Introduction and System Administration
Change is good, at least that is what we tell ourselves when confronted with something like a new OS. I will be the first to admit that I don't care for change much, and in fact I will avoid it whenever possible. On the flip side there are times when change can bring to fruition good things, like smoother menu transitions, the ability to run multiple applications at once, and something we all love - customizing our desktop. If you haven't guessed by now, then I should probably tell you, I'm talking about the latest NAS OS from QNAP - QTS 4.0.2.
In April, QNAP launched the next evolution of its operating system for its home and business NAS appliances. Dubbed QTS, this new OS allows for a drag and drop type workflow, effectively extending the system you're used to on your PC to your NAS.
Features include the ability to minimize windows to the toolbar, open multiple file managers to drag and drop files across storage appliances and the all new slide out dashboard to name a few. Let's dive in now and take a close look.
Perhaps the first thing you will notice after upgrading to the new QTS system is the new login system. Instead of having options for diving straight into file server, surveillance station or the admin panel, you must first login.
Ok, we successfully logged in to our system, and immediately are greeted with a more appealing desktop environment. From here you can move shortcuts around and place them anywhere you would like, similar to what you would do with your iOS, Windows or Android device.
Over to the right, you will find a small icon poking out from the desktop interface, upon opening you will be greeted with health statistics of your drives, temperatures of the internal CPU and the resource monitor. This is what QNAP calls their Dashboard.
Opening up the control panel, you will find that QNAP configured this new OS to use tabs. In the overview, you will find everything listed in the four sub menu's listed on one page for quick access.
Like QNAP OS 3, the QTS interface supports applications, many created by the fine people at QNAP themselves, but also many from the development community. A step further, applications are now sorted into categories to help you find what you're looking for without looking through the full list on one screen.
HD Station, is a new application that we will touch on in its own in-depth article, but also one of the best features on modern QNAP NAS appliances. Teaming up with XBMC, QNAP offers the best solution for watching media on your HDTV.
System Administration Continued
Download Station, which was found on previous QNAP OS software, has taken on a slight facelift. Here we still have the ability to download files through HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent and RSS.
File Station allows for managing your data without the need to mount the NAS as a drive. From here you have access to everything stored on the NAS, along with the ability to open a second file manager and drag and drop between folders.
Backup Station allows for Rsync backup and restoration from NAS to NAS, along with Time Machine service for backing up critical data on your Apple powered devices. Additionally, QNAP has included access to Amazon S3, Elephant Drive and Symform.
MyQNAPCloud offers users the ability to connect to and manage their NAS from anywhere in the network from any device. Additionally, CloudLink allows for NAS management on the go from your tablet or smartphone.
QSync is another innovative application from the folks at QNAP. After installing the appropriate application to your iOS, Macintosh, PC or Android device, you can sync your files directly to the NAS automatically.
Anti-Virus, is a feature that caught on mid-2012. Here you can set the Anti-Virus software to run on a schedule along with updating definitions regularly.
From the main menu, you will find the options menu at the top right. From within the options menu you have the ability to add an administrator's email, change the desktop wallpaper and the admin password.
Taking advantage of the ability to customize the desktop, I installed my favorite wallpaper.
Photo Station, Music Station and File Station
Upon entering the Photo Station Application, you are greeted with any photos the NAS was able to find. Here I have just a few of some the family event over the years. To the right, after selecting a photo you have the ability to tag the photo however you wish.
Additional features include the ability to download, add to sharing list and even geo tag photos.
Here we have opened our sharing list, by dragging and dropping photos, to the menu on the right we can create timestamps for each folder.
After creating a sharing list, you can also create a slideshow. Here I created a quick slideshow of some of the picture we took from our vacation to Texas.
Music Station operates in a similar manner to the photo station. You can create and manage playlists, create shares and listen to your favorite radio stations online.
In the Radio section, you find all kinds of local radio, and categorized radio even podcasts. One of my favorites which I'm listening to now is Mike and Mike on ESPN.
File Station, which we touched on earlier, allows for management of your files within the NAS OS.
Within the file Station, you have the ability to rename, move and delete files just as if they were stored locally.
NAS OSes have come a long way over the last few years, and nowhere is that more evident than with QNAP's new QTS. With firmware 3.8 that QNAP's appliances used previously, things were always tucked away and hidden, making finding that setting you were looking for a tedious process going through every menu one by one. Now, with QTS, everything is in the open and the menu system just flows well. The added ability to customize to your preference is a welcomed addition, along with the ability to move icons around and run multiple tasks at once, even better.
I'm not one that's normally in the business of choosing the best NAS software, but from my perspective, QNAP has a top notch offering with QTS. Yes, change can be rough, but after using it for the last few weeks, I've really had the chance to get the hang of it.
Taking advantage of all the new features mentioned in this article, it really allows for quick management when you need to change a setting or manage storage.
Overall, I really like what QNAP has done with the new OS, and with tons of third party application support backed by the folks at QNAP, there is surely an application for anything you want to do with your QNAP NAS appliance.
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