Synology RackStation RS2211+ review

Reviews 27 Jul, 2011

Synology gets serious about expansion as its new RS2211+ is the first to use an Infiniband connection and can scale to an impressive 66TB. Dave Mitchell finds out if it's a good choice as a rack mount NAS appliance for businesses.

4
Price: 
£1,174
ex VAT
Verdict: 
Synology’s RS2211+ is very good value when stacked up against similar rack appliances from Thecus, Qnap and Netgear. Its superior expansion potential makes it a better choice for businesses with big plans for the future and our tests show the Infiniband connection has no detrimental impact on performance. Synology also packs in plenty of features and offers some of the best IP SAN features in this class.

Many NAS appliance vendors are now making rack mounted appliances, but some seem to have forgotten that expansion is a key business requirement. Not so with Synology as its latest RackStation RS2211+ can be linked to an RX1211 expansion shelf with 12 drive bays via a high performance Infiniband port.

The RackStation RS2211+ can be linked to an RX1211 expansion shelf with 12 drive bays via a high performance Infiniband port

The main unit has ten hot-swap drive bays so this dynamic duo allows capacity to be pushed to an impressive 66TB, although the latest 6Gbit/s SATA disks aren't yet to supported. We tested the RS2211+ and RX1211 together in this review, but for full power redundancy, Synology offers RS2211RP+ and RX1211RP combos which both have dual hot-plug power supplies.

The RS2211+ unit is a well built 2U rack chassis with the tenth drive bay located underneath a system status panel on the right. We were impressed with its internal layout as the custom motherboard has everything neatly embedded on it.

The SATA interfaces are cabled directly to the hard disk backplane and the Infiniband expansion port is hard wired at the back. The appliance has a 1.8GHz dual-core Atom processor and a spare SODIMM socket allows the standard 1GB of DDR2 memory to be increased to 3GB.

The Infiniband port sits at the rear of the RackStation RS2211+

A point worth highlighting is that the Infiniband connection represents a single point of failure. Higher-end appliances such as HP’s P2000 G3 use dual RAID controllers with redundant SAS ports for expansion shelves, although these do cost many times more than the RS2211+.

Installation follows the same path as all other Synology appliances where an Assistant utility finds the appliance on the network and loads the DSM (Disk Station Manager) software for you. Array setup comes next and for testing we loaded four 1TB WD SATA disks and created a RAID 5 array.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525

Memory: 1GB DDR2 expandable to 3GB

Storage: 10 x 3.5in.or 2.5in SATA hard disk hot-swap bays

RAID: Software managed

Array support: RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, Hybrid, hot-spare and JBODs

Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet

Other ports: 4 x USB2, Infiniband

Management: Web browser

Software: Synology Assistant, Download Redirector and Data Replicator 3

Options: RX1211, £864; RS2211RP+, £1,514; RX1211RP, £1,328 (all ex VAT)