can buy has been around for around two decades now and in that time, ALOT has changed. The days of a NAS being just a simple blob of storage (1+ HDDs) that are connected to the network/internet and accessible remotely are long gone. Now modern NAS systems arrive with a full range of tailored applications (i.e. interfaces that allow you to access file types such as Photos, Music, Video, Docs, etc in a manner better suited to their output), a full graphical user interface accessible via your web browser that is more akin to a complete operating system, many client tools and apps, huge variety of business tools and all of this whilst still providing configurable storage to you, your family or your business. Below is just a handful of the thing that a Synology or QNAP NAS can do, that a Drobo either cannot do or does in a very limited capacity:

  • Bigger Range of solutions in 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12-Bay and bigger desktop NAS solutions
  • Many, many Mobile Applications
  • Incredibly user-friendly GUIs via the web browser (DSM and QTS) that give NAS devices an operating system comparable to Windows or MacOS
  • AI-Powered Photo Recognition
  • Huge variety of NAS Apps
  • Highly configurable and customizable iSCSI and Remote Targetted storage tools and Protocols supported
  • Multi-tiered and comprehensive backup tools covering NAS-to-NAS, USB, Cloud and VM Backups
  • Wide Variety of Desktop/Client Apps
  • Diverse RAID configurations and Storage Expansion Options
  • 10GbE by Default or as an Optional Extra
  • A large number of security tools and configuration tools (starting with
  • NVMe SSD Bays for caching and/or storage
  • Dedicated Premium Surveillance, Virtual Machine, Multimedia, Containers and Cloud Sync Software
  • Fully featured Plex and Emby Media Server Support
  • SaaS Sync Tools (Active Backup on Synology and BoXafe on QNAP)
  • A large variety of email hosting, web hosting and database creation tools
  • Not just supporting EXT4, but also supporting ZFS or BTRFS’ file systems

Now, it is worth remembering that Drobo DID release some innovations over the years in their NAS and DAS systems. They were the first to introduce a much more innovative LED system on the front of their system’s to denote system storage use, particular activity and more detailed warning patterns. They were one of the first to integrate m.2 SSD caching upgrade bays into their desktop systems (though using mSATA or M.2 NVMe), and they were one of the first to introduce internal battery systems in their desktop NAS that allowed the system to safely close read/write activities in the event of the system suffering a critical power failure. Then of course there was BeyondRAID, their flexible RAID configuration that allowed easy RAID expansions and mixed drive use. These innovations were all good, it’s just a shame that they all came around many years ago and the brand has not moved forward in hardware or software technology since.

Why Choose Synology NAS to Replace Your Drobo?

Synology is often considered the ‘Software Choice’, as DSM (Diskstation Manager) is by far the most user-friendly, secure, responsive and ‘OS-like’ platform available in the whole of NAS. It may seem one of the most expensive, but with it, you get some genuine boundary-breaking software with your purchase.  You still get a great level of hardware in the majority of Synology NAS solutions, but the real draw of Synology is that software. Not only does it support your own hardware environment of PCs, Macs, entertainment devices and mobiles in their own respective software, but DSM also includes MANY applications designed around keeping all your data IN-HOUSE. So, replace Skype/Whatsapp with Synology Chat, Replace Google Docs and Office365 with Synology Office. Use Synology Drive to make your storage visible and accessible the way YOU want it, and export your entire cloud/data network over to a Synology NAS and remove all the external access as and when you need! They aren’t the cheapest and they want you to do it ‘there way’, but it’s a pretty decent way. Additionally, their recent DSM 7.0 software has left many users impressed, with enhanced support of those 3rd party cloud storage and business services, AI photo recognition, their surveillance platform continuing to win awards and even an in-house cloud service in Synology C2. Stylizing themselves very much as the ‘Apple’ of this industry, they really do focus on keeping things straightforward and intuitive.

PROS of Synology NAS

  • Easily the most intuitive and Usage browser-based GUI (award-winning DSM 6.2/7.0/7.1) – FULL Review HERE
  • One of the best Surveillance NAS software solutions
  • Most popular vendor for Mac users for it’s UI
  • Incredibly feature-rich NVR software included, in Surveillance Station
  • Includes Active Backup Suite – Enterprise level and fully featured Backup Co-ordination software
  • Lowest Power Consumption vs other brands
  • A large # of their systems arrive with m.2 NVMe SSD caching upgrade bays
  • Quiet chassis compared with other brands
  • Task specialised Ranges like ‘PLAY’, ‘PLUS’ and ‘J’ make buying easier
  • The best range of first-party software, with Synology Office, Chat, Mail, Drive and more
  • SHR and SHR-2 – also BTRFS available in most solutions
  • Cloud Services and Hybrid Storage Tools available in Synology C2
  • Desktop and Rack-mount options are available
  • Best software for Home and SMB

CONS of Synology NAS

  • Often the most expensive
  • Recent Enterprise NAS Hardware has changed Compatibility in favour of Synology HDDs and SSDs
  • Generally, Synology NAS has the lowest hardware power in their systems
  • NVMe SSD Bays are for caching ONLY, they cannot be used for super-fast storage pools
  • More technically minded folk will need to dig a little to get to the nitty-gritty
  • SHR is not available on Enterprise NAS Systems
  • Network ONLY – no HDMI, Audio in/out, Thunderbolt, etc

Why Choose QNAP NAS to Replace Your Drobo?

Often considered the choice for the more hardware-aware buyer, if you are looking for a much more traditionally computer associated hardware – QNAP NAS is certainly the one that springs to mind. Generally considered the ‘innovators’ of the NAS industry, they have the largest range of solutions available Notwithstanding the fact that their hardware is by FAR the most evolved platform in NAS (thunderbolt 3, multiple HDMI, 10Gbe standard solutions, Silent NAS, AI solutions and advanced SSD caching), the platform is fantastically diverse, providing great NAS options alongside network switches, network adapters and generally reshaping your hardware environment for the better. The software has also evolved dramatically into its own beast, moving away from trying to imitate and carving its own path. It is a little more technically (and I really do mean a little) but it is far more rewarding for it. They do not feature some popular items on their portfolio, such as BTRFS or a fluid RAID system like SHR/BeyondRAID, but make up for this with their own range of alternatives and in most cases succeed. Get your reading glasses on though, as their range is quite vast and might overwhelm you a tad. In recent years the brand has shifted focus a great deal more towards software in efforts to meet the gap with their rival Synology to pretty good success. This is often achieved by releasing software that does the previously impossible before anyone else, but lacking a little of the polish of their biggest rival. Recent achievements with HybridMount, vJBOD, HyperVisor Protector, QuMagie and Multimedia Console have been received remarkably well, arriving onto the scene 1-2 years before anyone else. Alongside this, QNAP still has easily the best virtual machine and backup software for home and SMB in Virtualization Station and Hybrid Backup Sync.

PROS of QNAP NAS

  • Best Solutions for Plex Media Server in NAS
  • Enterprise/Business Solutions feature ZFS
  • 2.5Gbe, 5Gbe and 10Gbe Options
  • Best Virtual Machine and Container Solutions in NAS
  • NVMe SSD Bays can be used for Caching, Storage Pools or Tiered Storage Configurations
  • Almost all range is metal in design, or a plastic but unique chassis
  • HDMI and remote control included in most Media NAS devices
  • Thunderbolt NAS options covering TB2, TB3 and even TB4 (TS-464)
  • Two Surveillance Solutions (with 4/8 Camera Licenses included)
  • The Best Backup/Synchronization solution in ‘Hybrid Backup Sync 3’
  • Technical information far more readily available
  • Lower price compared with Synology in terms of hardware
  • Regularly updated software and Detailed GUI/APPs – FULL Review HERE
  • Desktop and Rackmount options are available
  • Much better business options and definitely the best for virtual machines

CONS of QNAP NAS

  • A more android feel towards apps and stability means some users will be put off
  • Lacking the BTRFS and SHR support of Synology
  • Higher typical Power consumption
  • Often a fraction noisier due to chiefly metal chassis
  • Much larger range of devices can lead to confusion
  • Most units arrive with 2-3 Years warranty, but longer will cost you more
  • Have been targetted by Ransomware attacks in the last 2 years

Recommended Synology Replacement for the Drobo 5N2 NAS – The DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS

Choosing to replace the Drobo 5N2 5-Bay NAS with a Synology is actually a surprisingly easy choice. Right now at the time of writing, there are two very clear Diskstaiton devices that you can choose (if you want to stay at this kind of storage sale). The Synology DS920+ 4-Bay NAS (originally released in 2020) and the Synology DS1522+ 5-Bay NAS (released in June 2022). The former has been in the market for long enough that multiple deals are available and if/when the DS923+ arrives on the scene, it will likely become increasingly affordable – in spite of this, the hardware inside is great and it’s a solid fully featured NAS. The latter choice, the DS1522+, is the latest 2022 generation release from the brand, has great default system hardware and plenty of scalabilities and upgrade options to add to the system’s utility in years to come. Find out more about them both below:

Synology DS920+ 4-Bay NAS $500+

Intel Celeron 4-Core J4125, 4/8GB Memory, 1GbE, NVMe SSD Caching, Expandable, SHR, 4x SATA Bays, 3yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 21/05/20

The DS920+ NAS is something that Synology should be proud of. It is a great entry into their already impressive range of Diskstation NAS devices. If you are looking for a brand new NAS to consolidate your home media, to support your relative as the ‘IT whizz’ of the family, or move your business away from Google Drives and DropBox’ onto something safer, more scalable and dependable – then the DS920+ has alot to offer you. It gives you a great base to start using the DSM platform, as well as a good means to upgrade your storage internally at a later date (expansions in memory, expansions in storage, expansion in NVMe). If you are an existing DS918+ or DS916+ owner, this might not seem like the jump you were waiting for. There are always areas of improvement, the USB ports, the 1Gbe, that 1 memory slot – but these are things that Synology no doubt feel should be pushed into a higher price/hardware bracket – Allowing the DS920+ Price to be as close to its predecessors it can be. Whether you agree or disagree, I think that we can agree that this NAS is still giving you alot of bang for your buck in 2020. Thank you once again to ‘Takeo from Tokyo‘ for all his assistance on this hardware review

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


Synology DS1522+ 5-Bay NAS $750+

Ryzen R1600 Dual Core, 8/32GB ECC Memory,4x1GbE, Optional 10GbE for $150, NVMe SSD Caching, Expandable, SHR, 5x SATA Bays, 3yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 29/06/22

The Synology DS1522+ is a good NAS drive and most business-focused users are going to appreciate what this newer configuration of hardware is able to provide. There was never any doubt in the extent to which this new NAS would support DSM7, and given its architecture, there is virtually nothing in the popular NAS software that this system cannot do. Likewise, having the option of 10GbE on a Diskstation of this scale will be hugely attractive to some, though the proprietary means with which you need to upgrade is arguably less desirable. The R1600 CPU is a good choice of processor for file handling and simultaneous tasks, as is the 8GB of memory that this system arrives with, plus the potential to ramp it up to 32GB. After that though, the desirability of this system to home users and multimedia users is a little less compelling and with such a large audience of users who look at NAS for their media streaming, the DS1522+ not featuring a more graphically enabled chip will leave them somewhat underwhelmed. Bottom line, the DS1522+ is a solid and full DSM7 supporting system here and you cannot fault the design, internal/external performance and ease of use of this Synology NAS. However, there will always be users wondering why this NAS never arrived with an Intel chip.

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


 

Recommended QNAP Replacement for the Drobo 5N2 NAS – The QNAP TS-464 and TS-h973ax

If you decide to move away from the Drobo 5-Bay 5N22 and towards a QNAP, then I recommend opting for either the 2022 generation TS-464 NAS (as it is really is the best hardware vs scale vs price point the brand has ever released) or the incredibly mutli-facited QNAP TS-h973ax, which as 10GbE, 3 kinds of storage media supported across 9-Bays and the choice of file system at initialization of ZFS or EXT4. Here is more information on these two NAS and what we said about them when reviewed:

QNAP TS-464 4-Bay NAS $599+

Intel Celeron 4-Core N5105, 4/16GB Memory, 2×2.5GbE, NVMe SSD Caching or for Storage, HDMI 2.0 4K 60PFS, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb), USB RAID Expandable, PCIe Gen 3×2 Upgrade Slot, 4x SATA Bays, 3yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 18/04/22

The TS-464 comfortably arrives with the best hardware in its tier of the NAS market and that is something that QNAP has always been quite good at. Even if you rewind just 5 years, the level of hardware scalability and ease of upgradability that the TS-464 provides is frankly incredible and, fast forward to 2022, is still pretty unmatched. A Desktop 4-Bay NAS (eg Prosumer RAID 5 storage) has always been the next confident step for users who are tired of their hands being tied by subscription cloud services from Google, OneDrive and DropBox, who are looking for their own competent, flexible and fully-featured private server. In the TS-464 NAS, you find a system that is unquestionable the best hardware for your money you can possibly get right now. In software, things are a little less straightforward. QTS 5, although massively software and service-rich, arrives as a complete operating system in your web browser with multiple mobile/desktop clients and hundreds of applications and apps that can be installed at the touch of a button – which can all too often be something of a steep learning curve for many. Lacking the chewable, user-friendly nature of many of their rivals, QNAP and its software/service still have a tendency to be a bit of an information overload that can quickly intimidate the novice. However, for those that are looking for a system that is completely customizable in how/when/where you want data presented to you, as well as a wide degree of 3rd party support, QNAP and QTS 5 still manages to provide a huge degree of brand-unique service that are simply not available elsewhere. Just be prepared to invest your time wisely in its setup and more time ensuring the system is perfect for your needs.

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


QNAP TS-h973ax 5/9-Bay NAS $999+

AMD Ryzen V1500B Quad Core, 8/32GB Memory, 1x 10GbE, 2×2.5GbE, 5x SATA HDD, 2x SATA SSD, 2x U.2 NVMe SSD, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb), USB RAID Expandable, ZFS or EXT4 File System Choice, 2yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 13/11/20

I have seen a lot of network-attached storage over the years and the TS-h973AX brings a lot of colour to what was fast becoming a somewhat grey landscape. In short, QNAP has gone and done it again by proving they are the hardware innovators of this industry and have managed to provide a genuinely unique solution here. When they first revealed their new Hero ZFS operating system last year, you could not help but get the impression that only top-end enterprise businesses with £10K starting budgets were ever going to benefit. The TS-h973AX desktop NAS is solid evidence that QNAP will share the wealth and that this is the start of a whole new series of affordable ZFS solution from the brand. That isn’t to say that this system is perfect and pernickety points about a lack of HDMI or LCD may put off some users, and the compact 9 bay chassis that will attract some will no doubt deter others. Ultimately though QNAP has succeeded in creating what they sought out here and what we find is one of the best examples of hardware and software meeting in the middle, while still arriving with a price tag in 3 figures. In the current absence of a straight forward QuTS license purchase option for existing QNAP NAS systems right now, this is a solution that serves as a good alternative to a number of 4 and 6 Bay solutions in their portfolio. Though, make sure you upgrade that memory on day one! 

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


 

Recommended Synology Replacement for the Drobo B810n NAS – The DS1821+ NAS

Replacing or deciding against the Drobo B810n 8-Bay NAS system and opting for a Synology is, if anything, considerably easier than moving away from the 5N. Synology has a great history of 8-Bay NAS devices and the 2021 generation DS1821+ is a fantastic choice of NAS system. It supports the full range of DSM applications, has scalable storage, can be expanded by ten more drives, has in-built m.2 NVMe slots, a high bandwidth PCIe Upgrade slot and still manages to be very petite. Here is more information on the Synology DS1821+ and what we thought of it at review:

Synology DS1821+ 8-Bay NAS $1,100+

AMD Ryzen V1500B Quad Core, 4/32GB Memory, 4x1GbE, 8x SATA HDD, 2x NVMe SSD for Caching, PCIe Gen 3×8 Upgrade Slot, SHR or Traditional RAID, BTRFS or EXT4 File System Choice, 3yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 15/12/20

What you have here is a solid piece of hardware that very much lives up to everything Synology promises, even if some of those promises aren’t to everyone’s taste. With a hardware architecture that we have already tested to notable success in the DS1621+ previously, we already knew that this NAS would be able to do everything it promised. Many users looking to spend their annual business budgets on an improved or extended data storage solution will find the balanced position of hardware vs software found by the Synology DS1821+ to be quite desirable, as well as the scaled potential to upgrade external performance via PCIe and storage via eSATA. However, there is no ignoring that despite the fact this 2020 release excels in many things, it also arrives with a little bottlenecking in a number of others. The continued default utilisation of 1Gbe on the newest generation by Synology is somewhat perplexing and although I have continued admiration for Synology’s engagement with intelligent M2 NVMe cache utilisation and providing a solution that allows more flexible upgrade paths, I know that there are still users who just wish they could use that super fast NAND for raw storage pools and have better than gigabit connections out by default. It has never been a secret that buying a Synology NAS solution was always a largely ‘software over hardware’ purchase, and the DS1821+ is still a fine example of that balance. However, with other brands closing the gap in what they can offer the SMB (Small/Medium Business) user, while still providing superior hardware and similar warranty coverage, there is the tiniest feeling that the DS1821+ is a NAS that sits on its laurels a bit. Hugely upgradable and still with that award-winning and fantastically intuative DSM software, the DS1821+ is about buying a solution you can adapt within its lifespan and not one that will knock your socks off on day one. A solid and dependable data storage solution, if a little safe, at the end of 2020.

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


 

Recommended QNAP Replacement for the Drobo B810n NAS – The TVS-872X NAS

Unlike the previous QNAP suggestions I have made when moving away from a Drobo, when it comes to choosing a QNAP alternative to the Drobo B810n, I would currently recommend the 2020 released TVS-872X (a modified version of the also still available Thunderbolt 3 NAS, the TVS-872XT). Although this NAS has been around a while (and likely due an upgrade to a new version very soon), the QNAP TVS-872X is a 10GbE equipped 8 bay, with NVMe SSD slots, two very high bandwidth PCIe slots, USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4K HDMI, optional ZFS or EXT4 and after all of that – it has an Intel Core i3 or i5 Highly powerful CPU than can also be accompanied by up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. This is a beast of a system that arrives with a surprisingly modest price point when compared to most other NAS of the same scale or hardware – and the fact it is a little older means that the price is improved further in many shops. Again, QNAP are very likely to release a newer, more powerful and ultimately more expensive version of this product family soon, but it is STILL a great NAS that holds it’s own in 2022. Here is what we thought of it at the review:

QNAP TVS-872X 8-Bay NAS $1,999+

Intel Core 8th Gen i3/i5 4/6-Core CPU, 8-64GB DDR4 Memory, 1x 10GbE, 2x1GbE, NVMe SSD Caching or for Storage, HDMI 2.0 4K 60PFS, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb), USB RAID Expandable, 2x PCIe Gen ([email protected] 3×16 and [email protected] 3×4) Upgrade Slot, 8x SATA Bays, Audio In/Out, 3yr Warranty

NASCompares Written Review – HERE

NASCompares YouTube Review – HERE

What we said on 24/05/21

If this was the first time I was seeing the hardware featured on the QNAP TVS-872X, with its Intel Core CPU, 64GB of potential memory, 10Gbe on-board, NVMe equipped slots and USB 10G throughout – I would have been reasonably impressed. Likewise, the scalability in PCIe, storage expansions and network connectivity down the line is also a very valid and positive aspect of this system. But for me, it will always live slighting in the shadow of its Thunderbolt 3 equipped older big brother in the TV-872XT. The software on either ZFS or EXT4 file system is still doing what it does well, finding the line between 1st party apps, 3rd party support, customization and (mostly) getting it right – if occasionally trying to be too big for its boots. The QNAP TVS-872X is undeniably still a great example of the wide-ranging features available to prosumers who want a storage system heavily geared towards high-performance transmission via high-performance media with higher tier hardware at their disposal. It would be misleading to think of this NAS as any kind of significant upgrades over the XT, and the price tag that the TVS-872X currently arrives at (£1700+ / $2400) is perhaps a tad closer to that of the thunderbolt version than can be justified, but with an increasing over-reliance by brands on Xeon based systems, the TVS-872X is one of the most graphically well-equipped systems in the market today. If you are looking for a NAS for video editing, Plex media server, AI-assisted surveillance or virtualisation in a more compact form, the TVS-872X and its hardware has a heck of a lot to offer you.

Check Amazon for this NAS via the link below in your region (results in a % going back to the site and supports us):


Why Not Use Cloud Services like Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox instead of a NAS?

Do not think that 3rd party cloud services are bad, they really aren’t! In fact, you should always consider adding a 2nd or 3rd tier into your backup strategy at home/work, and synchronization of files/folders on your NAS with the cloud is a good means to ensure you have another backup in place. Additionally, most NAS feature a variety of 256bit encryption options, password protection, 2 step verification and more to allow secure access is ensured to the NAS and the content, even via the cloud. Additionally, bg NAS brands like Synology and QNAP have been supporting Hybrid Cloud services that not only allow cloud storage to be bolted onto your NAS storage for shared usage and access, but also both brand support backup and synchronization with cloud collaborate services, such as Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365. So there is DEFINITELY still a valid and useful place for 3rd party cloud services in 2022, however, I rarely advocate the use of these cloud services as a PRIMARY storage location. They ARE convenient and you can get a limited amount of space included for free, but I generally have three core reasons that I do not recommend cloud as a first-tier storage.

 

COST – The cost of most 2-year subscriptions costs about the same as if you just purchased even a small-scale NAS on day 1. It might seem like just 5 or 10 bucks a month, but over 2 or 3 years, it all adds up and moreover, after that time you either need to keep on paying every month or still buy a NAS or DAS system for the data to live on. Might as well buy the NAS sooner rather than later as it will be inevitable eventually.

ACCESS – NAS provides more apps, file-level tailored use and can be better adapted into popular 3rd Party applications like PLEX, KODI, APPLE TIME MACHINE and DLNA supported devices. A cloud provider severely limits the kind of access you have on a regular basis.

PRIVACY – NAS provides full individual user control and access, as well as admin controls. Plus the NAS can be fully disconnected from the Internet/Network at your discretion. A cloud provider has a relative pre-set safety protocol that, when cracked on one or two occasions, opens up mass hacking

This is not to say that data on your NAS is completely inaccessible. Any NAS brand can only really stay 1 step ahead of the hackers, patching exploits as they are found (no different than any online service really), but a NAS is a means to create a secure, customizable and ultimately bespoke data storage solution.


 

What About Moving from Drobo to Asustor or Terramaster NAS?

Obviously, as NAS is such a popular and highly evolved area of the tech industry (despite it still also remaining quite niche compared with traditional computers and laptops), Synology and QNAP are not the ONLY brands in the market! Indeed, if you have been looking at moving away from Drobo and saw some affordably devices from Asustor or Terramaster, you will likely wonder why I have not covered them as much in this article (though I DO cover them and their solutions in the video embedded in this article above). Although both brands have been providing some great hardware (both for the price AND just generally) in 2022, these brands do not provide the full range of software and services (especially 1st party developed) that QNAP and Synology do. Their respective software in ADM and TOS aren’t bad, indeed they are very good and very responsive with many apps, they just are not on the same level as Synology DSM and QNAP QTS/QuTS right now. You can find out more about their software in the software review videos of each below:


 

Should I Move From Drobo to TrueNAS Core?

Many Drobo users, after using their systems for many years and (after becoming increasingly proficient) started to feel its limitations, might have heard about the free and DiY NAS server platform ‘TrueNAS’ (aka FreeNAS) and considering making the switch towards it after Drobo. It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that when it comes to TrueNAS is a fantastically capable software for managing your storage. It even manages to swerve the downfall of being ‘too enterprise’ but arriving as an open source free software platform to be enjoyed by businesses and storage enthusiasts. There is no avoiding that it IS quite a technical mountainous learning curve if you are arriving at it from a position of zero storage or network experience, but the last few big TrueNAS system updates have gone a long way to update some UI elements to be more intuitive, software wide help notes available at all times and the community support is as on-point at it has ever been. If you are a home users looking for a hurdles setup or a day-1 deployable system for your small business, then TrueNAS may be too big a jump for you and you would be better off with a traditional off-the-shelf NAS system. However, if you have the know-how, you have the willingness to get your hands dirty and already have the hardware in mind/in-house, then TrueNAS stands in a class of it’s own and thanks to some very unique architecture choices that are almost utterly unique to this platform, it’s pretty unparalleled in its scope. Just please, PLEASE remember that a Drobo NAS is a ‘turnkey’ solution (aka, ready to go out of the box) and TrueNAS Core and TrueNAS Scale involve ALOT more setup and a much higher learning curve. You can buy TrueNAS-ready systems, such as the iXsystems series of devices, but these are still rather expensive compared with the modest Drobo and still require ALOT of tech knowledge to make the most of. You can find out more about the TrueNAS software platform in my written and video review below:

TrueNAS Written Review

TrueNAS Video Review

 

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Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Powerful Value?

23 mai 2022 à 01:44

Review of the Terramaster F4-423 NAS Drive

The Network Attached Storage industry (NAS) unlike many areas of the tech world is actually surprisingly small in terms of the companies that fight for market dominance. With less than 10 big players and less than 5 of those being real marketing recognized, choosing a NAS solution is actually quite restricted. In that small paddock of NAS brands, the one that is by FAR the best hardware value (as in, getting the most for your money in terms of hardware) is Terramaster. A brand that has evolved incredibly rapidly in the personal home/office server market in the last 7-8 years. Although not as well established as bigger brands with decades in the server industry (such as Synology and QNAP), in the short time they have been in the NAS market, they have produced a range of solutions that sneak up remarkably close in hardware/software to those bigger brands, whilst sometimes arriving close to half the price for the same architecture. Their latest series is the x23 series (arriving in 2, 4, 9 and 12-Bay desktop solutions so far, at the time of writing) and today I want to review their F4-423 4-Bay NAS. Going up against the likes of the Asustor Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 and QNAP TS-464 NAS (released around a month on either side of the F4-423), as well as competing with Synology’s DS920+ right now, the F4-423 has some steep competition.  Nevertheless, with its pricetag already £100-180 less (depending on where you shop) the F4-423 already seemingly has the high ground in terms of affordability, but what about software, quality and overall performance? Let’s review this new Terramaster NAS and see if it deserves your data.

Terramaster F4-423 Review Chapters

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Quick Conclusion

Terramaster still continues to be the most affordable fully-featured provider of the whole NAS market and although a number of their solutions have always felt a little rough around the edges, you always got the impression that you were getting a good deal for the hardware that was available from QNAP and Synology. Now in 2022/2023, the same continues to be true but in the F4-423 NAS’ case, you are actually getting some pretty top tier (for the Home/Prosumer) market at a price tag that is really tough to argue with. Terramaster has clearly been watching their bigger competitors and cherry-picked the features that people have been asking for (2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe SSD bays, etc) for this new generation. In terms of software, things are a little less convincing and although TOS 5 (currently in Beta at the time of writing) still continues to evolve into something genuinely fully featured and impressive, TOS 4 that the F4-423 includes at launch is usable (if unexciting) platform that provides the base level services that a new NAS user would want, but lacks killer apps that their competitors are offering right now (File Streaming, AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc). Most of these ARE included in TOS5, but until it arrives much later in 2022 in a full release, the F4-423 feels like a powerful NAS that doesn’t have the software to show off its strengths yet. If you are reading this later in 2022 or 2023, this might well be irrelevant though, as the brand rolls out their bit firmware update to ALL Terramster NAS devices. Overall, I definitely CAN recommend the F4-423 NAS for its hardware, for Plex Media server or as an affordable multi-tier backup solution, but if you are looking for a NAS for more tailored data access or in a much more fully-featured package – hold out a little longer till TOS 5 gets released first.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Unboxing, Packaging & Presentation

The initial impressions of the presentation Terramaster F4-423 NAS were a little meh! As this is a more affordable solution, it is understandable that some areas of the retail package are going to be a little understated. Additionally, NAS systems like the F4-423 NAS are going to 99% of the time be purchased online (not in your local I.T shop or generally in line of sight at the point of sale), so the need for flashy packaging is less important. That said, many brands still put a little effort into this and present their solutions as a means to promote a brand, lifestyle or general vibe or excellence in their product (i.e. “the first bite is with the eye” etc). The Terramaster F4-423 arrives in a very plain brown box and just has the model ID with a sticker and the brand logos.

Remarks of presentation aside, the packaging of the Terramaster F4-423 is pretty good in terms of protection. The unit is well held in foam (a little softer in density than I would like maybe) and the accessories are neatly and securely contained. There is practically no room for the system to move in transit and ultimately, that is all that matters (silent shock/motion damage to the components).

The accessories box contains lots of accessories and although most are pretty standard (setup instructions, power supplier, warranty information, screws, etc), there are a couple of unusual additional that I have never received in other brand’s products, namely the inclusion of additional HDD tray clip/screw washers and additional rubber feet for the NAS. This isn’t really a good/bad thing and for those that need them, it’s a handy addition. Just seemed an unusual addition.

One small but positive area of note is the LAN cable included. As mentioned earlier, in more affordable NAS solutions (like more tech), the way savings can be made is by cutting corners. Therefore I was surprised that the Terramaster F4-423 arrived with a surprisingly high-quality LAN cable. Thick, Cat 6 and very high quality at the connector. Again, this si a small point, but companies such as QNAP and Terramaster HAVE provided Cat 5e cables of a shorter length, thinner material and nowhere near the quality of this one with their 1/2.5GbE solutions. It’s a VERY minor point, but this is the sort of area I would have assumed Terramster would have saved a few £/$ on and I am impressed.

The Terramaster F4-423 arrives with an external PSU (quite standard in 4-bay desktop systems) and it’s quite non-descript and not too much to write home about. It’s a 2-pin connector 90W PSU.

Overall, there is quite a good range of accessories included with the Terramaster F4-423. Nothing spectacular, but pretty much everything you are going to need (aside from storage media) to set up your NAS quickly and easily. Let’s discuss the design of the F4-423.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Design

Terrasmaster NAS drives are pretty distinctive. The brand has been using largely the same chassis in its 2 and 4 Bay systems for about 5 years. There HAVE been improvements (port placement, removal of the odd handle on the top and the tray quality is massively improved) but in the desktop 2/4-Bay systems, things have changed very little. The design is looking a little dated now in 2022, but it is still very functional and whereas brand like QNAP have 8-10 different design chassis in their portfolio, it is nice that Terramster have at least kept a consistent look/shape to the solutions in their portfolio for brand recognition.

The Terramaster F4-423 NAS chassis is a combination of Metal and plastic (with the front, rear and media trays all arriving in plastic, but the 1 piece surrounding the middle area is metal). Indeed, at a glance you might assume the whole thing is metal, with the brushed silver colour scheme, but no. The system’s passive cooling (vents) are located between each of the media bays, and at the base of the machine. The system seemingly takes advantage of horizontal airflow through the chassis (with the rear fans facilitating this) and the metal middle section providing dissipation for the internal mechanisms getting warm.

The ventilation on the base of the Terramaster F4-423 is pretty much the entire system and the rubber feet of this NAS are noticeably taller than other NAS 4-Bay systems. Although these are chiefly under the drive media bays, they are pretty much over the entire controller board too, to create an angled air circulation through the bays/board and via the fans on the rear.

The Terramaster F4-423 chassis lacks any LCD panel (these days only QNAP and Asustor seemingly include these on a few of their systems) and system information is provided by multiple LEDs on the front. These cover the activity, status and health of the media bays, the network connection and the power of the system.

The main storage bays of the Terramaster F4-423 NAS are SATA connected plastic trays that support 2.5″ and 3.5″ media (i.e HDDs and SSDs). The system can operate with a single drive if you choose, allowing you to gradually add more storage over time. However, the Terramaster F4-423 (like most NAS) works at it’s best with multiple drives in a RAID configuration for the safety net of redundancy and/or a performance increase of multiple drives being read/written to at the same time.

The trays inside the Terramaster F4-423 support the toolless installation of 3.5″ HDDs (i.e no screwdriver needed and drives click in securely) and 2.5″ SSD/HDDs need the included screws. The SATA connections inside are combined data/power, so no loose cables or tricksy installation. Lastly, the Terramaster F4-423supports hot swapping, so drives can be inserted/removed without powering down the system, just BE AWARE that removing a drive that is in a RAID is not recommended (by ANY NAS brand).

And that is about it for the design of the Terramaster F4-423 chassis. They have used this same design in the bulk of the desktop 2/4 systems, so there are few surprises here. But nonetheless, it seemingly does the job and aside from the design perhaps looking a little old these days compared with Synology’s more expensive Diskstation series, it’s a solid enough build. Let’s discuss the ports and connections of the F4-423 NAS.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Ports and Connections

The connections available on the Terramaster F4-423 NAS, although few in number, are all pretty good for what the devices are costing right now. Only three connections to discuss (and one of them is a bit negligible) but given the device’s price point, the available external bandwidth here is impressive. The rear chunky fan module that is located on the rear of the F4-423 (much like previous Terramaster NAS systems) is a little unsightly, but as it is on the rear of the unit, you are never going to see it much.

The twin fans are thicker than many other fans in the market and although that results in a greater draw of air into the system when it is operational, it does also mean that when in operation, the Terramaster F4-423 is a pinch louder. These fans can be adjusted in rotations per minute (RPM) in the TOS software of course, but it is not recommended and it’s best to leave the system fans on automatic so they can dynamically adjust to the internal temperature for efficiency.

Of course, the first big improvement of the Terramaster F4-423 over its predecessors (F4-422 and F4-421) is the inclusion of 2.5-gigabit ethernet (2.5GbE). The NAS arrives with two ethernet ports that can provide around 250-279MB/s throughout each, as well as allowing link aggregation (aka Port Trunking) to combine their bandwidth and provide 5GbE (around 500-550MB/s throughput) with the use of a smart switch. In the last few years, we have seen several brands provide 2.5GbE connections at the same cost as 1GbE ports and with internet service providers and affordable switch manufacturers providing 2.5GbE solutions, it was only natural that NAS brands would make the jump towards it. Hypothetically, if you had a faster than Gb internet connection (fiber etc) and a google drive account, that means that you would be able to connect with your cloud drive FASTER than a NAS system in your home if you only have 1GbE. This is why NAS systems need to arrive with 2.5/5/10GbE in 2022, for the sake of futureproofing and to keep up with the growing demands for data access. Additionally, 4 SATA storage bays (as well as the use of those internal SSD bays that I will touch on later) will easily saturate a 2.5GbE and even LAG supported 5GbE connection, so these ports allow you to maximize your storage potential and share that bandwidth with multiple connected users.

One slight letdown is that the Terramaster F4-423arrives with an HDMI port BUT they do not have any kind of HDMI/Visual GUI that can be accessed (unlike QNAP’s HD Station and Asustor’s Portal applications) The HDMI out DOES allow you to access SSH/Telnet level/stylized backend controls with a USB keyboard, but with this CPU and hardware architecture supporting embedded graphics, 4K media and multimedia services, it is a real shame that you cannot do anything more home/SMB friendly than command line. Maybe one-day Terramaster will update TOS to take advantage of this feature in a more graphical/KVM way, but it has been 2 years of these systems having HDMI and we have yet to see any change on this.

The USB ports of the Terramaster F4-423 are a subtle upgrade over previous/older NAS systems from the brand, with this NAS featuring 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports. These allow connections of up to 10Gb/s (1,000MB/s – double that of the USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gb/s in older systems) and that means much, MUCH faster local backups to external storage drives, as well as the support of USB JBOD storage expansions. The real benefits of USB 3.2 Gen 2 in expansions are only really felt when using larger SSD arrays or 5-8 bay expansions. Nevertheless, these ports are a nice extra for the system. Additionally, Terramaster recently released an affordable USB-to-2.5GbE adapter for £25+ that allows you to connect ANOTHER 2.5GbE port on this system. Add a 2-4Bay storage expansion to the other USB port and you have a great deal of storage and network bandwidth for this system to graduate towards, all thanks to those newer gen USB ports.

The ports and connections of the Terramaster F4-423 are few in number but still nonetheless good upgrades over it’s predecessor. Terramaster could have EASILY cut a few corners here (i.e USB 3.2 Gen 1 or just a single 2.5GbE port) and most users would not have batted an eye (as it is noticeably lower in price than the similar USB 3.2/2.5G QNAP TS-464). Let’s get our screwdriver and take a look inside this NAS to see how Terramster have approached the internal specifications of the F4-423.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Internal Hardware

The internal hardware of the Terramaster F4-423 NAS is a mix of current generation hardware choices and quirky application. The internal boards comprise two PCBs (one for the SATA storage nad another for… well… everything else). In most cases, a user will almost never completely dismantle a NAS drive in its lifespan. However, in the case of the F4-423, you are going to need to take it apart quite considerably in order to access a number of the upgrade options. In order to access these, you will need to remove the six rear screws of the chassis and then remove the rear panel. This rear panel contains the active cooling fans and either awkwardly hangs from the chassis or you will need to disconnect the fan (something only fractionally less ideal). From here you will need to slide the entire internal framework out and that allows you to access/upgrade a couple of the internal hardware components as needed.

Once the full internal board is disconnected, you are able to see a wide variety of heatsinks, ports and modules. This is a slightly unconventional means of accessing these bits but something that most PC builders will be ok with. The board is double-sided with the m.2 SSD slots and a single SODIMM memory slot on one side, and the Internal CPU and another populated SODIMM slot on the other side – which is significantly harder to access and requires removal of even more of the internal framework to access.

The CPU featured in the Terramaster F4-423 NAS is a quad-core Intel Celeron N5105 CPU, a processor that has been very much the ‘CPU of choice’ among the 2022/2023 generation of NAS hardware from most of the brands (except Synology). This is a quad-core x86 64bit processor that is 2.0Ghz in clock speed, that can be burst up to 2.9Ghz when needed. It features an onboard AES-NI encryption engine, as well as Intel embedded graphics for visual data tasks such as native multimedia playback, transcoding, photo management and improved services in TOS 5 (still in beta) towards AI photo recognition and surveillance with IP Cameras. As mentioned, although this is never going to challenge the likes of an Intel Pentium or Intel Core in 2022, it is still a very good CPU and in the context of NAS and this price point, very competent indeed.

Alongside that CPU, the Terramaster F4-423 NAS also arrives with 4GB of DDR4 Memory. However, closer inspection of the F4-423 architecture does raise a couple of small questions. Firstly, the 4GB of memory the system arrives with is a single 2133Mhz SODIMM module. Most other NAS systems with this architecture arrive with 2400-2666Mhz memory. It’s a small point, but this is the first NAS I have seen with DDR4 memory at 2133Mhz. Additionally, the 4GB module is located in an incredibly difficult place under the main cage array, so installing larger/faster memory is not going to be possible without much more dismantling. Talking of ‘adding more memory’, Terramaster state that the F4-423 NAS supports up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory across its two slots. However, Intel state that this CPU only supports a maximum 16GB across two channels – so although I am sure the system would definitely see 32GB of memory if you have 2x 16GB installed, I do wonder if you will definitely be able to actually USE all 32 correctly.

The Terramaster F4-423 also features two M.2 NVMe SSD bays that allow you to install significantly faster SSDs into the system alongside SATA HDDs, meaning that you have another option for your storage. Now, there is good and bad news here regarding these ports. On the plus side, they can be used for either caching alongside the larger HDD RAID configuration (to allow read/write caching and significantly improve their performance in key areas) or as it’s own storage pool. This is something that popular NAS competitor Synology has never implemented to their NVMe bays, despite it being a highly requested feature. On a slight downside, as the Intel N5105 CPU inside the Terramaster F4-423 is already being stretched a little thing in it’s architecture, these M.2 NVMe SSD bays are PCIe Gen 3 x1 speed. This means that NVMe SSDs such as the Seagate Ironwolf 510/525 or WD Red SN700 at PCIe Gen 3/4 x4 will be limited down to a maximum 1,000MB/s per bay. This is still something you can incorporate into a solid RAID for improved performance and its better to have them, than not at all though.

The internal hardware inside the Terramaster F4-423 is still good for the money and certainly gives you a solid base level of hardware to work with. The means to access and upgrade the system hardware is less smooth than most/all other commercial NAS brands, but once you have jumped these odd hurdles, you have some great kit here to use in conjunction with 1st and 3rd party applications. So, let’s move into the subject of software and TOS on the F4-423.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Software

VERY IMPORTANT – At the time of writing this review, the Terramaster F4-423 NAS arrives with the 4th generation of their software platform TOS. Why is this important? Well, because right now there is a beta in progress for TOS 5 and it is a SIGNIFICANT step from the current generation of TOS that is included with the F4-423 at launch. So, if you are considering the F4-423 NAS later in 2022/2023, then there is every chance that TOS 5 has been released and you can download it (free etc) onto the device. We will be reviewing TOS 5 fully when the final version is released, but for now, I wanted to highlight a number of hte key features that will be added to TOS later this year, as well as the current range of services that are included in TOS 4 right now. (important, we originally previewed a VERY earlier build of Terramaster TOS 5 Alpha in the video HERE on the NASCompares YouTube channel which will give you an idea of how TOS5 looks/feels, but many new features have been added in the months since the beta was rolled out). LOADS more features have been added since this original alpha preview and we will soon be deep-diving into this newer Beta release very soon. Below is what Terramaster say is included in the new TOS ver.5 Beta.

New Features & Improvements in Existing Services

In TOS 5, not only have the storage structure and data interaction mode been reconstructed but also, compared with the previous generation, it adds more than 50 features and 600 improvements. The new features meet more business requirements, as well as significantly improve response speed, security, and ease of use.

Browser Access to TOS is Now 3x Times Faster

TOS 5 adopts progressive JavaScript language and a lightweight framework with a faster loading speed. TOS 5 features bidirectional data binding, easier data manipulation, and automatic synchronous response to data changes in the page; UI, data, and structure separation make it easier to change data without the need to modify logic codes. Using progressive JavaScript language, TOS 5 has a more lightweight framework. In addition, through two-way binding of data, the view, data and structure are separated. When the page is operated, it automatically responds to changes in data, which makes the system “lighter” and achieves a faster loading speed.

New caching technology avoids network round trips between the server and the database, bypasses the calculation that occupies resources, saves server resources, and improves response time and waiting time, so TOS 5 has the fastest response time in the current TOS family. Compared with the last generation, the TOS 5 response speed has increased by 300%! Use WASM to optimize the calculation method and execute the back-end complex calculations on the front-end, thereby reducing the calculation pressure on the server. In addition, TOS 5 uses the most popular back-end language at the moment, which can support high concurrent requests. Compared with traditional interpreted languages, the compilation speed is faster.

Improved Resource Monitor in TOS 5

The new iconic resource monitor board allows you to grasp the operating status of your TNAS comprehensively and intuitively in real-time; at-a-glance visibility of system load, CPU and memory usage, network traffic, disk I/O, device temperature, storage, processes, online users, listening ports, and system resource occupancy. Historical records of up to 30 days can be easily traced back.

Full One Button System Isolation Mode Available in TOS 5

TerraMaster’s unique security isolation mode completely isolates your TNAS device from the external network through network isolation, digital signature, and file format restriction, providing a safer operating environment and effective protection against virus and ransomware attacks.

Support of the WORM File System in TOS5

Data can be written at one time within the customized protection period and cannot be deleted or modified. This effectively protects your data from malicious damage, deletion, or tampering and provides data protection for up to 70 years; essential for the financial, judicial, medical, and scientific research sectors, as well as other business users.

Improved Storage, Backup & Sync Features in Terramaster TOS 5

TOS 5 features optimized storage architecture to reduce the system space occupation. The file deduplication system, file system compression, TRAID elastic array, and other functions also save you up to 40% of storage space

Single Portal Folder Level Backup for Home and SMB Users

Reduce complexity and embrace simplicity. All backup needs can be completed through a single portal, providing one-stop backup solutions including Central Backup, TerraSync, Duple Backup, Snapshot, USB Copy, CloudSync, and other comprehensive backup tools. This meets your clients’ disaster recovery and restoration requirements, as well as backup policies and destinations.

Business Focused ProActive Backups for Larger Business

To improve management efficiency, medium and larger-sized businesses need a centralized and active backup solution for multiple users, PCs, and servers. Centralized Backup is a business-oriented backup solution that supports backup and restoration for multiple device types. You can centrally backup data of dozens or even hundreds of PCs, servers, or virtual machines with only one TNAS.

New Flexible RAID Support in TRAID in TOS 5

By optimizing the traditional RAID mode, TerraMaster RAID (TRAID) gives you flexible disk array configuration, flexible online migration, capacity expansion, and redundancy policies. As well as improving disk space utilization, it also provides solutions and security protection for storage space changes caused by new business requirements. Much like Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) in that you can mix drive capacities for improved storage after the RAID redundancy calculation. I reached out to Terramaster directly on this and they confirm that this function is supported in TOS 5.

Multiple Client Sync with TerraSync in TOS 5

TerraSync, a TerraMaster self-developed synchronization tool, realizes data synchronization between multiple users and multiple devices. It efficiently implements data sharing among branch offices and data synchronization between individuals on multiple devices and platforms, which assists employees in collaborative work and improves work efficiency.

New CloudSync Application for Bare Metal-to-Cloud Live Sync in TOS 5

The new CloudSync app integrates multiple cloud drives and syncs them into one application, including Google Drive, One Drive, Amazon S3, Backblaze, Box, Dropbox, Koofr, OpenDrive, pCloud, Yandex disk, and Aliyun. This allows users to centralize the management of multiple synchronization tasks and add a variety of cloud disk synchronization options including Aliyun and Rackspace. A more flexible, stable, and efficient solution for data synchronization between your TNAS and cloud drives is facilitated by your choice of customized synchronization strategies, such as traffic control, scheduled tasks, and encryption.

CCTV Surveillance in Terramaster TOS 5

TNAS is an ideal video recording storage device. The new Surveillance Manager makes full use of TNAS storage resources to realize camera management, real-time monitoring, video storage, playback, query, event and activity monitoring and recording, providing you with economic and flexible video monitoring management tools to safeguard your personal and property safety.

AI Photo Recognition Now Available in TOS 5 with Terra Photo

Terra Photos is TerraMaster’s brand-new AI photo management application that provides smart solutions for your photo management and sharing; it uses intelligent AI algorithms to identify and classify faces, pets, locations, and other objects in your photos.

Docker Added to Existing Container Tools in TOS 5

Combined with docker-compose and portainer, the new Docker Manager features an optimized operation interface, with multiple new features which provide visual management that meets all your requirements for container customization and flexible configuration.

New Update to Terramaster’s Mobile App, TNAS Mobile 5

To adapt to TOS 5, TNAS mobile has also ushered in a comprehensive update, TNAS mobile 5. Featuring an optimized user interface and interaction, it has also added mobile phone backup, photo management, personal folders, team folders, data safebox, TerraSync, remote administrator, and other functions, which provide more convenience for remote access, mobile office, and remote management of your TNAS.

TOS 4 on the Terramaster F4-423 NAS

Once again, I need to highlight that the F4-423 NAS needs to be viewed with its price tag always in mind. With software and hardware that is available on other NAS brand devices, it is easy to imagine that this device is a much, more affordable alternative to QNAP or Synology NAS. However, you should always remember that this device is still aimed at those looking for a first dip into NAS and if should be compared with WD NAS and D-Link when making your choice of NAS. it is DEFINITELY better than those and arrives at a better price, but it may still be a year or more before the Terramaster TOS Software platform can compete with DSM and QTS. That said, the Beta is really showing that TOS is going to evolve even further and for more information about the TerraMaster TOS operating System, I recommend visiting my software review here from a couple of years ago.

Key Software and NAS tasks that are supported are:

  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD
  • Apple Time Machine Backup
  • Cloud Migration and Synchronization
  • NAS to NAS Rsync Support
  • Plex Media Server
  • Docker

  • Mail Server
  • Web Server
  • DLNA Media Server
  • WordPress Server
  • Download Server
  • Snapshot Support

With a good range of applications to choose from, as well as the support of modern NAS applications in the mix, the TerraMaster F4-423 does give you a good base with which to start your NAS journey, though it may feel a little streamlined for those with greater NAS experience.

Terramaster F4-423 NAS Review – Conclusion

Terramaster still continues to be the most affordable fully-featured provider of the whole NAS market and although a number of their solutions have always felt a little rough around the edges, you always got the impression that you were getting a good deal for the hardware that was available from QNAP and Synology. Now in 2022/2023, the same continues to be true but in the F4-423 NAS’ case, you are actually getting some pretty top tier (for the Home/Prosumer) market at a price tag that is really tough to argue with. Terramaster has clearly been watching their bigger competitors and cherry-picked the features that people have been asking for (2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe SSD bays, etc) for this new generation. In terms of software, things are a little less convincing and although TOS 5 (currently in Beta at the time of writing) still continues to evolve into something genuinely fully featured and impressive, TOS 4 that the F4-423 includes at launch is usable (if unexciting) platform that provides the base level services that a new NAS user would want, but lacks killer apps that their competitors are offering right now (File Streaming, AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc). Most of these ARE included in TOS5, but until it arrives much later in 2022 in a full release, the F4-423 feels like a powerful NAS that doesn’t have the software to show off its strengths yet. If you are reading this later in 2022 or 2023, this might well be irrelevant though, as the brand rolls out their bit firmware update to ALL Terramster NAS devices. Overall, I definitely CAN recommend the F4-423 NAS for its hardware, for Plex Media server or as an affordable multi-tier backup solution, but if you are looking for a NAS for more tailored data access or in a much more fully-featured package – hold out a little longer till TOS 5 gets released first.

PROS of the Terramaster F4-423 CONS of the Terramaster F4-423
  • 2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
  • Good CPU for the Price Point
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
  • Great RAID Options
  • Snapshot Replication
  • BTRFS Support if preferred
  • Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
  • 4K Video transcoding natively
  • A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB – TBC)
  • Includes two M.2 NVMe SSD Bays that can be used for storage or caching
  • Default 4GB memory is 2133Mhz
  • HDMI Currently Unsupported
  • Until TOS5 is Fully Released, TOS Software feels a little empty of Killer-Apps (AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc)

Click the link below to take you to your local Amazon store and where to buy the terramaster F4-423 NAS.

 

 

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