Synology DiskStation DS3612xs review
Synology’s latest desktop NAS appliance is the biggest desktop appliance on the market, with a twelve-drive capacity and 10-Gigabit upgrades. Dave Mitchell finds out if it’s also the fastest and takes a look at the new DSM 4.0 beta, too.
We fitted an Emulex dual-port 10GbE card prior to testing, which was easily done as the DS3612xs' top panel can be removed separately to access its PCI-e slot. Memory upgrades aren't so easy though, as the motherboard must be completely removed from the side to get at the DIMM slots.
Incidentally, the Gen 2 8X PCI-e slot in the DS3612xs had no problems working with the Emulex card. In a recent review of the Thecus N8900 appliance in our sister title PC Pro, however, we found that its 4X PCI-e slot doesn't support Emulex 10GbE cards.
The appliance can be upgraded to 10-Gigabit as we had no problems with our Emulex dual-port card.
Installation is handled smoothly by the Assistant utility and the latest Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) software can also be loaded during this process. The appliance's web interface is also well designed, and is easily be customised using drag and drop operations.
RAID options are extensive and the DS3612xs' Disk Group feature supports multiple volumes in a single RAID array. Odd-size drives in search of a good home can also be used, thanks to the Hybrid RAID option that creates arrays regardless of drive make and capacity.
IP SAN support is also good as the DS3612xs can manage up to 64 iSCSI targets with thin provisioning. Select the latter option during target creation and will only use a small amount of drive space that will have blocks added dynamically as space is used up.
Synology offers a heap of extra features as standard, including FTP, mail, web, photo and multimedia servers, plus a Surveillance Station with some good IP camera recording and motion-detection features. Backup features range from locally managed jobs on the appliance, NAS-to-NAS replication, Rysnc support and the basic (but useful) Data Replicator 3 workstation backup software.
The current version of Synology's DSM provides a slickly designed interface that's very easy to use.
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