by January 2, 2013 0 comments

Buffalo TeraStation 5400

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The visible difference between the two NAS boxes in question is that the Buffalo one has a single front panel that can be locked while Qnap has individual locks for each drive. One more difference in looks is that in Buffalo NAS drives are stacked horizontally while in Qnap they are stacked vertically. While we have listed down features that matter in the table, we would talk about performance and unique features in the space below.

The web interface of Buffalo is simpler to understand and work with as compared to Qnap, primarily because the former has lesser number of features. One distinguishing feature of the Buffalo NAS is that it can act as a surveillance server, wherein it can store and manage video feeds from upto 10 IP cameras without requiring any human intervention. This is possible due to the freely bundled Buffalo Surveillance Video Manager. Apart from that, you also get 10 licenses of NovaBACKUP business essentials, thereby saving you the additional cost of buying a backup software. Another good point about the TeraStation 5400 is that it’s VMware certified for NFS.

Qnap TS 469 Pro

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In one to one feature comparison, the QNAP TS469 Pro is far ahead of Buffalo TeraStation; we shall fall short of space here if were to list down all its features. Instead, we would focus on just the really key ones. To start with, TS 469 Pro also supports video surveillance with the help of a feature called Surveillance Station Pro. There’s a single license for the same included with the device. MyCloudNAS service is another distinguishing feature of TS 469 Pro that allows you to securely publish content to the Internet. One can also access content of Qnap using QMobile application (for Android and iOS) which is quite a useful feature given the proliferation of smartphones.

Now with the capability to access data stored on your NAS from an external network, security and integrity of data becomes a concern. To address this aspect, the TS469 Pro comes with an integrated antivirus solution, VPN service and AD/LDAP service. With TS469 Pro one can not only backup data locally but also to cloud using Amazon S3, ElephantDrive and Symform cloud storage backup solutions. Qnap TS 469 Pro supports VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V & Failover Clustering.

Performance Comparison

While testing performance of these two NAS boxes, we kept the test environment the same, as both boxes support iSCSI protocol. We created targets on both these devices and used the same Windows 7 machine as the initiator. The same set of four Western Digital SATA 3 drives (WD10EZRX 1 TB) in a RAID 5 configuration were used for both boxes to create the target volume. Once we had our test machine connected to the volume on both targets via a dedicated Ethernet cable, we ran two benchmarks to check its performance. First we used HD Tune 2.55 to check the average transfer rate. While Buffalo NAS showed an average transfer rate of 37.9 MB/sec, Qnap NAS fared better with with 48.1 MB/sec. The other benchmark that we used was IO Meter with 2KB and 64MB payloads. Here, the Buffalo NAS outperformed Qnap with better IOPS. Results of all the tests are summarized in the table.

Bottomline: While the hardware specs of both Buffalo TeraStation 5400 and Qnap TS469 Pro are almost similar, the latter is far more feature rich, while the former gives much better IOPS.

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