Synology RackStation RS810RP+ review

Synology’s new rack mount NAS appliance is fast, packed with features and has lots of expansion potential. It’s also expensive, so read this review to find out whether it’s worth the extra cash.

To check expansion we loaded two more 1TB drives in an RX410 appliance and without powering the main unit down, hot-plugged it into the eSATA port with the supplied cable. The drives immediately popped up in the Storage Manager window where we could add them to the existing array or create a new one.

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Real world performance is good as drag and drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip from a Dell PowerEdge R715 rack server, equipped with two Opteron processors and a total of 24 cores, returned average speeds of 96MB/sec and 83MB/sec. FTP operations were even faster with the FileZilla client reporting read and write speeds of 103MB/sec for the same test file.

Performance over the eSATA port was slower. We ran the same tests on a striped array on the RX410 and saw read and write speeds drop to 75MB/sec and 72MB/sec whilst FTP operations returned around 78MB/sec.

IP SANs are supported and the latest firmware increases support to ten targets. We found these generally simple to create, although don't expect any help with MPIO configuration as the manual is devoid of instructions for this function.

The appliance also has iSCSI thin provisioning which allows targets to be created that only use a small amount of space on the appliance but appear much larger to the host. To test this we created a 2TB target in our RAID-5 volume and presented it to a Windows Server 2008 R2 system.

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As far as the host was concerned it had access to a 2TB virtual volume but the Storage Manager showed it was only using up a few megabytes on the appliance. As more data is stored on the target, the appliance dynamically allocates extra space to it and when you reach the limits of physical capacity you can add more drives and increase the size of the physical volume the target resides on.

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