REVIEW: Fujitsu Celvin NAS Q703

Fujitsu Celvin NAS Q703

The newest addition to the Fujitsu Celvin family of NAS (Network Attached Storage) products, the Celvin Q703 is a compact 2-bay appliance much like the Q700 it succeeds. As before, the new model is based on QNAP technology but with a faster 2.0GHz Marvell processor and, at 1GB, double the RAM of its predecessor.

Support has also been added for 2.5-inch as well as 3.5-inch disks, with the Q703 able to accommodate up to 8TB internally, optionally configured with RAID 0 striping or RAID 1 mirroring for redundancy. USB 3.0 and eSATA interfaces have also been incorporated and the firmware upgraded, the latest implementation adding thin provisioning and virtualisation support amongst a raft of new and improved features.

What You Get

Fujitsu Celvin NAS Q703

Housed in a compact all-metal casing the Q703 draws its power from an external AC adapter with the disks inserted from the front using lockable carriers. These can be swapped without powering down with mounting points for either 3.5- or 2.5-inch SATA drives using the screws provided. Cooling is handled by a single large diameter fan with the end result quiet enough for use in open plan offices although, for security, a locked cabinet may be a better option.

A single Gigabit Ethernet port is provided for network attachment while for backup to external disks the Q703 has two eSata ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. These are all located at the back of the unit with printer sharing via USB another option along with the ability to add wireless connectivity via a supported Wi-Fi dongle. There’s also a single USB 2.0 port at the front which can be used to copy the contents of a flash drive to a pre-determined shared folder on the NAS using the Copy button just above it.

Pricing is dependent on whether you buy the Q703 with or without disks. Without and it will set you back around £216 (ex. VAT), rising to £386 (ex. VAT) with a pair of 2TB disks fitted or £415 (ex. VAT) with dual 3TB drives. Western Digital Red drives, specifically designed for NAS deployment, are used here and the prices quoted are competitive when compared to buying the disks separately and installing them yourself. The price is also competitive when compared to the QNAP TS221 on which the product is based.

The Softer Side

Fujitsu Celvin NAS Q703

When first powered up the Q703 will prompt for firmware to be installed – a Fujitsu branded implementation of the QNAP TurboNAS operating system, QTS 4.0. A wizard steps you through the install process which, as well as copying the firmware from CD-ROM, includes initialising the disks with the required RAID support plus creation of the default admin account. That done, it’s a simple matter of logging on from a browser and configuring the rest of the options from the desktop-like management interface.

NAS sharing on mixed Windows, Mac and Linux networks comes ready configured with the option to add iSCSI San support alongside using another easy to follow wizard to help set this rather more complicated option up. Users can be locally managed or authenticated via either Active Directory or LDAP; storage quotas can be enforced and access rights set at the individual and group level.

You can also take backups from client computers to the appliance using the software provided in the form of Netbak Replicator for Windows and Apple Time Machine compatibility for Mac users. More than that tools are included to backup the appliance itself to another on the local network or to the Amazon S3 cloud and other online services. Fully encrypted real-time remote replication (RTRR) is an option too, if wanted.

As with other NAS appliances cloud-based remote access is provided as standard on the Q703 with custom apps for mobile access. You also get anti-virus screening, a MySQL server and the ability to add extra features by downloading optional add-on apps.

On the downside a lot of these apps have a consumer bias, to add support for media streaming and unattended downloading for example. That said there is a useful app to sync NAS storage with Google Drive and another to run a local mail server together with apps to host Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal content management systems. You can also install a surveillance monitoring app although additional licensing is required to handle more than one camera.

A Small Package

Fujitsu Celvin NAS Q703

Marketed as a small business solution, the Celvin Q703 is hampered by its lack of size which only allows it to have two drive bays. While this arrangement does allow up to 8TB to be configured, customers opting for the redundancy of RAID 1 mirroring will find the available capacity halved with no ability to add capacity. Neither is it possible to or upgrade the Q703 to take advantage of the more advanced RAID 5/6 technology available on NAS appliances with more drives.

The single Gigabit network interface is a further limiting factor putting the Q703 firmly at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to scalability. Despite its limitations, however, the Celvin Q703 performed well during our tests saturating the Gigabit port when exercised using the ioMeter benchmark. It’s not the fastest NAS on the market but is more than capable of handling the storage needs of small workgroups without becoming a bottleneck.

Our only other concern was the general death of resellers for the Fujitsu Celvin product line, whereas the Qnap alternatives on which they are based are available through a variety of sources. In the end it’s a matter of choosing the vendor you prefer – Fujitsu or QNAP – and which is likely to offer the best price and support package with little technically to choose between the two.