August 4th, 2017 by Adam Armstrong
QNAP Goes To Kickstarter With Its New Computing Accelerator
QNAP Systems, Inc. is primarily know for the NAS devices that range from home use up to varying levels of enterprise. Some of these NAS device have some odds and ends making them unique, such as remote controls and Blu-ray players for media. QNAP has taken the path of other unique devices with the introduction of a computing accelerator, the Mustang-200. And they are taking a different path to bring it to market as well by crowdsourcing through Kickstarter.
The Mustang-200 aims to accelerate computations, calculations, and applications by placing two Intel Core (i5-7267U or i7-7567U) processors, 16GB of ram, and two NVMe SSDs (Intel 600P series) on a PCIe card. The Mustand-200 can be installed in both PCs and servers through a PCIe slot and interconnected with a 10GbE connection (it needs to proprietary hardware). The accelerator is ideal for render farms, multi-channel video transcoding and streaming, academic research, and experimentation. Users can potentially add as many accelerators as they have PCIe slots for.
The card will be powered by a lightweight version of QNAP's popular QTS, QTS-Lite. This software adds several advantages such as support for virtualization technology. This means that the Mustang-200 supports containers and virtual machines. The accelerator will be able to increase performance of virtual systems as well as physical ones.
QNAP took a slightly unusual step of funding the new product on Kickstarter. The company is looking to raise $35,000 (and is almost half way there in three weeks). The company is offering Mustang-200s of various configurations for donations. It will be interesting to see if other companies will attempt to crowd source products that fall outside of their comfort zone in the future.