Synology DiskStation DS3617xs review

Synology’s biggest desktop NAS appliance gets a welcome performance boost

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£1,865
  • Big expansion potential, DDR4 memory, Top 10GbE NAS speeds; Excellent data protection features, Very quiet
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Businesses that want lots of network storage but without the added expense of a rack cabinet could find Synology's DS3617xs an ideal solution. This big desktop cube offers 12 hot-swap drive bays supporting high-capacity SATA drives and supports up to two 12-bay expansion units.

Stepping in as the replacement for the DS3615xs, it uses precisely the same charcoal black chassis. The motherboard has been upgraded to a quad-core 2.2GHz Xeon D-1527 SoC (system on chip) and you get a generous 16GB of fast DDR4 memory upgradeable to 48GB. 

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The port count stay stays the same with four Gigabit plus dual USB 3 and it has a single PCI-Express expansion slot for 10-Gigabit (10GbE) upgrades. Synology offers its own fibre cards or you can use industry-standard single and dual-port adapters from Intel, Emulex and Mellanox.

Storage expansion looks good as it retains the two Infiniband ports for connecting Synology's DX1215 disk units. Their high bandwidth makes them more suitable for expanding RAID arrays into the expansion units than those that rely on slower USB 3 connections and with 10TB drives certified, capacity can be boosted to a very usable 360TB.

With our 10TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives in residence, the DS3617xs delivered an impressive performance 

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Good NAS speeds 

For our performance tests, we slipped a triplet of Seagate's latest 10TB IronWolf NAS drives into the appliance's tool-less carriers and used its quick start wizard to create a big 18.2TB RAID5 array. Synology dropped support for its hybrid RAID arrays in its business range but if you can take the hit on capacity, dual-redundant RAID6 arrays are available.

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We mapped a share over a 10GbE link to a Lenovo System x3550 M5 rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2 and saw Iometer report excellent raw read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 7.3Gbits/sec. Real world speeds are equally good with our 25GB file copies returning sustained read and write speeds of 3.4Gbits/sec and 3.3Gbits/sec.

The DS3617xs makes a speedy backup target as our 22.4GB test folder with 10,500 small files was secured at 2.4Gbits/sec. The Xeon D-1527 also handles encryption well as copying our 25GB file to an encrypted share averaged 1.8Gbits/sec with CPU utilisation peaking at only 22 percent.

Synology's DSM software includes plenty of valuable data protection tools

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