Synology RackStation RS3411xs review

Reviews 19 Dec, 2011

Synology's new rack mount NAS appliance makes the move to a Core i3 processor, is 10-Gigabit Ethernet ready and has dual Infiniband ports giving it massive expansion potential. Dave Mitchell takes the RS3411xs for a high-speed test drive on the lab's 10-Gigabit network. Read this review to see how it fared.

4
Price: 
£1,750
ex VAT
Verdict: 
The RS3411xs scores highly for its huge storage expansion potential using high-speed Infiniband ports and performance over Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE networks is very good. USB3 and SATA3 support are lacking and we don’t think the dual supply models are worth the extra cash, but the list of features is still impressive making this appliance well suited to SMBs with big expansion plans.

Synology was one of the first NAS appliance vendors to take expansion seriously and its latest ten-bay RS3411xs comes equipped with not one, but two high performance Infiniband ports. Linking it up with two twelve-bay RX1211 disk shelves allows raw capacity to be increased to a massive 102TB when using 3TB hard disks.

The RS3411xs is also one of the first Synology business appliances to make the move from an Atom CPU to Core i3 and its PCI Express expansion slot accepts single and dual-port 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) cards. It also uses server grade ECC memory and the standard 2GB of RAM can be expanded to 8GB, although you will have to dispense with the pair of 1GB sticks to achieve this.

The RS3411xs comes equipped with not one, but two high performance Infiniband ports.

Our review model only came with a single power supply, but Synology also offers the RS3411RPxs which has dual redundant power supplies. However, we really can’t see how Synology can justify charging over £600 more for this. Instead, you could get a top quality business UPS such as APC’s SmartUPS 1500VA rack mount model and save some cash as well.

The RS3411xs is well built and its custom motherboard has twelve SATA 2 interfaces cabled directly to the hot-swap hard disk backplane. The Infiniband ports are also surface mounted and the single PCI Express expansion slot sits to the side.

Installation is a swift affair as an Assistant utility locates the appliance on the network, prepares the hard disks and loads the DSM (Disk Station Manager) software from the CD-ROM or from wherever you’ve downloaded the latest firmware. Then it’s over to the new web interface which we found very well designed and easily customised using drag and drop.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Core i3-2100

Memory: 2GB DDR3 ECC expandable to 8GB

Storage: 10 x 3.5in.or 2.5in SATA2 hard disk hot-swap bays

RAID: Software managed

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

Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet

Other ports: 4 x USB2, 2 x Infiniband expansion

Expansion: 1 x PCI Express x8 Gen 2

Management: Web browser

Software: Synology Assistant, Download Redirector and Data Replicator 3

Options: RX1211, £773; RS3411RPxs, £2,272; RX1211RP, £1,249 (all ex VAT)