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Review: QNAP TVS-471

Here we look at the QNAP TVS-471, a 4-drive NAS storage device that runs on Linux, can play back 4K video, operate as a home media server, and even has options to back up all your devices including mobile devices

I’ve been doing a fair amount of work lately where I need to have a customer send me footage and also share footage with customers. And, of course, every media content creator should have a solid backup plan as part of their business.

In the past, I just had a number of external drives to act as backups. I would copy my project files at the end of the day to a backup drive and every few days completely replace the files on the backup. It wasn’t foolproof, but for the level of work I was doing, it was sufficient and I never lost more than a day of work.

Recently I got the chance to try out a serious NAS (Network Attached Storage) system from QNAP. This isn't your typical small RAID for the home office that backs up over the network. The QNAP TVS-471 comes equipped with an i3 processor (available with up to an i7), 4GB RAM, and 4 drive bays (Figure 1, below). It runs on an embedded Linux OS, can play back 4K video, operate as a home media server, and even has options to back up all your devices including mobile devices. If you want to get ambitious you can even run forums, blogs, and a website off the setup. I have a few ideas of how to utilize it beyond just backing up files. I know nothing about Linux or networking, but if they have models targeted for homes to be media servers, I figured I could make it work.

Figure 1. The 4-bay QNAP TVS-471

Installation and Setup: It’s Simple

To set up the QNAP for testing, I got the drives installed--in my case, 4x4TB drives--got my network cables routed to my desk, and fired it up. At first, I had issues doing the cloud installation as I also had a laptop plugged into one of the network ports on the back (there are 4). Once I unplugged the laptop, the Cloud install progressed perfectly (I'm assuming there was a network conflict of some sort).

The process was pretty simple and quick. I just accepted most of the defaults and when it was done, it started formatting my drives. I optioned for a RAID 5 setup (which happened to be the recommended default). I did get a small wireless keyboard and mouse for the TVS-471 as I felt it would probably be easier than always accessing via a browser. I also plugged a monitor into the HDMI jack in the back (Figure 2, below).

Figure 2. Rear view of the QNAP TVS-471

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