May 30, 2023
QNAP Brings Hybrid Processors and E1.S SSD Support to NAS Market

Over the previous few years, developments within the business off-the-shelf (COTS) community hooked up storage (NAS) market have largely been on the software program entrance – offering extra business-oriented added worth and higher help for containers and digital storage. machines. Now we have had {hardware} updates by way of processor choices and the inclusion of M.2 SSD slots (primarily for SSD caching), however these haven’t been revolutionary modifications.

At CES 2023, QNAP introduced plans for 2 completely different NAS models, the all-flash TBS-574X (primarily based on the Intel Alder Lake-P platform) and the machine learning-focused TS-AI642 (primarily based on the Rockchip RK3588 software processor). Whereas QNAP solely offers an indication of the capabilities, there are a number of factors price speaking about to get an thought of ​​the place the COTS NAS market is headed within the close to future.

Hybrid Processors

Community Hooked up storage models are usually primarily based on both server platforms within the SMB / SME area or single board laptop (SBC) platforms within the dwelling shopper / SOHO area. Historically, each platforms have averted massive.LITTLE / hybrid processors for varied causes. Within the x86 house, we have seen hybrid processors getting into the mainstream market with Intel’s Alder Lake household not too long ago. Huge.LITTLE has been round for a comparatively very long time within the ARM world. Nonetheless, server workloads are usually not appropriate for this kind of structure. With out a dependable use case for such processors, servers are additionally unlikely to comply with this route. Nonetheless, SBCs are a unique case and we’ve seen numerous software processors adopting the large.LITTLE technique on this market phase.

Each the all-flash TBS-574X and AI NAS TS-AI642 are primarily based on hybrid processors. TBS-574X, Intel Core i3-1220P (Alder Lake-P) in 2P + 8E configuration. TS-AI642 is predicated on Rockchip RK3588 [ PDF ]With 4x Cortex-A76 and 4x Cortex-A55 produced on Samsung’s 8LPP course of.

QNAP isn’t any stranger to advertising Atom-based NAS models with 2.5GbE help – newest Jasper Lake-based tower NAS series It has confirmed extraordinarily standard for SOHO/SMB use circumstances. The Gracemont cores within the Core i3-1220P will take a step ahead in efficiency, and the addition of two efficiency cores can simply assist the consumer expertise with options higher suited to make use of in Core-based models.

NAS volumes have turn into highly effective sufficient to transcend fundamental file serving / backup goal features. QTS functions curated by QNAP assist guarantee well-integrated worth additions. A number of the hottest allow container help in addition to the power to run digital machines. Because the vary of workloads operating on NAS begins to vary on the similar time, hybrid processors can step in to enhance efficiency whereas sustaining energy effectivity.

On the AI ​​NAS entrance, the Rockchip RK3588 has processor cores highly effective sufficient for a multi-slot NAS. Nonetheless, QNAP focuses extra on neural community accelerator blocks (SoC has 6 TOPS NN inference efficiency), permitting the NAS to be marketed to heavy customers of surveillance and ‘AI’ functions. QVR Face (for facial recognition in surveillance movies), QVR Smart Search (for occasion search in surveillance movies) and QuMagie (For simply listed photograph albums with “AI” performance).

E1.S Sizzling-Swap SSDs

QNAP’s first NASbook – an all-flash NAS utilizing M.2 SSDs – was launched final 12 months. This TBS-464 It stays a novel product available in the market, however goes towards the NAS idea of hot-swappable disks.

QNAP’s First Era NASbook – TBS-464

On the time of its launch, there was no business customary for hot-swappable NVMe flash drives appropriate for the NASbook’s kind issue. Sizzling-swappable U.2 and U.3 drive bays have been out there in rack mount models for enterprise and knowledge facilities. Thus, QNAP’s NASbook was launched with out scorching swapping help. In the meantime, the business was consolidating in the direction of E1.S and E1.L. standard form factors For decent-swappable NVMe storage.

(Left to Proper) E1.S 5.9 mm (Courtesy of SMART Modular Techniques); E1.S Symmetric Enclosure (Courtesy of Intel); E1.S (Courtesy of KIOXIA)

QNAP’s 2023 NASbook – TBS-574X – E1.S would be the first QNAP NAS to help hot-swappable SSDs (as much as 15mm thick). To extend drive compatibility, QNAP can even package deal M.2 adapters put in in every drive bay. This permits finish customers to make use of M.2 SSDs in NASbook whereas market availability of E1.S SSDs expands.

Options Abstract

The TBS-574X makes use of Intel Core i3-1220P (2P + 8E – 10C/12T) and contains 16GB DDR4 RAM. Reminiscence enlargement help is just not clear but (These are more likely to be DDR4 SO-DIMMs). There are 5 drive bays and the NAS seems to be operating QTS primarily based on QNAP’s mannequin naming). The NASbook additionally has 2.5GbE and 10GbE ports, two USB4 ports (probably Thunderbolt 4 sans certification since QNAP claims 40Gbps help and ADL-P natively helps it) and 4K HDMI output. The NASbook additionally helps video transcoding with the built-in GPU within the Core i3-1220P. QNAP is primarily focusing on widespread video modifying use circumstances with the TBS-574X.

The TS-AI642 makes use of the RockChip RK3588 (4x CA-76 + 4x CA-55) software processor. No RAM specs offered – SoC specs level to LPDDR4, however we have reached QNAP for the complete quantity. It has six drive bays. That is fascinating once more, because the SoC solely gives as much as 3 SATA ports natively. Due to this fact, QNAP makes use of both a port multiplier or a separate SATA controller linked to PCIe lanes for this function. The SoC’s LAN help is proscribed to twin GbE ports, however QNAP features a PCIe Gen 3 slot for 10GbE enlargement in addition to 2.5GbE. In addition they occupy a restricted variety of PCIe lanes (4x is PCIe 3.0, may be configured as 1 x4 or 2 x2 or 4 x1) on the processor. Total, the {hardware} is fairly fascinating by way of how QNAP can handle efficiency expectations with the capabilities of the SoC. With a deal with surveillance deployments and cloud storage integration, efficiency may be ok even with port multipliers.

final phrases

Total, QNAP’s teaser for 2 upcoming desktop NAS merchandise has given us an thought of ​​the place the NAS marketplace for SOHOs/SMBs is headed within the close to future. Not like Synology, QSAN, Terramaster and the like, QNAP has by no means hesitated to discover new {hardware} choices. Whereas we’re very optimistic about E1.S help and hybrid processors in desktop NAS models, the enchantment of the RockChip-based AI NAS could largely rely upon the value/functionality/efficiency side.

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