Introduction and Testbed Setup

Synology started the roll-out of their SMB-targeted NAS units based on Intel's latest Atom platform (Rangeley) in September 2014. We have already looked at the 4-bay DS415+ in detail. Today, the 5-bay DS1515+ and 8-bay DS1815+ versions are being officially launched. As a recap, the Rangeley-based NAS units finally bring about hardware accelerated encryption capabilities to DSM in the desktop tower form factor. A host of other advantages pertaining to the storage subsystem are also provided by Rangeley / Avoton. The SoC being used in the DS1815+ (Intel Atom C2538) is the same as the one being used in the DS415+ and the amount of RAM is also the same (2 GB). The difference is in the number of expansion bays that can be attached to the main unit (2x 5-bay DX513 for the DS1815+ vs. 1x 5-bay DX513 for the DS415+, with some volume expansion restrictions on the latter). The RAM in the DS1815+ can be upgraded (one free slot that can accommodate an extra 4 GB of RAM). Unlike the 100W external adapter in the DS415+, we have an internal 250W PSU in the DS1815+.

The I/O ports on the DS1815+ are based on the DS1813+. Compared to the DS1812+ that we reviewed last year, the DS1813+ (and, by extension, the DS1815+ that we are looking at today) added two extra network ports. Eight drive bays and four GbE network links are backed up by an embedded Linux OS, the DSM, which brings a host of virtualization certifications. All in all, the new Atom platform in DS1815+ seems to present a compelling case over the previous 8-bay units from Synology based on the older Atoms. The specifications of the DS1815+ are provided in the table below.

Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom C2538 (4C/4T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 2.40 GHz)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 RAM (+ 4GB max. in 2nd slot)
Drive Bays 8x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II / III HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
Network Links 4x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 4x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Price US $1050 (Amazon)

In the rest of the review, we will take a look at the Intel Rangeley platform and how the Synology DS1815+ takes advantage of it. This is followed by benchmark numbers for both single and multi-client scenarios across a number of different client platforms as well as access protocols. We have a separate section devoted to the performance of the DS1815+ with encrypted shared folders. Prior to all that, we will take a look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The Synology DS1815+ can take up to eight drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We expect typical usage to be with multiple volumes in a RAID-5 or RAID-6 disk group. However, to keep things consistent across different NAS units, we benchmarked a SHR volume with single disk redundancy (RAID-5). Eight Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives were used as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

The above testbed runs 25 Windows 7 VMs simultaneously, each with a dedicated 1 Gbps network interface. This simulates a real-life workload of up to 25 clients for the NAS being evaluated. All the VMs connect to the network switch to which the NAS is also connected (with link aggregation, as applicable). The VMs generate the NAS traffic for performance evaluation.

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Platform Analysis
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  • JeffFlanagan - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    I was looking into an NAS for media storage on my home network and concluded that I was much better off hooking up a bunch of 4TB USB drives to a low-power PC, because the PC can also do things an NAS can't, like running Plex Server well. With USB 3.0 it's just as fast as internal storage. Reply
  • SlackMasterDoug - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Just FYI you can run plex on any x86 based Synology. I have it on my DS1512+ and it works just fine.

    This isn't supposed to be the cheapest option. As other comments have pointed out, this is for the person that just wants it to work with minimal care and feeding. I've set up plenty of freeNAS solutions that would be cheaper to build than what I have with my Synology. However, the ability to do basically nothing but updates for the past 2.5 years and have it all work is worth it. Plus its all self contained, uses little energy and is quiet.
    Reply
  • SirGCal - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Ya, I'm all for doing it yourself anyhow but these Syn boxes can Plex without an issue. They cannot however do some of the other things I use them for but that's another topic a bit outside the scope of all this. Still your own rig can potentially do more and be more useful and obviously cheaper so if it works for you, that's the whole point. Sweet. Reply
  • peterfares - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    You and most people other than those who have a weird obsession with Synology. Reply
  • RandomThis - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    I always wonder if these "not worth the money, I can build one for 1/x the price" are troll posts, or if people are seriously comparing items the consumer can expect to just buy, plug in and use, versus something they have to research, build and maintain. When I buy synology units I don't pay $1000+ for the hardware, I pay for people to research and develop a solution that works out of the box in a form factor that I find appealing, that takes 10 seconds of my time to maintain. If I didn't work, didn't have kids, and had nothing better to do, I would keep building custom FreeNAS units. As things stand, I buy synology units instead.

    As for the "I can set up a custom solution in 30 minutes", No. Factor in the time you spend researching the hardware, OS, software, just to mention a few. And the first time you run into a problem in FreeNAS, prepare to put aside a few hours. Admittedly, I had a lot of fun when I put together my FreeNAS unit, however now my time is much too precious to waste on something as minor as NAS units. When I had free time to spare, I was not Synology's target market. Now I am.
    Reply
  • Mech049 - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    I always wonder if these "not worth the money, I can build one for 1/x the price" are troll posts, or if people are seriously comparing items the consumer can expect to just buy, plug in and use, versus something they have to research, build and maintain. When I buy synology units I don't pay $1000+ for the hardware, I pay for people to research and develop a solution that works out of the box in a form factor that I find appealing, that takes 10 seconds of my time to maintain. If I didn't work, didn't have kids, and had nothing better to do, I would keep building custom FreeNAS units. As things stand, I buy synology units instead.

    As for the "I can set up a custom solution in 30 minutes", No. Factor in the time you spend researching the hardware, OS, software, just to mention a few. And the first time you run into a problem in FreeNAS, prepare to put aside a few hours. Admittedly, I had a lot of fun when I put together my FreeNAS unit, however now my time is much too precious to waste on something as minor as NAS units. When I had free time to spare, I was not Synology's target market. Now I am.

    And to answer those "oh, your time is worth $800 for the time it takes to put together a NAS", Yes. That's the amount of money I would need to be paid to do something I do not have an interest in doing. Add the fact I wouldn't be spending time with my kids, and $800 is a very good deal.
    Reply
  • Mech049 - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    Apologies for the double post. Wouldn't stop loading when I tried to post on my iPad so I tried to post using my PC. Of course it posted on both devices... Mods please combine, or delete the first post if possible. Reply
  • edward1987 - Monday, February 1, 2016 - link

    It is better to have a tool dedicated for purpose. Computer is like: what fits everything fits nothing. You get support , upgrades and cool functionality from Synology. Plus if you talk directly to SPAN dot COM you can get better deal than elsewhere! Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    For the encryption performance graph, putting the non-encrypted performance numbers would be helpful. Not a huge deal with this one since there was minimal impact; but being able to see how large the penalty is without having to switch back and forth would be helpful on reviews of less capable models.

    And like I've commented previously; with current generation NASes growing from just boxes of disk drives into light weight general purpose servers as well, your tests really need to be expanded to capture at least some of that capability. I'd suggest running a web server and measuring how much light traffic on that impacts the rest of the devices performance and virtualization hosting abilities for models that offer it (still just QNAP?) at a minimum.
    Reply
  • vLsL2VnDmWjoTByaVLxb - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    USB3 has CPU overhead far greater than any built-in storage overhead, isn't RAID aware, suffers from serious latency issues in comparison to SATA, and eats up a port that could be used for peripheral use. USB3 should be used for removable access primarily, and nearline storage secondarily.

    Not saying you are doing it wrong, but USB3 doesn't scale after the second disk is added. That's a serious problem.
    Reply

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