What do you call it when a small business NAS manages to outperform a full on enterprise NAS? I call it an Editor's Choice Winner, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.
The main drawback to the QNAP TS-659 Pro+ for individuals is clearly the cost. At just over 1200 Dollars the TS-659 Pro+ isn't cheap to have around the house. If you think about it, that's the same as a budget washer and dryer set or a decent HDTV. Once you tack on the six drives you are looking at 1500 to 2K USD depending on how exotic you go. Now, we are talking about a nice washer and dryer set or a class leading 55 inch LED TV. This amount isn't exactly pocket change for businesses either, but it's well within most businesses budgets once they factor in the increased amount of work that can be performed since they won't be waiting for files and documents to transfer. In short, if you have a business and keep files in a centralized location, the QNAP TS-659 Pro+ will save you time which saves you money and decreases the stress often associated with waiting for a file to transfer.
I've been running NAS servers at home for several years now. My first was a prototype from a company called YellowMachine and after that I was hooked. Luckily QNAP has other models in this same series that have the same software features, but cost less. They hold less drives, but it's tit for tat; you pay for the amount of bays, while the software is free. It's not a coincidence that I mentioned HDTVs above. Many of the new sets interface with DLNA 'media storage' devices like the QNAP TS-659 Pro+. There is nothing cooler than being able to bring up an entire library of movies, music and your business video presentations right from your remote on your TV. The same is true for PlayStations and XBoxs; just a few clicks and you are looking at everything you have in the digital domain.
This year I'm taking this one step further to nirvana and networking the entire house and patio with audio and video from a centralized source - That source is a QNAP NAS server. Anyone looking at the available kits from high end audio manufacturers will quickly learn that their 'servers' are for the most part completely underpowered in the processing department and lack 90% of the features of the QNAP TS-659 Pro+. On top of that, you can expect to pay three to four times more for their 'servers'.
The area where QNAP has really stepped it up in 2010 was easily their software. The QNAP firmware / software is now so far ahead of the competition that it isn't even playing on the same field. A couple of days ago I received word that QNAP will be showing off a new version at CES this year and they are making a big deal about it. The new QNAP firmware / software has me very excited since, well, let's be honest, who makes a big deal about pre-announcing a new software update? - This could be a very big deal and I'm crossing my fingers that it is since QNAP is already the leader in this area and anything new will just be the sweet icing on the cake.
It's impossible to talk about QNAP's software and not discuss the business features that are incorporated into their NAS servers. This is a business targeted product and everything you could ask for is included. iSCSI has gained popularity and it's in there. The list goes on and on and next to each possible feature there is a check mark next to it. You couldn't really ask for anything more, but maybe with the new software roll-out QNAP will think of new features for you.