I was quite excited for the Guardian coming into this review just based on its potential, and now after having used it for the last month and a half, I'm just starting to see how powerful this platform can be. Build quality is fantastic, a full steel frame wrapping up the internal components, all RJ45 ports are shielded, and there is enough separation between the NAS and Switch that you can shut down the NAS and still have the switch function normally.
Diving right in, I set up the Guardian with Pfsense to run my home network. I have since added a few access points to bolster my wireless range. After a week or so, I was able to get performance testing out of the way and switch out the SSDs for higher capacity internal drives, letting the Guardian take over my archival and media storage needs. Within the last week, I have been able to add a second VM to the Guardian, running Windows, to handle media archiving directly, and up to this point, it has run flawlessly.
As you have seen in our performance testing, the Guardian was easily able to push to the limits of the Gigabit interface, reaching 118 MB/s read and write in both RAID 0 and RAID 1. Workload testing showed Database and Workstation as the two best workloads for the Guardian, both reaching 12K IOPS. File and Email Server were right behind at 10K IOPS.
The only cons I could think of for the Guardian is the limited storage capacity with 2.5" hard drives. The 9.5mm z-height restriction leaves you with a top capacity of 4TB using 2TB drives. That said, you can get away with higher capacity options using SSDs, or there is the optional USB expansion chassis from QNAP as well.
Pricing has come out quite promising for QNAP - the Guardian with 8GB memory has an MSRP of $699.99. For comparison, a pretty standard 16 port L2 switch will go between $300-$400, add to this a two-bay NAS with PCIe expansion for another $300 if we're lucky, and we're about even.
Last updated: Feb 19, 2020 at 06:11 am CST
The Bottom Line
The Guardian isn't for everyone, but for users that need a hybrid solution, QNAP has set the bar high for performance and functionality here.