NAS Units as VM Hosts: QNAP's Virtualization Station Exploredby Ganesh T S on August 18, 2014 10:15 AM EST
Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks
Important NAS aspects such as RAID rebuild durations and power consumption have already been recorded in our performance review. The power consumption numbers for typical NAS usage with Virtualization Station active are provided below. Note that the four drives being used are the Western Digital WD40EFRX 4 TB Red drives.
|QNAP TS-451 Power Consumption (Virtualization Station Active)|
|Activity||Avg. Power (W)|
|VM Workload (Heavy Internet Browsing)||29.84 W|
|VM Workload (Heavy Internet Browsing) + robocopy Write to RAID-5 Volume||33.14 W|
|VM Powered On (Idle) / Disks Active||28.19 W|
|VM Powered Off / Disks Idle (not spun down)||25.23 W|
The combination of low power Red drives as well as the power efficiency of the 22nm Bay Trail-D Celeron J1800 results in an energy-efficient NAS and hypervisor platform. One would be hard-pressed to create a fully-populated NAS with four bays along with the ability to run VMs within such a power profile.
Coming to the business end of the review, we believe that Virtualization Station is undoubtedly one of the most interesting features to emerge in the COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) NAS operating systems space. The benefits to SMBs / SMEs are without question. From a home consumer perspective, it might even be the start of virtualization going mainstream. Let us be honest here - the average user (not the typical AnandTech reader) cares little about virtualization as a feature. However, with the TS-x51 series, it might turn out to be something worth it for such users to explore. The ability to run Android VMs in Virtualization Station is coming soon. Combined with the applications that we outlined earlier in this piece, it is definitely going to be interesting to see how the market reception for QNAP's TS-x51 units.
The Virtualization Station package in QTS is definitely usable, but it is a bit light on features compared to offerings such as Hyper-V. We would like to see high speed data transfer between the host and the guest implemented at the earliest. In addition, QNAP could also prepare applications for P2V (physical-to-virtual) translation - enabling its customers to retire old PCs with the data backed up. Usage of a WLAN adapter as the dedicated network adapter for the VMs could enable users to retain performance while also taking advantage of the unique feature. All in all, despite the missing features, QNAP's Virtualization Station is a well-rounded compelling offering that helps them stand out in the COTS NAS market for SMB, SOHO and home consumers.