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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  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    The thing is, no business is going to base a NAS on hardware that's "going to goodwill anyhow" unless they're run on a shoestring budget or one that doesn't comprehend data integrity. $750 is worth the time because it gives you the following with Synology:

    -Easy setup
    -Easy replication to a second Synology
    -Easy migration from a failing NAS
    -Easy reporting/monitoring for small to medium business
    -Easy administration for a business that doesn't have your level of IT knowledge

    This product isn't for you, but actually, the Synology DSM operating system *is* a proven OS; it's at version 5.1 now. The argument for purchasing one is the same as the argument for buying a server over building your own --in business, there's good reason for letting someone else do that part of the work for you, so you can concentrate on, you know, --business.
  • carage - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    It will work great until it get hits with SynoLocker again.
  • SirGCal - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    I don't know any business that would use these as secure NAS storage anyhow. Businesses have an entirely different type of storage, far faster, more secure, and actually quite larger. The last bank we bought is a simple rack configured for 24 drives in volumes of 12 that you can use any way you choose. These are for consumers, not businesses.
  • SirGCal - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    And for the record, I don't work with hardware, I write software by trade. Although my direct trade has nothing to do with helping me learn to set these up. That knowledge came from a few minutes on Google and I can follow instructions. I've also fixed a failed array, moved them to new hardware, etc. ZFS is actually one of the oldest and most secure RAID type format, originally created for Solaris/Sun systems very long ago. The nice thing about modern ZSF arrays is how easy they are to recover, unlike hardware-raid options which even putting the drives in an identical controller might not work.

    And all of your bullets are easily covered by the combination accept the last which, honestly, if your level of IT is that low in any company, you should be out-sourcing all of your storage and IT needs and not even trying to do this alone. But it would be almost questionable why any company that small would need live, fast storage like this. New cloud services are generally far more their cup-of-tea for the very small businesses. Literally buy it and forget it, use it like a drive within your company, fully encrypted, etc. and surprisingly quick considering. Even my extremely large company has a few online storage systems for the 'very cheap' departments to use instead of spending a bit more for a rack in the data center and tape backups there-after. The cloud is far cheaper if you're not talking hundreds of Tera-bytes and extreme speed access. That's from the business side of the discussion. But again, these are aimed at consumers.
  • DiHydro - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    "Businesses have an entirely different type of storage, far faster, more secure, and actually quite larger." You mean this same hardware in a rack mount? Did you even read this article? Any business employing 1-50 or so people would be the target for this NAS. Something like a hairdresser, contractor, accounting firm (hopefully with offsite backup also). You are too entrenched in your view point to see that others have different priorities and objectives. Yes, for people like you and I, setting up an 8 bay NAS with generic components is trivial, but the manager at your grocery store doesn't know, and doesn't care. They will buy something that is plug-and-play, has a warranty, and has the storage they need. Imagine if that manager hired you to set up a storage solution, would you custom build the hardware and install Ubuntu for it? No, you would quote out one of these, and a couple hours of install. Making you a nice profit, and not having the buyer have deal with you and the cobbled together solution for any little problem in hardware compatibility, or down time, or interoperability issues.
  • SirGCal - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    The manager at the grocery store isn't responsible for buying hardware and would have no need for said hardware. Nore would a hairdresser... And even if they did need storage, online storage would be more cost beneficial in most of those cases. But what are they going to store? The grocery store has a giant IT system tied into the parent company with their proprietary software. The Hairdresser has contact information, assuming they have their own store and not working for a chain... My parents both work at a grocery while they retire. And unfortunately, mom & pop groceries are all but gone due to the push of the horrible corporate arm. And I help my wife's hairdresser who does my hair for Locks for Love when I grew it out (a free everything when I donated). The most she ever needs is her laptop cleaned of malware. All of her contact information is safely and securely stored in the 'cloud' (god I hate that word... it's on servers on the internet... but let's tag it with a stupid word now that speeds are high enough we can push to outside storage easier...) Nice try though. Ironic on both counts, but no dice.
  • verraneventide - Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - link

    SirGCal: yes, I am resurrecting this comment chain almost a year later. I rarely post on the 'net to comments like these: so lucky you. We just deployed this NAS for my client. My client is a small retail business (20+ employees) who sell medical scrubs and equipment. They own three retail stores, run two large e-commerce sites and handle a lot of phone orders. We setup the NAS to retain local disk images of all their machines. We also use it for VM hosting and additional file sharing needs. They use me as a part time contractor because they have a very tight budget and cannot afford a full time (competent) IT resource. They would much rather purchase a device, with manufacturer support, like this, than have me spend labor hours building something out that I may not be around to support later (i.e. if I get hit by a bus). We also backup everything to the cloud as a redundant fail-safe. This *includes* everything on the NAS. Sure, I could have set up my own solution. But, as a previous commenter mentioned: finding and purchasing the necessary hardware, setting it up, testing it and deploying it would have been more time consuming, and therefore more expensive. I am calling bull**** on going through that entire process in only 30 minutes. And, again, a custom solution would have been without manufacturer support. So, "no dice".
  • awktane - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Configure a NAS unit like this beside someone who is trying to create a HA iscsi server with plex, picture sharing website, and cloud synch replacing onedrive/dropbox/etc with little prior knowledge. Then do watch them both when something goes wrong. Time is money.
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    If I rebuilt my home file server from scratch, it would probably take me less than an hour to get it up and running. When I did it originally, I spent days experimenting which filesystem to use, tuning cache and stripe size on the array for performance, diagnose samba configuration issues etc. As a hobby, that's fine. If I had to charge for my time, it would have been cheaper to just buy a preconfigured NAS.
  • dgingeri - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    If their time is worth that much, they should hire a real IT guy to do it right.

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