Network attached storage (NAS) is the lynchpin of business, a single place to keep and maintain many users' data and other miscellaneous resources. We tend to see multi-bay NAS units up to six- or eight-bay as standalone desktop storage units, while eight-bay and larger tend to be rack-mount units for server room installation.
The QNAP TS-1079 Pro is unusual, a large freestanding unit featuring 10 bays, supporting up to 10 3.5in SATA hard disks. Pre-drilled holes also allows 2.5in disks or SSDs to be fitted with ease too.
With today's current largest SATA disks, you could put 40TB of unformatted storage eggs into one fortress-like basket.
It's modelled closely on the company's eight-bay TS-879 Pro, here with eight disks mounted on their side, and a further two positioned horizontally below. This actually allows the exact same size chassis as the TS-879 Pro.
Powering this NAS is a very powerful processor, in NAS terms – an Intel Core i3 dual-core chip running at 3.3 GHz. This Sandy Bridge-generation processor is supported with a generous 2 GB of memory. That's a combination that ought to take even high bandwidth, multi-user threads in its stride with ease.
As standard the QNAP connects to networks with one of two gigabit ethernet ports, and like business Synology NAS drives there's an option to aggregate the two ports (802.3ad). Additionally QNAP overcomes the bottleneck of even load-balanced dual-gigabit setups by offering an expansion slot which can accept additional ethernet NICs.
You can add one extra dual-port 1 GbE, or a dual-port 10 GbE network expansion card here. According to QNAP's figures, the latter will allow data throughput up to 1.6 GB/s reads and 1.4 GB/s writes – tremendously high figures, considering that most gigabit-bound NAS drives run up at around 100 MB/s.
We didn't have an expansion card or supporting hardware to test the 10 GbE option, but in normal use the TS-1070 proved itself a very powerful unit. Ten suitable disks weren't available but we saw all the performance we'd hoped for from four 3 TB WD Red disks, set up as a RAID 5 array.
QNAP TS-1079: benchmarks
Synthetic benchmark tests provided some suspiciously slow results though, considering the unit's specification. Over AFP the QuickBench test returned decent sequential read speeds of around 111 MB/s but low writes only up to around 60 or 70 MB/s – figures we'd expect of a midrange semi-pro ARM NAS unit.
And in Windows using SMB networking, the roles were strangely reversed, scoring up 111 MB/s sequential writes but just 70 MB/s reads. Some real-world transfer tests settled the argument. Trying large .iso files in both directions to a connected MacBook (AFP), the QNAP averaged 115 MB/s in write speeds, and a resounding 123 MB/s when reading the same files, constrained here just within the 125 MB/s theoretical maximum for gigabit networking.
As with most QNAP NAS drives, the TS-1079 packs many, many features beyond simple file serving over the usual SMB, AFP and NFS network protocols.
Storage area networks (SAN) and iSCSI are in its specs list, for rapid data transfers that suit virtualisation over network cabling, for instance. Encryption is possible to AES-256 standard, along with remote replication of encrypted channels.
And external disk support is first-class,with two each USB 3.0 and eSATA for speedy connections. And unlike Synology, for instance, QNAP supports more than just EXT formatting, extending usefully to HFS+ too.
Power consumption was higher than a typical SMB-level NAS drive, as you would expect for a high-power unit based on a desktop-class Intel x86 processor. But 39W when sat idle is not too excessive, while under load with four WD Red disks spinning it drew 59W of mains power.
The QNAP TS-1079 is one very powerful, well-specified NAS unit, suitable for businesses and well-heeled power users who don't wish to install network racks, but need a particularly fast and capable one-box data respository. Build quality and finish match the supreme performance that we were able to measure for this high-end NAS solution.