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NAS vendor touts Lenny installs, new Atom-based system

Feb 26, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 18 views

Taiwanese network-attached storage (NAS) vendor Qnap Systems proudly announced the availability of Debian Lenny (version 5.0) for all of its ARM-based Turbo NAS models. Meanwhile, the company also tipped its hat toward x86 with a Linux-ready Intel Atom-based four-bay TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS for business users.

(Click for larger view of Qnap's TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS)

Released earlier this month, Debian 5.0 features an installer with native support for the SoHo-oriented TS-109 and TS-209, as well as the four-bay, SMB-oriented TS-409 Pro Turbo and TS-409U. All of these devices come pre-installed with Qnap's own Linux implementation, but can be easily switched to Debian, which may provide a more comfortable environment for experienced Linux users to play around in.

All of Qnap's current ARM-based Turbo NAS devices are equipped with Marvell Orion processors running the Feroceon architecture. Last year, the devices received a debian-installer courtesy of former Debian project leader Martin Michlmayr.

Stated Michlmayr, “There is considerable interest among high-end Linux users in a NAS device that can be used as a powerful and customizable home server. They want a full Linux system which allows them to easily install additional software and to modify the environment. Debian is an ideal choice for such users because it supports the ARM platform, is very mature and robust, and offers over 10,000 individual software packages to install.”

Stated Andy Chuo, Product Manager at Qnap, “Debian is considered the only major Linux distribution which actively supports the ARM platform. QNAP saw [Debian's] open community nature, and the potential applications and uses [a Debian port] might bring.”

TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS

The TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS appears to be a scaled down version of the six-bay (9TB) TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS that Qnap announced in January. The TS-639 was Qnap's first Atom-based NAS, and appeared to be the first such NAS device on the market.

TS-439 Pro open
(Click to enlarge)

Like the TS-639, the TS-439 model runs Linux on a 1.6GHz Atom N270, matched with an Intel 945GSE + ICH7M chipset. It offers 1GB DDRII memory, as well as a 128MB “disk-on-module” (DOM). The device offers four trays, each of which can hold up to 1.5GB capacity, for 6TB total of hot-swappable storage. It also provides five USB 2.0 ports and two eSATA ports for external storage and backup. The system's dual gigabit Ethernet ports can be configured as failover, load balancing, or serving two different subnets, says the company.

Like its six-bay sibling, the TS-439 features a redesigned chassis with vertical drive orientation, for cooler operation. The system offers lower power consumption than the larger six-bay model, with a claimed 28.8 watts during sleep mode and 38.85 watts in operation.

TS-439 Pro rear view
(Click to enlarge)

Other than capacity, size, weight, and power usage, the TS-439 appears to be almost identical to the TS-639, with the same RAID 0-6 support and abundance of servers. Like the TS-639, the system can be set up to act as both a NAS and an iSCSI target server simultaneously. (For more information on both devices, see our indepth coverage of the TS-639, here.)


Debian 5.0 has been available since Valentine's Day. Instructions for installing it on Qnap TS-109, TS-209, TS-409, and TS-409U NAS models can be found on Michlmayr's page, here. A Debian-on-Qnap NAS installation guide is said to be available here, although that page didn't load for us.

QNAP did not provide pricing or availability information for the TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS. More information may be found here.

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