Like many modern NAS devices, the TS-221 also provides a personal cloud service that allows you to register an account and give your NAS a unique name on QNAP’s myQNAPcloud service. This effectively acts as a Dynamic DNS provider, which keeps track of the IP address from which your NAS is connected.
The QNAP TS-221 is a powerful yet easy to use network storage center for data storage, backup, synchronization, remote access, and home entertainment. It is a neat and unfussy two-bay NAS enclosure with a sturdy brushed metal chassis and a pair of drive trays that pull out from the front. As well as a front USB port, which you can configure to transfer data instantly between a USB drive and the TS-221 at the touch of a button, there are two USB3 ports at the rear and two eSATA2 ports. You can also use the storage to connect printers, UPS communication cables or even a TV tuner. The NAS connects to your network via a Gigabit Ethernet port at the rear.
The TS-221 provides a handy web-based setup page that includes an illustrated guide to installing drives and connecting to your network. Once physically installed, you can use a bundled utility to set the RAID type you want to use, from a selection of RAID0, RAID1 and JBOD disk configurations. After that, you can access the TS-221’s built-in web interface.
The web interface has an easy to use window manager with handy shortcuts to a variety of popular features. Key configuration settings are available in the control panel, while other shortcut icons give you fast access to the NAS’s integrated music, photo and video sharing apps.
There are also shortcuts to the Download Station, which can be used to download content from BitTorrent, FTP and HTTP sources in the background, and Surveillance Station, for controlling IP cameras. Neither of these apps is installed by default but both can be downloaded from within the NAS’s interface. QNAP’s app centre has loads of different tools and applications for a variety of business and consumer needs from the Asterisk IP telephony server to tools that turn your NAS into a digital TV recorder and UPnP media streamer.
Like many modern NAS devices, the TS-221 also provides a personal cloud service that allows you to register an account and give your NAS a unique name on QNAP’s myQNAPcloud service. This effectively acts as a Dynamic DNS provider, which keeps track of the IP address from which your NAS is connected. You’ll always be able to connect to it remotely, even if your ISP changes your IP address. We were annoyed by the verification email, though, which sent an HTML file as an attachment instead of using the message body.
If you want to use the TS-221 to share content over your local network, you can either use one of its existing SMB shares or create your own. If you want to either create or change the permissions of a share, you have to go to the control panel, open the Privilege Settings tree and select the Shared Folders tab. We’d have preferred a shortcut icon on the main screen.
The NAS is a tad underpowered due to its 2GHz Marvell processor, although it has 1GB of RAM. This means that it’s ill-suited to running resource-hungry applications such as phone servers or e-commerce systems, even though apps are available for it. If you just need a NAS to act as a local file server or make your favourite photos and videos available online, the TS-221 does the job very well and has a pleasant interface.
Overall the TurboNAS TS-221 may not impress with its performance levels but it’s very quiet (compared to other solutions by QNAP), has very good specifications, a wide range of features and the design of the new QTS 4.0 will certainly appeal to people who wanted an improved OS. This is a perfectly good NAS device, but you can get something much more powerful for only a little more money