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QNAP Qtier™ Technology drives Auto Tiering
Monday, 30 May 2016 00:00


Constant optimization of data across storage tiers

Qtier™ Technology empowers automated-tiering storage solutions that automatically moves hot data to high-performance storage tiers and cold data to lower-cost, higher-capacity drives, allowing businesses to enjoy exceptional application performance and lower TCO of storage at the same time.


Answers your demand for storage efficiency

As the price of solid-state drives (SSD) becomes more favorable, the demand for high-performance storage increases. With the advantages of high IOPS and low response times, SSDs improve the performance of data center applications that require fast and consistent performance. However, as the cost per gigabyte of an SSD is still higher than conventional hard drives (HDD), it is still more economical to use HDDs to store large amounts of cold (rarely-accessed) data.

To answer the demands of enterprise storage, QNAP has designed Qtier (QNAP auto-tiering) Technology that incorporates the speed of SSDs and capacity of HDDs on one NAS system. Qtier can automatically migrate data based on how frequently data has been accessed using an industry-leading 12Gb/s SAS controller. It improves overall system performance under the most complex, mixed workloads and server applications while providing high-capacity storage for cold data.


Intelligent data management

Qtier, a multi-tier storage management system, automatically moves the most active data to high-performance drives while less active data is migrated to high-capacity drives. This alleviates the burden on administrators by supporting tasks of performance pre-estimation, layout design, and relocation of data according to performance and budgets.

Enable Auto-tiering when creating a Storage Pool


To achieve the required level of performance and cost benefits, data is categorized based on access frequency. Service levels such as response times or runtime must be measured and evaluated in advance to decide which data must be stored at a given time in a certain tier.

QNAP auto-tiering architecture

Data migration based on Transaction-based Update


Based on the sorting results of calculation that developed by QNAP, the NAS will automatically move data blocks with higher weights to higher tier (e.g. moving data blocks from HDD RAID Group to SSD RAID Group). Here data migration and metadata updates will not interfere with normal IO; therefore, transaction-based updates will avoid problems with data integrity.

You can get the statistics of all data waiting to be processed as well as processed data in this phase. If the administrators need to do administrative tasks or there are bandwidth requirements for external connections, they can stop data migration in this phase. Furthermore, assigning weights can help adjust bandwidth allocation or alleviate congestion between external IO and internal data migration.

Benefits of using Qtier Technology

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Optimal storage efficiency   High performance   Cost saving
Ongoing optimization of data across high-performance SSD, SAS drives and high-capacity SATA disks based on access frequency. Improved overall system performance as active data is moved to faster storage tiers for tasks in hand. Businesses can only buy the amount of SSDs needed, and save money on expensive Flash technology.
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Easy to set up   Schedule   Performance analysis
Use QTS Storage Manager to create RAID groups for each tier, set scheduling, and it’s done. Set Auto Tiering during off-peak times such as weekends or evenings to get the best system performance in busy hours. Check history reports for Auto Tiering statistics to evaluate the accuracy of auto-tiering policies.

TVS-ECx80U-SAS Qtier vNAS runs your data on the Auto Tiering highway

The 15-bay, 12Gbps SAS-enabled TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP NAS supports 3.5” & 2.5” drives in its chassis, uniquely combining the advantages of both high-performance SSD and high-capacity HDD.

  • Dedicated for SAS drives or NL-SAS drives
  • High capacity
  • Dedicated for SSD drives
  • High throughput and IOPS

Compared with all-SSD NAS and all-HDD NAS, the TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP benefits organizations to enjoy exceptional application performance and lower TCO of storage at the same time. Coupled with Qtier Technology, organizations can just buy the amount of SSDs needed, and attain the highest value/performance and optimal efficiency of storage utilization.

Price $$$$$$ $$$$ $$
Max. capacity -
2U form factor
19.2 TB
(24 x SSD)
72 TB + 4.8 TB
(9 x HDD + 6 x SSD)
96 TB
(12 x HDD)
Performance Very high Very high Moderate

To tackle the increasing data needs of a growing business, the scalable TVS-ECx80U-SAS series supports online capacity expansion by connecting up to eight QNAP RAID expansion enclosures (REXP-1620U-RP and REXP-1220U-RP) to flexibly expand the total storage to over 1 PB raw capacity (depending on model). It saves organizations from having to invest big at initial setup, but have budget-friendly options to enjoy more flexibility in allocating IT budgets.

You can easily implement a 3-tiered storage solution with a JBOD:


Ideal for complex virtualized environments

With Qtier Technology, QNAP NAS* provides a tiering solution that realizes the optimal storage efficiency and boosts performance, making it the best and most cost-efficient storage solution for environments like virtualization that contain dynamically-changing workloads.

Activate Qtier in your QNAP NAS

The goal of auto-tiering in a QNAP NAS is to optimize the use of the storage infrastructure by simultaneously improving storage utilization and performance:

  • Move frequently used data onto fast disks for high-availability or high I/O cache throughput
  • Move less frequently used data onto low-cost, high-capacity disks for better cost efficiency

3 levels of tiered storage

Qtier offers a 3-tier configuration: ultra-high speed (SSD), high speed (SAS) and high capacity (SATA/NL-SAS) for a combination of different disk drives.


Detailed and visualized statistics for performance analysis

Historical data assists users in performance tuning and storage provisioning, enabling the accurate adjustment of auto-tiering policies.


User-defined policies for better auto-tiering efficiency

Policy-defined auto-tiering enables dynamic reallocation of data corresponding to the performance requirements of the data or applications in addition to scheduling and prioritization of data migration.


Qtier with SSD Cache for around-the-clock acceleration

Qtier fully supports concurrent tiering and SSD caching. In this mode, Qtier constantly monitors I/O activity and keeps active data that requires small, mostly-random, read/write operations in SSD Read-only or Read-write cache and other data in the tiered storage automatically moving data between the appropriate tiers. QNAP unified and tiered storage is an intelligent, automated storage system for managing data placement to help optimize performance and cost requirements in multi-tier configurations.


Comprehensive comparison of storage technologies:

Qtier Full SSD SSD cache
Costs $ $$ $
Storage space Big Small Big
Available SSD space Extends as needed Extends as needed Limited by available memory
Data migration method Scheduled No Automatic
Data migration mechanism Moves data according to access frequency All data is in SSD storage Replicates frequently accessed data to SSD storage
Application scenarios Typically used for predictable I/O workloads such as file/web/e-mail servers and virtualization application or video editing Typically used for applications requiring fast/intensive I/O such as databases or virtualized environments Typically used in a highly frequent data access environment such as virtualized applications or high-resolution video or audio processing



*Qtier is currently available in the following QNAP NAS models: TDS-x89U, TES-x85/x85U (QTS), TVS-x82/x82U, TVS-x80/x80U, TVS-x79U-SAS, TVS-x73/x73U, TVS-x71/x71U.

For more information regarding new products and to see the full QNAP Turbo NAS lineup, please visit





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