Like the Synology DS412+, the QNAP TS-469 Pro is powered by a Linux-based operating system that can be managed via a Web interface. Unlike the DS412+'s Web interface, the QNAP TS-469 Pro's doesn't resemble the GUI (graphical user interface) of an operating system, but rather a standard interface familiar from routers or other lower-end NAS servers. Once launched and logged in, the interface shows two organized panes, menus on the left and controls on the right.
While it gets the job done, this interface clearly isn't as robust as the the Synology DS412+'s. Take managing hard drives, for example. Clicking on the Volume Management submenu under the Disk Management menu, I was able to pick a wizard to turn the server's hard drive into RAID 0. However, when I clicked on the last command of the wizard to initiate the RAID-building process, the wizard just disappeared, leaving me unsure of what was coming next, or if the command actually was in effect. As it turned out, I needed to click on the RAID Management submenu, which is under the Volume Management submenu, to view the building process. It would have been a lot more intuitive if the RAID build process screen were invoked automatically. Other items/features of the server are designed similarly. (To learn more about the look and feel of the interface, check out QNAP's live demos.) Basically, prepare to click around a lot when working with the server's settings and features.
And the TS-469 Pro has a lot of features.
Apart from standard features found in most advanced NAS servers, such as FTP servers, HTTP servers, DNLA media-streaming servers, an iTunes server, a self-download feature, iSCSi, a print server that supports up to three printers, and so on, the QNAP TS-469 Pro also offers a long list of features called stations, servers, or services, such as MyCloudNAS Service, Photo Station, Surveillance Station, MySQL Server, and Backup Server. There's also a QPKG Center through which you can add more features to the NAS server, similar to the Synology DS412+'s Package Center. The multitude of names QNAP uses for features makes it a little confusing. In the end, think of these as applications that can run on the sever, similar to Microsoft Office running on the Windows operating system.
While I didn't have time to try all of the server's features, all that I tried worked out as intended. Most of them could be made a little easier to set up, however. Take the MyCloudNAS Service as an example. It was quite easy to set up as long as the server is used in a network hosted by a router that supports UPnP. If not, you'll need to know how to program the router's port forwarding. If all goes well, once set up, you can access the server via http://xyz.mycloudnas.com, where xyz is the unique name for the server that you picked during the setup process. There's also a desktop application that works with MyCloudNAS Service and gives remote users access to the NAS server, similar to the Dropbox service. While this worked, I found it so much harder to configure and use than the DS412+'s equivalent Cloud Station.
All in all, prepare to spend some time with the TS-469 Pro if you want to get the most out of it. And in the end, you will find it an incredibly useful device since it indeed has a lot to offer. Virtually all you might expect from a network storage device, you'll find in the TS-469 Pro. I just wish its level of robustness and intuitiveness were on par with the number of features it has to offer.
The QNAP TS-469 Pro is one of the fastest NAS servers on the market. I tested it via a Gigabit Ethernet connection and it scored 105MBps and 103MBps for writing and reading, respectively, in RAID 5. When I switched it to RAID 0, it did slightly better with 108MBps for writing and 110MBps for reading.
Overall, the QNAP TS-469 Pro's performance was very similar to that of the Synology DS412+, just slightly slower in most of the tests, and it proved to be able to handle even the most demanding network.
The server remained quiet during the entire time I had with it, even during heavy operation.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The QNAP TS-469 Pro isn't the best deal on the market, but it would make an excellent NAS server for an advanced home or small-business network, despite its high price and somewhat confusing interface.