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QNAP NAS Attacked By Deadbolt AGAIN – What Happened?

6 septembre 2022 à 23:00

New Reports of Deadbolt Ransomware Attacks on QNAP NAS via Photo Station

It would appear that the Deadbolt ransomware attack that has been a persistent pain for QNAP (and other NAS brands) in 2022 continues to remain current, with new reports emerging of further attacks of NAS systems in September 2022. The vulnerability that has been reported to be being exploited is in the QNAP Photo Station application and although a day one patch for the application for all current use QTS software systems has been issued, it has still resulted in users being hit in this new wave of attacked by the deadbolt ransomware group. Although the scale of this latest attack does not match that of previous attacks by the group, it is worth highlighting that the encryption of how this ransomware deploys and presentation to the user upon execution have changed a little, so even if you are not affected, it might still be worth getting clued up on this. In this article, I will cover everything that is known so far about this Photo Station vulnerability that was exploited, why deadbolt is still a thing, how it attacks, what you can do to avoid it and what can you do if you have been hit.

How Does Deadbolt Attack QNAP NAS?

Deadbolt Ransomware’s methodology in attacking your system has not changed much at all since its first attacks. We will touch on in a bit about why deadbolt is still around and the nature of software updates vs vulnerabilities, but for now we can discuss this specific instance. A vulnerability was found in Photo Station for QNAP NAS QTS/QuTS this week and this vulnerability created a small hole in the access control of the NAS that could be used to exploit as an attack vector for ransomware to be executed. It would still require your NAS to be setup in a weak remote access state (i.e. you allowed internet access to your system without sufficient layers of encryption, protection and/or authentication, such as a VPN, Firewall or disabling UPnP – will touch on these later) in order to reach ‘photo station’, but if it could, it could then execute the command to the QNAP NAS to encrypt it’s contents, create a ransom text not and modify the login screen to show the deadbolt warning. This one:

QNAP highlighted this vulnerability on their security advisor page, here under ID QSA-22-24 and state that they detected a new DeadBolt ransomware campaign on the morning of September 3rd, 2022 (GMT+8). The campaign appears to target QNAP NAS devices running Photo Station with internet exposure. This is not via the myQNAPCloud services, but rather users allowing remote access with open router ports, but no VPN or restrictive access rules in place. QNAP issued the following statement:

QNAP Product Security Incident Response Team (QNAP PSIRT) had made the assessment and released the patched Photo Station app for the current version within 12 hours. QNAP urges all QNAP NAS users to update Photo Station to the latest available version. QuMagie is a simple and powerful alternative to Photo Station. We recommend using QuMagie to efficiently manage photo storage in your QNAP NAS. We strongly urge that their QNAP NAS should not be directly connected to the Internet. This is to enhance the security of your QNAP NAS. We recommend users to make use of the myQNAPcloud Link feature provided by QNAP, or enable the VPN service. This can effectively harden the NAS and decrease the chance of being attacked.

Additionally, this warning that is displayed to the end user also has an additional note directed towards QNAP themselves that highlights that they are willing to share the nature of the exploited vulnerability for 5BTC. See here:

Now, as nefarious and immoral as you might find the Deadbolt ransomware attackers and what is being done here, we also have to put the spotlight on QNAP. In their defence (I will go into more detail on this later on in the article), they are a software developer that provides a range of tools and services to maintain many backups of your data, hugely configurable security options/variables to their system, a remote access cloud portal that acts at a checkpoint in myQNAPCloud, they provide regular updates to their software/service applications with automated update options and they provide a public security advisory panel and can only remain a single step ahead of vulnerabilities. HOWEVER, when vulnerabilities are found in their platform and services (even if patched out – which relies on users remaining updated), it continues to bring into question the strength, depth and attention to detail of their security teams during development. It is true that QNAP is not the only brand that has been successfully targetted by deadbolt (see Asustor HERE and Terramaster HERE) as well as not being the only brand targetted by malware (see Synology Synolocker HERE) , but QNAP still seems to persistently be the one that gets hit most. Ultimately, ARE QNAP NAS SAFE? We discussed this over on the YouTube channel back on Febuary 2022

PSA – GET YOUR BACKUPS IN ORDER!

Before you even go one paragraph further, I have a simple question for you – do you have a backup in place? If yes, then carry on to the next part. If not, and I cannot stress this enough, GET ONE NOW. The time you are spending reading this you could be susceptible to data loss in about 10 different ways without even factoring in ransomware (Power failure leading to hard drive corruption, Malware from a slightly iffy google search this morning, cloud storage provider going bust, OS failure on your device, etc). In this day and age owning a sufficient data backup is as sensible as buying a raincoat or looking both ways when you cross the street – you don’t do it because you like rain or like looking at cars, you do it because they are peace of mind, they are a safety net, they are for caution in case of the worst. It is a bit tenuous, but owning one or multiple backups always make me think of this quote from Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King:

shawshank redemption book

“There are really only two types of men in the world when it comes to bad trouble,” Andy said, cupping a match between his hands and lighting a cigarette. “Suppose there was a house full of rare paintings and sculptures and fine old antiques, Red? And suppose the guy who owned the house heard that there was a monster of a hurricane headed right at it. One of those two kinds of men just hopes for the best. The hurricane will change course, he says to himself. No right-thinking hurricane would ever dare wipe out all these Rembrandts, my two Degas horses, my Jackson Pollocks and my Paul Klees. Furthermore, God wouldn’t allow it. And if worst comes to worst, they’re insured. That’s one sort of man. The other sort just assumes that hurricane is going to tear right through the middle of his house. If the weather bureau says the hurricane just changed course, this guy assumes it’ll change back in order to put his house on ground zero again. This second type of guy knows there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” 

Get a Backup in place

Why Is Deadbolt Ransomware STILL HAPPENING?

First and foremost, it is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT that users understand the risks of allowing remote access to their NAS system (not just QNAP, but ANY NAS Drive) without specific port discipline, a VPN, a Firewall and/or custom admin credential/enabling. In the case of this recent resurgence of the ransomware attack that was executed by the Deadbolt group, it is important to note that it is made possible by two KEY VARIABLES! Weaknesses and Opportunity.

Now, with weakness, this stems from a vulnerability is found in a software/application – not uncommon and ALL software can only be one step ahead of those looking to break it. to give it a little context. In 2022 there have been 671 vulnerabilities found in Microsoft software services, 22 in Synology NAS software services and Apple iOS has had 79. This is not to besmirch their software/platforms, but ultimately the minute a software maker releases a new version/update (often to plug vulnerabilities that were found), the nefarious will then get to work on finding vulnerabilities in which to exploit for financial gain. That is why software updates are so incredibly important! However, a weakness is no good without access and/or an opportunity.

An Opportunity (in the context of ransomware and malware attacks) can largely be defined as an open door (no matter how small) that can be used to inject a command to the NAS as an administrator (eg. encrypt everything). THIS is where one of the biggest misconceptions (and indeed finger-pointing) happens when an incident of ransomware, malware or data loss occurs. A vulnerability in a software platform (especially when the bulk of software in common use today is built on Linux universally) is only any use when it can be executed. So, in the case of a NAS vulnerability, such as the Photo Station vulnerability that has been identified, it can only be exploited if the NAS user has allowed external access to their NAS via the internet. This access may well be behind user login credentials, but lacked the barrier of a VPN, a Firewall setup with amply restrictions, trusted access credentials/identity, limited/zero admin control, 2-step verification, specific port access to a GUI and many other restrictions/limitations/authentications that can be enabled. Not all these hurdles and/or barriers are as effective as others (with some vulnerabilities being built on backend access), but all/most of these should be considered when allowing any form of external access to your NAS outside of your local network. Equally, you NEED to become more acquainted with your router! Get into your router and reactive UPnP settings, as this eliminates the possibility of applications on your NAS inadvertently opening ports remotely without your direct knowledge.

  • Disable the Port Forwarding function of the router: Go to the management interface of your router, check the Virtual Server, NAT, or Port Forwarding settings, and disable the port forwarding setting of NAS management service port (port 8080 and 433 by default).
  • Disable the UPnP function of the QNAP NAS: Go to myQNAPcloud on the QTS menu, click the “Auto Router Configuration,” and unselect “Enable UPnP Port forwarding.”

Do keep in mind though that you might well be using external UPnP services on your router for other things in your home or office environment.

What is UPnP Port Forwarding?

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a way of quickly forwarding the ports in use to other devices on a network automatically with one setting change and no additional configuration needed. UPnP Port Forwarding is widely used by many network devices, allowing them to communicate with each other more efficiently and to automatically create workgroups for data sharing, among other applications.

Is UPnP Port Forwarding safe?

UPnP is not a secure protocol. It uses network UDP multicasts, no encryption and no authentication. Since UPnP is not authenticated, one device could request port mapping for an another one. Hackers can abuse UPnP to attack through malicious files to infect your system and gain control. Despite its convenience, UPnP may expose your device to public networks and malicious attacks. It is recommended that your QNAP NAS stay behind your router and firewall without a public IP address. You should disable manual port forwarding and UPnP auto port forwarding for QNAP NAS in your router configuration

How Many QNAP NAS Users Have Been Affected by Deadbolt?

Getting the numbers on how many users have been impacted by this recent attack by the deadbolt group on QNAP NAS devices is exceedingly hard to identify. On the one hand, as this photo station vulnerability has been identified and effective in QTS 5 it has the potential to be high, however, it still heavily relies on having a system set up in a comparatively weak remote access configuration AND having a specific application with access credentials running. This is further reduced in scope as the Photo Station has been largely overtaken in use by QNAP users by the AI-powered QuMagie application. Still, the Photo Station application still has several ‘professional photographer’ services/structural qualities that keep it in use. The Bleeping Computer website identified 182 submissions to the ID Ransomware site reported for ‘Deadbolt’ (which requires uploading an encrypted file, attacker address and/other identifies for clarification of an attack type) with a spike that started on the 3rd of September (necessitating the patch o nthe 4th Sept). How many of the previously submitted reports in August 2022 were related to this photo station vulnerability (at that point unidentified) and how many were repeats by any one user or related to a QNAP NAS that was not updated since the early phase of the Deadbolt ransomware attacks of Jan 2022 cannot be confirmed. Nevertheless, these are still noticable numbers and can comfortably be classed as victims hitting the 3 digit mark.

Source for the below graphic and article – https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/qnap-patches-zero-day-used-in-new-deadbolt-ransomware-attacks

Alternatively, you can use server/internet service monitors such as censys to search for reported text that is used in the Deadbolt ransomware note. However, this is not the most precise and only further highlights that only QNAP themselves and Deadbolt know the extent of impact of this campaign. Unlike the original Deadbolt attacks of Jan 2022 of QNAP devices, research and strategic advisors at Unit42 noted back in May ’22 that the attack/injection of the ransomware and how it is presented to the user changed (though seemingly still using the same exploit that remained in systems that were not updated, therefore still vulnerable to the exploit in older QTS/QuTS versions and/or continued use in weak internet-facing access scenarios:

Unit 42 is observing a new wave of attacks of the Deadbolt #ransomware targeting QNAP NAS devices involving a new lock screen with updated JavaScript. Cortex Xpanse discovered ~3000 instances of infected devices. Details at https://t.co/uj0TOqACxu pic.twitter.com/RmSzZOAsTq

— Unit 42 (@Unit42_Intel) May 16, 2022

There has been no substantial analysis of the latest version of DeadBolt, but Unit 42 said in it’s May summary that the ransomware program made some significant changes since the March campaign. Specifically, the DeadBolt program now uses revised JavaScript code with a stronger SHA-256 implementation, building on the previous, lower-level ‘SubtleCrypto’ cryptography. Unit 42 researchers said this was likely changed to a stronger standard to accelerate the key verification process and also to ensure the verification works on browsers that do not support the SubtleCrypto API.

What Should You Do To Protect Your QNAP NAS from Deadbolt Ransomware Attacks?

If you are using the QNAP Photo Station application, then you need to suspend using it until you have updated to the latest version. It is worth highlighting again that this vulnerability will ONLY affect you if you have your QNAP NAS directly connected to internet access services (i.e NOT using a VPN or the myQNAPcloud link service). Updates for Photo Station have been issued for QTS 4 and QTS 5 on the brand’s official app portal of your NAS and directly downloadable from their official website:

  • QTS 5.0.1: Photo Station 6.1.2 and later
  • QTS 5.0.0/4.5.x: Photo Station 6.0.22 and later
  • QTS 4.3.6: Photo Station 5.7.18 and later
  • QTS 4.3.3: Photo Station 5.4.15 and later
  • QTS 4.2.6: Photo Station 5.2.14 and later

Outside of QNAP Photo Station, it is incredibly important that users maintain a secure layer/barrier between your NAS and your external internet connection. To protect your NAS from the DeadBolt ransomware, QNAP strongly recommends securing your QNAP NAS devices and routers by following these instructions:

  1. Disable the port forwarding function on the router.
  2. Set up myQNAPcloud on the NAS to enable secure remote access and prevent exposure to the internet.
  3. Update the NAS firmware to the latest version.
  4. Update all applications on the NAS to their latest versions.
  5. Apply strong passwords for all user accounts on the NAS.
  6. Take snapshots and back up regularly to protect your data.

Now, QNAP myQNAPCloud services are not the same as just opening your NAS connection from LAN only to LAN+Remote. myQNAPCloud creates a connection between the NAS and the QNAP access servers via a secure portal (with encryption, SSL certificates and other configurable options that can prevent interception via this tunnel). Then, if you want to create a connection remotely with your NAS, you do so via the QNAP access server – as opposed to the directly NAS connection. This DOES result in a drop in file transmission speeds remotely (as you are moving through an additional transit point), but increases security and authentication substantially. The alternative to this would be to use restrictive/specific open of ports on your router AND recommended use of a VPN – which is definitely a valid and ‘best of all worlds’ solution, but a little more technically advanced than many users are able to configure effectively/securely). If you want to set up a remote myQNAPcloud connection, you need to:

  1. Log on to QTS as an administrator.
  2. Open myQNAPcloud.
  3. Disable UPnP port forwarding.
    1. Go to Auto Router Configuration.
    2. Deselect Enable UPnP Port forwarding.
  4. Enable DDNS.
    1. Go to My DDNS.
    2. Click the toggle button to enable My DDNS.
  5. Do not publish your NAS services.
    1. Go to Published Services.
    2. Deselect all items under Publish.
    3. Click Apply.
  6. Configure myQNAPcloud Link to enable secure remote access to your NAS via a SmartURL.
    1. Go to myQNAPcloud Link.
    2. Click Install to install myQNAPcloud Link on your NAS.
    3. Click the toggle button to enable myQNAPcloud Link.
  7. Restrict which users can remotely access your NAS via the SmartURL.
    1. Go to Access Control.
    2. Next to Device access controls, select Private or Customized.
      Note: Selecting Private allows only the QNAP ID logged in to myQNAPcloud to access the NAS via the SmartURL. Selecting Customized allows you to invite other QNAP ID accounts to access the device via the SmartURL.
    3. If you selected Customized, click Add and specify a QNAP ID to invite the user.
  8. Obtain the SmartURL by going to Overview.

The final thing to do is to have two applications running on your QNAP NAS regularly. Malware Remover and the QNAP Security Counselor. The Malware tool is for scanning your system for existing threats that may have been installed/engineered inside your system. It then isolates, quarantines as appropriate and removes. The Security Councilor tool is designed to periodically check the security of your entire system, find any potential for an opening that a vulnerability could be exploited via, then makes recommendations on how to close it. This latter tool can be configured via a number of pre-set profiles that scale in severity, but can also be set to custom variables too. These (alongside having updates on both the QTS/QuTS OS and apps via the app center set to automatically download and install) should be among the FIRST things you set up on your QNAP NAS.

It is also REALLY important to note that these applications analyze and identify KNOWN vulnerabilities. They are not omnipresent and, much like in the case of the Photo Station vulnerability that has been identified here and a day 1 patch issued, until it IS recognized as a threat/attack-vector, it will not be seen

What Should You Do If Your QNAP NAS was Hit By Deadbolt Ransomware?

Unfortunately, as it stands, there is little resolution in place to reverse Deadbolt ransomware encryption without paying the 0.05 BTC to the attackers. Some users have reported that snapshots have been useful in reversing the impact (heavily dependent on your retention policy and location, as you still need the original file in a comparable form for snapshots to work). However, a full means to reverse deadbolt is not available.  Previous attacks were able to be reverse using data recovery tools such as PhotoRec to restore them to their original version on an external drive, but success in this method with deadbolt has not been exactly positive. If you have no backup in place and your data is truly irreplaceable, then paying might be the only option (at least in the short term). You can follow the instructions that are attached to the Deadbolt warning page on your QNAP NAS GUI. If you have lost access to this GUI in an QNAP update (understandable that you might action this in the vein hope of halting/reversing damage), here is a Deadbolt Decryptor tool (this still requires the encryption key however) – https://www.emsisoft.com/ransomware-decryption/deadbolt

There are several useful references and setup pointers listed in the exceptionally long QNAP forum port HERE and here are their recommendations for you in the event you have been hit:

  • If you have full external intact backups, reset your NAS and restore from backups
  • If you have no backups and don’t intend to pay, try Qrescue (if your NAS has more than 50% free space and was not written to, chances are ‘OK’ to recover most files)
  • If you decide to pay, here is a ‘user’ story’ (Make sure that all auto-updates are disabled during the decryption, so the process is not interrupted)
  • To find your decryption key after paying the ransom check here.
  • If you are missing the ransom note and bitcoin address (removed by a QNAP firmware update or Malware remover) check here

The Sad Truth about Servers, Security and Vulnerabilities

Vulnerability > Update > vulnerability > update > rinse > repeat

No platform, software or service is going to be 100% bulletproof. You can increase your personal layers of security (VPNs, Encryption, layers, restrictive white lists, etc) to hit 99.99% but whatever way you are looking at it, everything we use is software-based and therefore, fallible. Equally, users cannot pretend that it is still the early days of the internet anymore and still be annoyed when a statistical possibility that should have been factored against was not. Do I think QNAP NAS are safe? I’m sorry to say that the answer is never going to be a simple Yes/No. I think they provide what they say they provide and I think that QNAP hardware is still the best in the market right now. But their software needs to be less rushed, the extra time/budget be spent on that software, or utilize a trusted 3rd party. The need to relinquish some of the customization of their platform in efforts to remove some of the configuration out of the hands of less tech-savvy users who end up overly reliant in defaults. Perhaps a much more rigorous setup policy that, on day 1, have an EXPERT door and a NOVICE door, with randomized defaults and extremely regimented update rules on the latter. Equally, the brand (though better than it was) needs to work on its communication with its end-user base, both in the event of critical issues and education on what the user base needs to have to increase security OUTSIDE of their product. I still recommend the brand, I still think users should use their products, but we need to be realistic and honest with ourselves about what we buy and our expectations. If I buy a QNAP NAS, I expect it to store the data I store in it and allow me access to it on my terms, but ‘my terms’ might be a lot more/less strict than the next person and with that comes due diligence in 2022. I hope that the most recent ransomware attack, deadbolt, is the last ‘big’ one we hear about the year/moving forward, but I do not think it will be. More than just QNAP, one look at the vulnerabilities listed on security advisories of all the brands tell us that there is big money to be made by these intruders and the brands can only stay 1 step ahead. As always, me and Eddie here on NASCompares have been running a page that links to the bigger NAS security Advisory pages that gets regularly updated, so if you want to get notifications on these as they get added (pulled from the official pages themselves), then you can visit the page below and put your email in for updates when they happen. Have a great week and backup, backup, BACKUP.

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Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 – Setup, Users, Updates, Remote Access and Security Settings

5 septembre 2022 à 01:10

DSM 7 Installation Guide – Setting Your Synology NAS Up Right – FIRST TIME!

If you have purchased your new Synology NAS (or it is soon to be arriving and you want to be prepared to set it up), then congratulations! You are on your way to enjoying your very own private storage solution that can allow you to access your data in your home, business or remotely anywhere in the world. However, it is worth noting that although a lot of the setup of a Synology NAS is quite straightforward, there are a number of early choices during the initial installation that, if made incorrectly or in haste, cannot be reversed without restoring the system to factory settings. Therefore it is understandable that when setting up your Synology NAS for the first time, that you want to get it right the first time too! So today I want to start my 5 part series here on NASCompares where I will be guiding yoU through setting up your Synology as smoothly as possible. This guide has been made using a number of setup elements from Synology’s own resources, along with my own recommendations on your setup and links to more unique tutorials you may find helpful. In part 1, we will be going through setting the NAS up physically, initializing the DSM 7 software and services, creating a storage area, multiple users, customizing the security settings to your needs and establishing safe remote access to your Synology NAS. The following guide (part one at least) should take you a little under over 30 minutes to do EVERYTHING, with the remaining parts being a little more optional and centred around more user-specific applications and services. If you would prefer to follow the video guide on this, I have released a 9 Part video guide series for Synology NAS in 2022 available below. Otherwise, let’s get started on setting up your Synology NAS.

Here are the 9 Parts of the Synology Video Guide Series

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2021/2022 Part I – 2021/2022 – DSM 7 – RAID – VOLUMES – SHARES – MAPPED DRIVES

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #2 – Snapshots, NAS to NAS/CLOUD/USB, SaaS Backups & Sync

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #3 – Photography, Indexing, Sharing & Moving from Google

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #4 – Music Audio, Indexing, Sharing and Streaming over DLNA

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #5 – Video Station, Stream to Fire TV, DLNA and Indexing TV/Films

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #6 – Setting Up Plex Media Server Right First Time

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #7 – Setting Up Surveillance Station, Cameras, Control and Alert

Synology NAS Setup Guide 2022 #8 – Setting Up an iSCSI Target and a Storage LUN

What you will need when setting up your Synology NAS the first time.

  • A Synology NAS (duh!)
  • An active internet connection and Router/Modem (not essential, but will make initial setup and firmware 10x easier)
  • Access to a Router or Switch that is also accessible with a client computer/mobile device
  • An available mains power outlet

That is all you need for Part 1 of this guide. Let’s begin.

Physical Installation of a Synology NAS

Physical Installation of the hard drives or SSD into the Synology NAS is very, very easy and is completely toolless (for Hard drives, SSD require you to use 4 screws for each that are in the accessories box). Once you have unboxed all the accessories, you need to remove the trays (all of them, or as many as you need for your hard drives).

Then each tray has removable clips on either side. Once removed, you can slot the hard drive into the tray, with the connector facing out and the manufacturer label facing up.

Then put the clips back, ensuring the 4 plugs are inserted into the holes on the drive. Then just slide each tray+drive back into the NAS. Once this is done, connect the power brick into the rear of the NAS and then the mains power lead into the power brick and the wall socket.

Finally, you need to connect the network LAN cable into the network port on the rear of the NAS and connect the other end to your router, modem or switch (in simple speak, the box your internet service provider have you or the box the other internet things are connected to. You can now click the power button on the front of the NAS and you will hear a beep and the device will take around 2-3mins to initialise. If you are having difficulty with the physical installation of your Synology NAS, you can use the first part of the video below, where I will show you each step of the physical installation and then move on to the DSM 7 setup with the Synology Assistant and Web GUI via your browser.

The Synology NAS runs on its very own operating system, known as Diskstation Manager (DSM) and this is what separates it from most traditional USB direct-attached storage (DAS) and network drives that are just brainless storage. DSM allows users to run hundreds of applications, each with their own user interface (UI) on the NAS, that they can access on desktop computers, mobile devices and media devices. After you have installed hard drives and booted the device up, and found the device in your network (using the free Synology Assistant application for PC/Mac or DS Finder mobile app) you will be asked to proceed with the Synology DSM installation.

Install DSM 7 using a desktop Web Browser with the Web Assistant

Your Synology NAS comes with a built-in tool, Web Assistant, which helps you download the latest version of DSM from the Internet and install it on your Synology NAS. To use Web Assistant, follow the steps below:
1. Power on your Synology NAS.
2. Open a web browser on a computer within the same network where your Synology NAS is located, and go to “find.synology.com”. The status of your NAS should be Not installed.
3. Select your Synology NAS and click Connect on Web Assistant.
4. Click Install to start the installation process and follow the on-screen instructions

• Both your Synology NAS and computer must be on the same local network.
• We suggest using Chrome or Firefox as the browser for DSM installation.
• For more information on the setup of Synology NAS and DSM, please refer to the Hardware Installation Guide for your Synology NAS models available via Synology’s Download Center

Install DSM 7 with Your Mobile with the DS finder Application

You can also install DS finder (App Store/Google Play Store) on your mobile device to install DSM as demonstrated below:
1. Power on your Synology NAS.
2. Connect your mobile device to the local network where your Synology NAS is located, and launch DS finder.
3. Tap SET UP NEW NAS to start the setup process.
4. Follow the on-screen instructions to establish the connection between your mobile device and Synology NAS, and tap SEARCH. DS finder will search for your Synology NAS. The status of your NAS should be Not installed.
5. Select your Synology NAS and tap INSTALL to start the installation process and follow the onscreen instructions.

Notes:
• We take Android 10 as an example in this chapter. The actual steps may vary across OS versions and devices.
• Both your Synology NAS and mobile device must be on the same local network.
• DS finder can only run on Android and iOS devices.
• DS finder supports installing DSM on most Synology NAS models (except rack-mount models and desktop models of FS/XS series).

How to Configure storage space on your Synology NAS with the Storage Manager

This section guides you through the steps of storage pool creation using the built-in package, Storage Manager. When it’s your first time launching Storage Manager, Storage Creation Wizard will help you create and configure storage pools and volumes. A storage pool is a single storage unit consisting of multiple drives. A volume is a storage space created on a storage pool. You have to create at least one volume to store data on your Synology NAS.

How to Create a Storage pool and Volume

  1. Launch Storage Manager in the Main Menu. Storage Creation Wizard will pop up to lead you through the steps below
  2. Choose a RAID type to protect your storage. Some RAID types are available on certain models according to the number of drive bays. To know which RAID type is proper for your storage pool, you can refer to the Understand RAID types section or this article.
  3. Deploy drives to constitute the storage pool.
  4. Allocate the volume capacity.
  5. Select a file system. We recommend Btrfs for its data protection features. To learn more about the differences between Btrfs and ext4, you can refer to this article

Btrfs – Supports various data protection features, e.g., snapshot, replication, point-in-time recovery, and data integrity check.

ext4 – Features wide compatibility with Linux operating systems. It has fewer hardware requirements than Btrfs.

  1. Confirm the settings. The system will automatically run the storage creation and optimization process in the background.

How to Access and Navigate the Synology DSM 7 GUI

After installing DSM on your Synology NAS, you can sign in to DSM using the DSM user account you have just added during the first-time installation. Follow the steps below to sign in via a web browser:
1. Make sure your computer and Synology NAS are connected to the same local network.
2. Open a browser on your computer and enter one of the following in the address bar:

• find.synology.com: Enter this URL only if your computer and Synology NAS are connected to the same local area network.
• IP address of your NAS:5000: If the IP address of your Synology NAS is “192.168.48.14”, type “192.168.48.14:5000”. The IP address depends on the settings made during the initial setup

  1. Enter your username and click the rightward arrow.
  2. Enter your password and click the rightward arrow again to sign in.

Key Navigation Options Options, A Brief Overview

The DSM Browser-Based Desktop GUI

After signing in, you can see the DSM desktop, where your application and package windows are displayed. You can also create desktop shortcuts to frequently used applications. why are you copying me!

The DSM 7 Tasks, Activity & Notification Panel

The taskbar is located at the top of the screen and includes the following items:why are you copying me!

1. Show Desktop: Minimize all launched applications and packages windows.
2. Main Menu: Click the icon to view and open applications and add-on packages. You can also click and drag to create desktop shortcuts.
3. Open applications: Displays currently launched applications and packages. You can right-click and pin the applications or packages to the taskbar for faster access in the future.

4. Upload Queue: Appears when you start uploading files to your Synology NAS. Click the icon to see more details, such as progress and upload speed.why are you copying me!
5. External Devices: This appears when an external device (e.g., a USB flash drive) is attached to your Synology NAS.
6. Notifications: Displays notifications, such as errors, status updates, and package installation notifications.why are you copying me!
7. Options: Click the menu to shut down, restart, or sign out of your Synology NAS. You can also select Personal from the menu to modify personal account settings.
8. Widgets: Show or hide widgets. Widgets are located on the right side of DSM desktop by default, displaying various types of system information, such as storage, system health, etc.
9. Search: Quickly find specific applications, packages, or DSM Help articles.

The DSM Appliations & Services via the Main Menu

You can find a list of applications and packages installed on your Synology NAS here. To create a desktop shortcut, open Main Menu, and click and drag an application or package to the side.

How to Change Personal Settings in DSM 7

You can select the Personal option from the drop-down menu to manage your account settings, such as the password, display language, sign-in methods, and display preferences. The following gives you an overview of tabs under this option:

• Account: Edit account settings, enable advanced sign-in methods, and view recent login activities of your DSM account (refer to this article for more information).
• Display Preferences: Edit date and time formats as well as the appearance of your desktop (refer to this article for more information).
• Email Delivery: Add your email accounts at this tab. These email accounts are used in the following scenarios (refer to this article for more information):
• Deliver files stored in File Station as attachments.
• Send event invitation emails via Synology Calendar.
• Send notification emails when sharing files with others via Synology Drive.
• Quota: View your quota on all volumes set by the administrator’s account, as well as the amount of capacity you have used on each volume. On models with Btrfs support, you can also view the quota and capacity usage of each shared folder.
• Others: Customize other personal account options (refer to this article for more information)

How and Why to Create a shared folder to start sharing files in DSM 7

Through the setup of a shared folder, you can turn your Synology NAS into a convenient and secure file-sharing center. This section explains the role of shared folders on DSM and gives you instructions on file management using File Station and DS file. Understand shared folders A shared folder is a home directory where you can store and manage files and subfolders. You must have at least one shared folder to store files on your Synology NAS. Data stored in shared folders can be kept private or shared with specific users or groups based on custom permission settings. Some packages or services require a dedicated shared folder to ensure functionality (most will create a folder automatically). Removing any shared folder removes all the data and their snapshots within the folder. If you need the data, please back them up first before the removal.

How to Navigate, Manage and Access Files in the DSM 7 Web-Based GUI

File Station is a built-in file management tool on DSM. File Station provides a centralized interface where you can access and manage files and folders with web browsers and grant other users access to files based on the permissions you set. This section guides you through the steps of file management via File Station. Launch File Station and click Settings. You can perform the following actions here:

• Configure general settings.
• Mount shared folders, virtual drives, servers, and cloud service.
• Allow specific users to share file links or make a request for file access.
• Set speed limits for file transfer via File Station.
• Enable converting HTML files to plain text for security reasons.

Search for files or folders. File Station provides regular search and advanced search to meet different requirements:
• To perform a regular search, click the folder where the desired files or folders are located. Type a keyword in the Search field.
• To perform an advanced search, go to the folder where the desired files or folders are located. Click the magnifying glass icon next to the Search field to expand the advanced search menu, where you can set multiple search conditions for a refined search result.

How to Manage files and folders Easily in DSM 7

Select a file or folder and click Action or simply right-click it to perform the following actions:
• To send a file as email attachments: Right-click a file and select Send as email attachments. You can directly send and share files as email attachments in File Station once you have set up email delivery settings in the pop-up Personal window.
• To view or rotate pictures: Double-click a picture to open it in a viewer window, where you can view and rotate pictures.
• To edit the access permissions: Right-click a file or folder and select Properties. You can edit access permissions at the Permission tab.
• To generate file-sharing links: Right-click a file or folder and select Share. A shared link will be automatically generated. You can further specify validity periods or enable secure sharing.

How to Create local Users and Groups in DSM 7

You can grant family members or business associates access to Synology NAS by creating user accounts for them. For the ease of administration, you can create groups to categorize users and manage them together. This section guides you through how to create users and groups in Control Panel.

How to Create a User in DSM 7

  1. Go to Control Panel > User & Group > User.
  2. Click Create to launch User Creation Wizard.
  3. On the Enter user information page, enter the following user information:

• Name
• Description (Optional)
• Email (Optional): Enter the user’s email address. System notifications, such as password reset messages, will be sent to the address specified here.
• Password
• Confirm password

  1. On the same page, configure the following advanced settings that will be applied to the
    user:

• Send a notification mail to the newly created user: You have to enable email notifications in Control Panel > Notification > Email to allow the system to send emails. If you have not yet set up notification settings, a confirmation dialog box will pop up and lead you to the setup page when you tick this checkbox. For more information on the notification settings, please refer to the Manage notifications section.
• Display user password in notification mail
• Disallow the user to change account password
• Password is always valid: You will not see this option If Password Expiration at the Advanced tab is not enabled. This option makes this user’s password always valid and the rules of Password Expiration will not be applied to this user.
5. On the Join groups page, specify the groups to which the new user should belong. The default groups are administrators, http, and users. Please refer to the Create a group section to customize groups.
6. On the Assign shared folders permissions page, choose which shared folders the user can access. When the user permissions conflict with group permissions, the privilege priority is as follows: No access > Read/Write > Read only. The Preview column displays the access privileges that will take effect.
7. On the Assign user quota page, you can specify the maximum amount of space the user can use for each volume/shared folder. Enter a value and select the size unit in the User Quota
field.

  1. On the Assign application permissions page, you can control which services the user can access. When the user permissions conflict with group permissions, the Deny permission always has priority over the Allow permission.
  2. On the Set user speed limit page, you can enable a speed limit for different services (e.g., File Station, FTP, rsync, etc.) to restrict the amount of bandwidth consumed by the user when transferring files. For each service, you can select one of the following:

• Apply group settings: If the user belongs to multiple groups, the group with a higher speed limit has priority over other ones.
• Set up speed cap: Specify upload and download speed limits in the fields to the right.
• Advanced settings: Two customized speed limits and the group limit can be applied to the user according to the schedule you set. You can modify the speed limit settings and set the schedule in the pop-up window.
10. On the Confirm settings page, check and confirm the setting summary.
11. Click Done to finish the settings.

How to Create a User Create a group

  1. Go to Control Panel > User & Group > Group.
  2. Click Create to launch Group Creation Wizard.
  3. On the Enter group information page, enter a group name.
  4. On the Select member’s page, add target users to the group.
  5. On the Assign shared folder permissions page, specify group members’ permissions to each shared folder.
  6. On the Assign group quota page, you can enable the usage quota for each service to control how much storage can be used by each group member.
  7. On the Assign application permissions page, you can control which services group members can access.
  8. On the Set group speed limit page, you can enable a speed limit for different services (e.g., File Station, FTP, Rsync, etc.) to restrict the amount of bandwidth consumed by each group member when transferring files. For each service, you can select one of the following:

• Set up speed cap: Specify upload and download speed limits in the fields to the right.
• Advanced settings: Two customized speed limits and no limits can be applied according to the schedule you set. You can modify the speed limit settings and set the schedule in the pop-up window.

  1. On the Confirm Settings page, check and confirm the setting summary.
  2. Click Done to finish the settings.

Creating a Synology Account for Remote Access & Managing Services

As an owner of Synology NAS, you should have a Synology Account to access Synology online services and manage your customer information. Different from DSM user accounts, which can be used to sign in to DSM, a Synology Account allows you to manage your billing information, registered Synology products, requests for technical support, and Synology online services (e.g., QuickConnect, DDNS, and Synology C2). For more information on the differences between Synology Accounts and DSM user accounts, please refer to this article.

Sign up for a Synology Account and bind your Synology NAS during DSM installation or by following the steps below:
1. Go to this website.
2. Complete the form and click Next. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to create a Synology Account

  1. Go to the email box you have entered, and click the email titled Synology Account – sign up (sent from “[email protected]”) to get your verification code.
  2. Enter the verification code and click Next.
  3. Check the terms and privacy policy. Click Submit.
  4. Go to Control Panel > Synology Account, and click Sign in or sign up for a Synology Account.

  1. In the pop-up window, enter the credentials of your Synology Account and click Sign In.
  2. Now you have successfully registered for a Synology Account and bound your NAS to it

Creating and Editing Your QuickConnect ID

QuickConnect allows client applications to connect to your Synology NAS via the Internet without setting up port forwarding rules. It can work with Synology-developed packages, such as Audio Station, Video Station, Download Station, Surveillance Station, Synology Photos, File Station, Note Station, CMS, Synology Drive, and mobile applications. You can either specify your QuickConnect ID during DSM installation, or activate the service by following the steps below:
1. Go to Control Panel > External Access > QuickConnect.
2. Tick the Enable QuickConnect checkbox

  1. If you have not signed in to your Synology Account, a login window will pop up. Enter your existing Synology Account information or create a new account in the window.
  2. Specify a new QuickConnect ID.
  3. Click Apply.

Notes:
• A customized QuickConnect ID can only include English letters, numbers, and dashes (-). It must start with a letter, and cannot end with a dash.

How to Configure & Increase Network Access Security

Once your Synology NAS is connected to the Internet, it is crucial to ensure system security. This section provides you four methods to strengthen the security of your DSM. Configuring a Firewall, utilizing the Security Advisor, Activating 2-Step Authentication and Enabling auto block, Account Protection, and DoS protection.

How to Activate the Firewall

  1. Go to Control Panel > Security > Firewall.
  2. Tick Enable firewall and click Apply. The default firewall profile will be applied to your DSM.

Utilizing the Security Advisor

Security Advisor is a built-in application that scans your Synology NAS, checks your DSM settings, and provides advice on how to address security weaknesses. Keep your Synology NAS secure by following the steps below:

Scan your Synology NAS immediately
1. Go to Security Advisor > Overview.
2. Click Scan.

  1. Fix the security weaknesses according to the scanning results.

Set up an automatic scan schedule
1. Go to Security Advisor > Advanced.
2. Tick Enable regular scan schedule under the Scan Schedule section. Select the time to run scanning from the drop-down menus.

  1. Click Apply to save the settings.

How to Activate 2-factor authentication

2-factor authentication provides additional security for your DSM account. Once this option is enabled, you will need to enter a one-time authentication code besides your password when signing in to DSM. The code can be obtained through authenticator apps (e.g., Synology Secure SignIn and Google Authenticator) installed on your mobile device.

To enable 2-factor authentication for your account, please follow the steps below:
• Go to Personal > Account and click 2-Factor Authentication to launch the setup wizard. Enter your password to continue.

• If Secure SignIn Service is already enabled in Control Panel > Security > Account, select from either Approve sign-in, hardware security key, or OTP for the second sign-in step.
• If Secure SignIn Service has not been enabled, OTP is the only available option for the second sign-in step.

How to Enable auto block, Account Protection, and DoS protection

You can safeguard DSM through these three mechanisms: autoblock, Account Protection, and DoS protection.

Autoblock unauthorized access

  1. Go to Control Panel > Security > Protection > Auto Block.
  2. Tick Enable autoblock.
  3. Enter a value in the Login attempts field and a value in the Within (minutes) field. An IP address shall be blocked when it exceeds the number of failed login attempts within the specified duration.
  4. Tick Enable block expiration and enter a value in the Unblock after (days) field to unlock a blocked IP address after the specified number of days.
  5. Click Apply to save the settings.

Enable Account Protection to prevent login attacks

  1. Go to Control Panel > Security > Account > Account Protection.
  2. Tick Enable Account Protection.
  3. Enter a value in the Login attempts field and a value in the Within (minutes) field. An untrusted client will be blocked if it exceeds the number of failed login attempts within the specified duration.
  4. For Untrusted clients, enter a value in the Cancel account protection (minutes later) field. The account protection will be cancelled after the specified duration.
  5. For Trusted clients, enter a value in the Unblock (minutes later) field. The account protection will be cancelled after the specified duration.
  6. Click Apply to save the settings

Setting up Defence against DoS attacks

A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is a malicious attempt to render network services unavailable by disrupting service functionality. To avoid this type of cyberattack, follow the steps below:
1. Go to Control Panel > Security > Protection > Denial of Service (DoS) Protection.
2. Tick Enable Dos Protection and click Apply

How to Ensure your Synology NAS & DSM 7 is Constantly updated

Synology releases DSM updates from time to time. Updates may include new features function improvements and performance enhancements. This section guides you through the configuration of DSM updates. Perform manual DSM update
1. Go to Synology’s Download Center.
2. Select your model from the two drop-down menus.
3. Go to the Operating System tab of search results and download an update file.
4. Go to DSM > Control Panel > Update & Restore > DSM Update.
5. Click Manual DSM Update.

  1. In the pop-up window, click Browse to upload the file

  1. Click OK and wait for the file to be uploaded.
  2. After reading through the update information and ticking the confirmation checkbox, click Update.
  3. Click Yes in the confirmation box. The installation can take 20 to 40 minutes. Please do not shut down the system during the update.
  4. The system will restart all services and packages when the update is complete.

How to Setup the NAS to Automatically Install DSM 7 Updates

  1. Go to DSM > Control Panel > Update & Restore > DSM Update.
  2. Click Update Settings.
  3. In the pop-up window, you can configure the following settings to check for DSM releases via Synology’s Download Center.

• Automatically install important updates that fixed critical security issues and bugs (Recommended): Allow the system to automatically install important DSM updates. To ensure that your system is always protected, we recommend enabling this option.
• Automatically install the latest update: Allow the system to automatically install new DSM updates when the system check finds new updates available.
• Notify me and let me decide whether to install the new update: Have the system notify you via desktop notifications when there is a new DSM update available. You can choose whether to download the update after receiving the notification.

• Check schedule: Decide when the system should check for available updates. Specify the check time from the drop-down menus.

• An automatic update only applies to minor updates and not to major updates. Generally, minor updates consist of bug fixes and security patches, major updates include brand-new features and performance enhancement in addition to bug fixes and security patches, and important updates contain fixes for critical security issues or bugs. For more information about important updates, please refer to this article.

 

 

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QNAP TS-464 vs TS-453D NAS – Which Should You Buy?

3 août 2022 à 01:17

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS Drive – Which Should You Buy?

Are you considering the QNAP TS-464 now it has been released? Or thinking of saving some money and opting for the predecessor TS-453D that is currently on sale? It’s a tough decision for some that want to ensure value for money, yet remain future-proof. It is no secret that QNAP, much like many other NAS brands, refreshes their range of available hardware every few years. We are all quite used to tech makers producing a new version of their ‘thing’ that makes big and bold promises to be bigger, better and faster than what came before! In the case of Network Attached Storage though, one big contributing factor that often necessitates the release of new versions of their products and series is the CPU. CPU manufacturers such as Intel and AMD tend to perform refreshes of their own to their portfolios (retooling manufacturing plants for the newer processors and ceasing production of the previous chip) and this leads to NAS brands having to change their CPU in line with the chip manufacturers new revisions shortly afterwards. This new CPU revision will often open the door to further improvements in the rest of the hardware too and that is eventually what governs the shape and abilities of a new NAS release. This all too often though leads to a period of around a year when retailers that provide these solutions (everything from Amazon to specialized retailers) will feature both the older and newer NAS systems in stock at the same time and that leads to many, MANY buyers wondering whether it is worth saving some money and purchasing the previous NAS release on ‘sale’ or spending more and getting the newest release to be more future-proof. Given that both the TS-464 and TS-453D run IDENTICAL versions of the QNAP QTS 5 system software and services, the temptation to save a few quid and/or spend that saving on network improvements or more storage is pretty high. Also, the TS-453D released back in 2020 arrived on the market at $630 and is now available to buy for $549 (or even as low as $438 during seasonal sales such as Prime Day and Black Friday), see below:

Now, if you compare that against the newly released QNAP TS-664, which has seemed to hit the eShops at around $600-650, that is quite a big difference in price tag. So, today I want to compare the QNAP TS-464 released now in spring 2022 against the 2020 released TS-453D, just to see where that extra goes. On the face of it, we have two very, VERY similar NAS drives that simply arrive in different colours but have all the same ports. However, even the smallest dig into their respective specifications reveals a huge difference in the bandwidth and capacity in how these ports have changed. Let’s begin

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS – Design

The design of the TS-464 and TS-453D are INCREDIBLY similar. The chassis that both NAS systems use a black, plastic and matt textured enclosure, with a coloured front side panel and a removable glass effect front cover that reveals the main SATA bays. This external plastic casing covers the internal metal structure completely and passive airflow via ventilation is quite discreet around the box, facilitated by a larger single 120mm rear fan on both NAS. This design has been their main choice for their flagship series since the release of the TS-x53B and TS-53Be devices in 2017/2018 and is quite understated. Of the two I SLIGHTLY prefer the copper effect side panel of the TS-464 over the TS-453D, but this is a purely personal preference.

QNAP TS-464 NAS

NASCompares Review HERE

168mm × 170mm × 226 mm

QNAP TS-453D NAS

NASCompares Review HERE

168mm × 170mm × 226 mm

Ventilation and notice on both the QNAP TS-464 and TS-453D are largely identical, however, there is the tiniest potential increase possibility in fan operation in the TS-464, due to the increased hardware inside the enclosure that I will touch on and the system needing to maintain an efficient system temperature. However, ventilation on both of these NAS systems is a limit more understated than alternatives from the likes of Synology, as the side vents on both these NAS are quite small (with a larger base vent panel under the SATA media bays) and I have always wondered how much impact the lockable front panel of this chassis design impacts airflow from that rear active cooling fan (negatively, positively or no different). But nevertheless, the chassis has little or no difference in the two years between the TS-453D and TS-464 being released.

QNAP TS-464 NAS QNAP TS-453D NAS

The rear of each of these NAS systems are largely the same, however, the rearrangement of the ports of the newer TS-464 (likely to make room for additional internal M.2 NVMe SSD slots that we will discuss later) has led to them being a little between distributed across the internal board. The vents in the metal rear panel of the older TS-453D are wider than those found on the TS-464, though I am not entirely sure of the reasoning behind this decision (dust control, creating increased velocity for the air via compressed channels? I have no idea), but it does not seem to affect system temperature either way when we checked the system diagnostics after 24 hours power-on. The fan is completely automated to increase/decrease as the system temperature monitor dictates but can be adjusted higher or lower in RPM manually if needed for reasons of preemptive high system activity or noise adjustment. Personally, I would ALWAYS leave this on automatic.

QNAP TS-464 NAS QNAP TS-453D NAS

Overall, the design of the QNAP TS-464 and TS-453D has changed so very little, that there is little or no difference between them of note. Both are particularly compact 4 bays that can be deployed pretty easily. Let’s dig down into the internal hardware of these two NAS, as it is there that we really really start to see how much has changed in two years and gives us a clearer picture of which one will be better value for money.

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS – Internal Hardware

Right, so HERE is where we start to see some big differences between the TS-464 and TS-453D, as QNAP are able to take advantage of a better CPU to spread their hardware and bandwidth a great deal more. Once again though, on the face of it, the specifications are incredibly similar. Both use quad-core Intel Celerons, both arriving at 2.0Ghz with embedded graphics and both using 4GB DDR4 memory, yet more than a $/£/€100-150 difference! This is down to the maximum capacities afforded to this hardware in the TS-464 and its scalability down the line. For example, the default memory inside the TS-453D (ADATA 2400Mhz DDR4 non-ECC SODIMM) is also accompanied by an additional empty memory slot to allow an additional 4GB more memory. As the older TS-453D has a CPU that has a maximum 8GB of memory, this is perfectly fine. However, the TS-464 NAS’ newer gen CPU allows up to 16GB of memory (4GB of 2666Mhz memory in the default model) across two upgradable slots. Likewise, the newer system features those M.2 NVMe slots that can be used for SSD storage upgrades. Although both the TS-453D and TS-464 support SSD caching (when a pool of SSDs is used to speed up data write/read in conjunction with the larger HDD RAID array), Qtier and as standalone storage pools, the TS-464 is the only one that provides this as immediately without any upgrade cards. This is the first of several key differences between the QNAP TS-464 and TS-453D NAS that stem from the CPU choice. Here is how they scale up specifically though:

Model TS-464

TS-453D

Price £559               $650              €675

£429               $530              €549

Storage Media Support 4x SATA, 2x m.2 NVMe 3×1 4x SATA
CPU Model Intel N5105/N5095 Intel J4125
CPU Frequency & Cores Quad-Core 2.0-2.9Ghz Quad-Core 2.0-2.7Ghz
CPU Benchmark Score CPU benchmark 4161 CPU benchmark 3006
Memory Default/Max 4-16GB SODIMM DDR4 4-8GB SODIMM DDR4
PSU Power & Design 90W External PSU 90W External PSU
Physical Fans 1x 120m FAN 1x 120m FAN

Now, that CPU is the big game-changer here. When Intel made the switch to the newer N5105/N5095 processor, this opened the door to a bunch more ways to extend the efficiency and bandwidth of those existing physical services. NAS systems are designed to be operational for days, weeks, months and even years at a time. Therefore, in order to maintain optimal performance, as well as lower power consumption and lessen the damage that long term operation can inflict on a processor, the CPUs used in NAS are a great deal more modest. In the case of the TS-453D and TS-464 NAS, they feature Intel Celeron processors, each featuring an embedded graphics component (allowing graphical operations, multimedia handling and visual data to be handled by a specialized area of the processor), quad-core architecture and a base level clock speed of 2.0Ghz that can be burst (turbo/increased when needed). However, the newer generation N5105/N5095 CPU in the TS-464 is able to reach a higher overall clock speed and also is more efficient (i.e uses a little less hardware resources to get a task done than it would take on the J4125 typically, so, therefore, can do more tasks overall when the full CPU power is utilized). Indeed, CPUBenchmark rated the newer CPU 30%+ higher in its scoring than the J4125 (again, as you would expect for a CPU released more than a year later by Intel), so this processor means that more can be done on the TS-464 (in like for like tasks) and also this CPU allows a greater range of hardware to be built into the system. CPUs are one of the largest quantifying factors of how a NAS is built and this is because they can only handle a certain amount of connected hardware (storage bays, ports, expansion slots, etc) when connected to a larger controller/motherboard. This is commonly referred to as the # of PCI lanes and the chipset used in the build of the system. Because this newer Intel N5105 / N5095 CPU has more lanes to use at once than the J4125, it allows the newer NAS drive to have more hardware.

QNAP TS-464 NAS – Intel N5105/N5095 CPU

QNAP TS-453D NAS – Intel J4125 CPU

These additional CPU resources, as well as the increased maximum memory and flexibility the TS-464 providing M.2 NVMe SSD slots can be used ultimately means that in terms of internal hardware, the newer released QNAP TS-464 wins over the TS-453D NAS. It is worth remembering that the M.2 NVMe SSD slots on the QNAP TS-464 are PCIe Gen 3 x1 (down to the Celeron CPU still not having anywhere near the scope in its flexibility that the likes of an Intel Core, Ryzen or Xeon might have) and will bottleneck at 1,000MB/s, but this is still better than nothing and as these slots are not an option on the TS-453D without the installation of an M.2 NVMe SSD upgrade card over PCIe.

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS – Ports & Connections

Once again, the ports and connections available on the QNAP TS-453D and TS-464 seem near enough identical at a glance, but even a casual dig into those spec sheets real some big differences. Both systems provide two 2.5GbE network ports that, along with up to 260-270MB/s throughput, also allow port-trunking (otherwise known as link aggregation) and with the use of a smart switch can provide 500-550MB/s performance to your connected network. Alongside this, both systems support the QNAP USB 3.2 to 5GbE adapter to add further network ports to the system too. Likewise, both system provide an HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS port and USB 2.0 ports for a KVM (keyboard, video, Mouse) setup to be used in conjunction with the included parallel HD Station application and its tools. The HDMI and direct interface of the QNAP is still pretty niche as a service on this system, but it has a number of useful multimedia, surveillance and VM utilities that can be quite impressive. Finally, Expansions on the TS-464 and TS-453D are largely the same, with QNAP offering 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12-Bay expansion chassis (arriving in JBOD or hardware RAID enabled) that connect over USB or an inclusive PCIe card. However, after this, things become a great deal more future proof and scalable on the TS-464 NAS.

Model TS-464

TS-453D

Network Ports 2x 2.5GbE 2x 2.5GbE
USB 3.2 Ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb) 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb)
USB 2.0 Ports 2x USB 2.0 3x USB 2.0
HDMI Ports 1x HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS 1x HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS
PCIe Upgrade Slots PCIe Gen 3×2 Slot (2Gb/s) PCIe Gen 2×2 Slot (1Gb/s)

The first difference worth highlighting is regarding those USB ports. The older TS-453D features USB 3.2 Gen 1 (AKA USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1) ports that provide up to 5Gb/s (500MB/s+) bandwidth with connected external storage media (i.e you would need a RAID enabled HDD USB enclosure or SSD drive in order to hit this performance cap). The TS-464 on the other hand features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (AKA USB 3.1 Gen 2 – THANKS for the name nonsense ‘USB.org’!) which can provide 10Gb/s performance (i.e 1,000MB/s). As SSDs become increasingly affordable and even external m.2 NVMe SSD enclosures arriving at a bargain, this option to have a significantly faster backup drive option available is quite attractive. Especially for those that plan on having a USB tier to their multi-stage NAS Backup strategy and choose to have dated/versioned backups, rather than differential backups just ‘topping things up’ over time. Another big difference of note is in that PCIe upgrade slot. Both the TS-453D and TS-464 feature the option to install a PCIe upgrade card that can include options to add better network interfaces (2.5/5/10G or WiFi 6 / AX wireless options) with multi-port card, storage upgrade cards (adding multiple M.2 NVMe and SATA bays) or even combo cards that feature both on a single card. The difference between the TS-464 and TS-453D though stems from the bandwidth afforded these slots, with the TS-453D arriving with a PCIe Gen 2×2 slot and the TS-464 having a PCIe Gen 3 x2 slot. This results in the newer NAS providing DOUBLE the potential bandwidth of the TS-453D when installing an upgrade card. So this will be particularly useful when installing multiport network upgrade cards and SSD cards that exceed 1,000MB/s, as well as combo cards that need to spread the bandwidth a bit. Overall, the hardware in the TS-464 is certainly better and broader than the TS-453D, but it is worth remembering that the bulk of these advantages and improvements made in the 2 years later hardware release can be viewed in terms of optional scalability and expandability – so you are going to need more hardware to take advantage and almost certainly not advantages that most users will take advantage of on day 1.

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS – Software

This is pretty much the smallest difference that can be measured between the QNAP TS-464 and QNAP TS-453D NAS. Both these NAS systems run the QTS 5 operating system, services and applications available for the platform and numerous client hardware devices (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, etc). The only REAL difference between these two NAS systems is the fact that the improved hardware inside the newer TS-464 (more efficient and higher clock speed CPU, after memory and large maximum RAM threshold) allows a larger number of actions and clients to be managed at a single time than the TS-453D NAS. However, in smaller or single operations, you are not going to feel/see the difference, unless you are particularly pushing the CPU or Memory utilization in a single client interaction (i.e surveillance camera feeds, Virtual Machine deployment, transcoding natively and/or Plex, etc). Likewise, the inclusion of the default M.2 NVMe slots on the TS-464 means that you have a few extra SSDD services available on day 1, but these are still available to the TS-453D via either the installation of a PCIe upgrade card OR using SATA SSDs internally. Below is a breakdown of the applications and services that are included in QTS available on both NAS systems.

TS-464

TS-453D

Browser Support Supports all Browsers Supports all Browsers
Browser File Management Browser File Management
Photo/Music/Video Tools Photo/Music/Video Tools
Multimedia Console Multimedia Console
AI Photo Recognition AI Photo Recognition
Edge m.2 Coral TPU Support
Storage Services
SED Drive Support SED Drive Support
QTier QTier
Hybrid Mount Hybrid Mount
ISCSI Target/LUN ISCSI Target/LUN
vJBOD vJBOD
Snapshots Snapshots
SSD Cache (Read/Write/Both) SSD Cache (Read/Write/Both)
Cloud Sync / QSync Cloud Sync / QSync
Ex-FAT is Free Ex-FAT is Free
RAID Resync control RAID Resync control
Secure Erase Secure Erase
Lots of Expansions (TR/TL) Lots of Expansions (TR/TL)
HBS 3 HBS 3
Qfiling and Qsirch Qfiling and Qsirch
Business Applications
QVR Pro – 8 Camera Licenses QVR Pro – 8 Camera Licenses
Virtualization Station Virtualization Station
Ubuntu Linux Station 18/20 Ubuntu Linux Station 18/20
Container Station Container Station
Hypervisor Protector Hypervisor Protector
QMailAgent QMailAgent
HD Station HD Station
BoXafe BoXafe
Security
Security Councillor Security Councillor
Malware Remover Malware Remover
McAfee Anti-Virus Scanning McAfee Anti-Virus Scanning
QVPN QVPN
Log and Notification Center Log and Notification Center
Auto Blocking on SSH, Telnet etc Auto Blocking on SSH, Telnet etc
256 bit Encryption 256 bit Encryption
2 Step Authentication 2 Step Authentication
Firewall App Firewall App
Access Protection and Allow/Deny list Access Protection and Allow/Deny list

Although you are going to be able to do more of these things above simultaneously on the TS-464 than the TS-453D NAS, it is not a huge win for the newer box and once again, this win comes largely down to futureproofing than anything you will feel on Day 1. You can learn more about the QNAP QTS Platform in my review below in both video and blog form:

QNAP QTS 5 Review Video QNAP QTS 5 Review on the Blog

QNAP TS-464 or the TS-453D NAS – Conclusion

It will come as no shock that the newer QNAP TS-464 NAS is the better choice in the long run compared with the QNAP TS-453D, thanks largely down to a larger degree of upgrades, storage scaling in the future and resource expandability. If you KNOW you are not going to be scaling up your storage hardware in the next 4-5 years, then perhaps the TS0453D is a better choice for you, using that saved $/£/€100-150 difference towards more storage, network interface upgrades or improving your in-house network environment generally with 2.5GbE or 10GbE. The software provided on both systems is still very good value for money and QNAP is still one of the few brands that provide this level of hardware (plus inclusive software and services) at this price point. Equally, you are almost certainly going to see the QNAP TS-453D at ever more attractive price points at retailers and it is still a great little NAS (check out my 2020 review of the TS-453D HERE). But you simply cannot ignore the number of ways that the base level TS-464 NAS can be upgraded and improved in its lifespan and for those that want a ‘blank canvas’ NAS solution that they can then change alongside their own network client hardware in the home/office, the TS-464 NAS is the more mature and long-term choice easily.

QNAP TS-464 NAS – Spring/Summer 2022

QNAP TS-453D NAS – Spring/Summer 2020

Reasons to Buy it?

Better Hardware inside and out

More Expansion/Upgrade Options

Able to run more simultaneous apps/clients at once

Faster USB Ports (10Gb/s)

Larger bandwidth PCIe upgrade slot (PCIe 3×2 vs 2×2)

Higher CPU Frequency, Efficiency & Proficiency

Reasons to Buy it?

Lower Current Price Point

Overall lower power consumption

Better ventilation internally and on fan panel design

More USB Ports overall

More likely on Sale over Black Friday/Seasonal Sales

Buy on Amazon

Where to Buy

Buy on Amazon

Where to Buy

 

 

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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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