QNAP TS-453D: Time to Start Upgrading Your Network Setup to 2.5 GbE

The HBS 3 Hybrid Backup and Sync: Revamped Backup and Sync Tool

The HBS 3 Hybrid Backup and Sync is QNAP’s all-in-one tool for backup, restore, and sync data. Interestingly, the old Backup Station is still bundled with older QNAP firmware before we upgraded to 4.5.1 but once we installed 4.5.1 or later firmware, the Backup Station is no longer listed under the list of Apps. However, QNAP did not replace the app with the HBS 3 Hybrid Backup and Sync, instead , we have to install it from the App Center.

Compare to the Backup Station, the HBS 3 is a much easier to use app with its modern UI and the step by step guide makes setting up the tasks a breeze. While the older Backup Station supports only Amazon S3 as a cloud storage, the HBS 3 supports many popular cloud service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and others. The HBS 3 also handles syncing data between NAS to and from another NAS, both locally and remotely. Additionally, Time Machine, Rsync Server, RTRR Server, and External USB copy are supported. Users have the option to set up “Active Sync Job” for two-way sync or  “One Way Sync Job” for  syncing from NAS to another device.

The HBS 3 allows apply filters, compress data, and dedup data when creating a backup task. Data can be encrypted and the transmission rate can be capped so it won’t bug down the network during active hour and it also supports TCP BBR congestion control. Up to 30 schedules can be applied to a given task where we have the option for one-time, periodic, daily, weekly, and monthly. Versioning is also supported with the ability to have Simple Versioning where backed up files are retained after the set number of versions or days, or Smart Versioning that gives us more granular control of number of hours, weeks, days and months when the files are retained. Dedupe is automatically turned on when versioning is enabled order to reduce the unnecessary duplicates being backed up. (QNAP does not recommend using Dedupe with video file, instead, it recommends using Snapshot to maximize backup efficiency)

The QuDedup is a new feature added to the HBS 3 that handles the data deduplication so only a single version of duplicated data is backed up. Since the dedupe process is done at the source (ie on the NAS), it helps to have a powerful NAS and QNAP recommends an x86 NAS with an SSD. Meaning any NAS with Intel or AMD processor would work which our TS-453D has no trouble handling our quick tests even with a traditional drive. We duplicated the same files in a folder and set up a backed up task to Google Drive and seen only single copy is backed up. With dedupe, backup process takes a little bit more time because the NAS first examines the data so that only new data and not the duplicates is being uploaded. Despite some resources on the NAS is being used for the deduping process, we did not notice big impact on the performance so home users probably could get by without an SSD. Though given to the fact that the price of SSD is dropping to less than 10 cents per gigabyte, we would still recommend to equip the NAS with one if data backup is your priority.

The HBS3 Report page displays detail information about the most recent backup. However, the historical result that displayed underneath the current backup task will not let us see any previous tasks detail information.

When dedupe is enabled, data are stored a “qdff” folder. QNAP provides QuDedup Extract Tool that is available in Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu for user to use to view or extract the file.  There is a mentioning that the NAS’s own built-in File Station would be able to view and extra deduped file in the future. Until then, users would require to download the entire qdff folder if it is not saved locally in order to read and extract them. Clearly, the benefit with QuDedup would reduce the amount of data needed for backup and hence not only saves the storage space and the time needed for back up.

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The Steam Deck – Valve delivers an excellent PC handheld

Valve is an interesting company that seems to try to be a lot of things at the same time. Games company, software hub/store and hardware company. Valve is all of these. When it comes to hardware the company has had mixed success. I think many of us remember the Steam Machines. These compact computers running SteamOS, a Linux based OS, were supposed to make Windows PC’s obsolete for gaming. They didn’t succeed. Valve also released a specific controller, the Steam Controller, which also did not exactly set the world on fire. In hindsight though both these products have paved the way for the product I am testing today, the Steam Deck, Valves attempt to compete with the Nintendo Switch in the handheld market.

Crucial P5 Plus 2TB

The Crucial P5 Plus is the successor the P5 that Crucial launched last year and is the first PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD from the company. The latest model dropped the 256GB model, so the starting available capacity for the P5 Pro is 500GB. Additionally, the drive is also available in 1TB and a new storage capacity of 2TB model. The P54 Plus is priced similar to the P5 though there is a slight bump in the price where drive is retailed at $107.99(500GB), $179.99(1TB), and $367.99(2TB). The 2TB model is definitely a welcome addition and if we judge by the price per gigabyte, the 1TB model would be the most economical option. Despite the slight bump in the price, the P5 Plus are still priced competitively against its competitors. The question is, just how well would the performance backing it up? We shall find it out today.

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