I want to try making a review of a product on Geek’o’holic, but I want to be different than all the others.
So I’m going to make a review of a product that is not sold anymore.
A traditional product review is based on a short-term test of a new product, and this is also what you normally would be interested in: “I need a new device, is device#A or device#B best?”
This kind of review focus on functionality, price and performance. But when the device is purchased, and installed then you switch from the purchasing to the operation phase. We geeks switch electronics more often than we switch underwear, but occasionally it happens that a particular device get to stay in our homes for longer periods, and this is where my review becomes relevant.
Will the manufactorer maintain the firmware? How about new functionality?
Countless times I have experienced the firmware that the device was shipped with is the only firmware the device will ever see in it’s lifetime. This is a huge problem!
Security related issues are not corrected. Interoperability issues with new devices are not dealt with, so if you are fortunate enough to have a device lasting longer than the warranty period, you’ll end up with a piece of open-air museum, held in a time-warp. We all know about IT equipment, that new standards, new devices and not least tons of security flaws are pouring in constantly.
Let’s end the suspense, dear reader. In this post, I am going to review the Qnap TS-639 Pro NAS that I bought back in 2010. Specs are of little importance since today your only way of acquiring a specimen is on eBay. In short the TS-639 is a high-end NAS with 6 hard drives.
I do not remember exactly how much I paid for it, but including six 1TB disks it was around $1500 (note: in Denmark we’re ‘blessed’ with 25% V.A.T.). The cheapest option offering 6TB storage capacity at that time was probably about half that price.
When I bought it was awesome, but how is it it today – almost 6 years later?
Actually it’s still a great product! From start the hardware specifications were quite potent, and therefore the TS-639 even today offer a satisfactory performance. One of the 6 discs died after 3-4 years, but a failure rate of 17% for consumer-disc after almost 6 years of continuous operation is certainly within acceptable limits.
However, the hardware specifications are not the reason for my joy – I am very happy with Qnap’s software support, and this is where the wheat is really separated from the chaff!
During my 6 years of ownership, Qnap have released new firmware at regular intervals. Not just security updates and bug fixes, but also “major releases” that add new functionality. It’s commendable that the manufactorer, even 5 years after end-of-sale, is still thinking about the existing products when making new features.
My advice to you is, choose products from suppliers that are dedicated to maintaining the firmware for their devices!
Qnap, is one such manufactorer!