Synology RackStation RS815+ review

The RS815+ rack NAS appliance delivers on Synology’s performance promises

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£580
  • Fine performance; Good value, Excellent cloud backup features, Ideal video surveillance repository
  • RX415 expansion shelf is expensive

Taking over from the RS814+, Synology's new entry-level rack NAS appliance brings a much needed boost in performance. The RS815+ replaces its predecessor's elderly D2700 Atom with a superior quad-core 2.4GHz Atom C2538 and claims top read rates of 390MB/sec.

There's more as the Atom's built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine increases speed significantly for encrypted volumes. It also improves on memory capacity as the base 2GB of DDR3 can be upgraded to a maximum of 6GB with a single SO-DIMM module.

Along with quad Gigabit and dual USB3 ports, the RS815+ has an eSATA port at the back for doubling capacity with Synology's 4-bay RX415 disk shelf. With both units certified for the latest 6TB hard disks, you can take capacity to a hefty 48TB but we think the 390 price tag for the RX415 is a tad high for what is essentially a dumb box.

Synology's backup apps just keep getting better and include one for Amazon's Glacier service.

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Top notch backup features

The RS815+ works for us as a backup repository as the cooling fans are easily quiet enough for a small or home office and it offers a heap of data protection tools. Using the DSM backup app, we could replicate to other Synology appliances, backup folders to another local location and use the built-in support for Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure cloud storage.

Apps are available for ElephantDrive and SymForm and we had no problems using the Glacier app with our Amazon Web Services account. For workstation backup, Synology now wants you to use its Cloud Station as the aging Data Replicator Windows tool has been retired.

We installed the Cloud Station client on a Windows 7 desktop and selected the folders we wanted synced. After linking up with the appliance, it secured them to the user's home folder and then proceeded to update them in real time so any modified files or newly created ones were secured in seconds.

IDrive users will like the new cloud backup app which can be downloaded directly from the IDrive web site. To install it, you need to change the Package Manager security trust level to allow any app to be installed on the appliance.

On loading the app, it took us to the IDrive web portal where we logged in with our account details and selected the files and folders on the appliance we wanted secured to the cloud. Jobs can be scheduled to run regularly and after logging into the IDrive web portal, we could access our backed up files for restoration from anywhere.

IDrive has developed an app that lets you back up NAS storage to its cloud servers

Top performance

Synology says the RS815+ is its most powerful 1U NAS appliance yet and to test these claims we installed a triplet of 4TB WD Red hard disks and created a RAID5 array using the slick DSM 5.1 web interface. With a share mapped to a Broadberry CyberServe dual Xeon E5-2683 v3 rack server, Iometer returned raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec. 

To test maximum speed we called up three more Xeon E5-2600 v2 servers with each receiving a mapped share over a dedicated Gigabit port on the appliance. Simultaneously running Iometer on all four servers returned cumulative read rates of 448MB/sec nearly 15 per cent better than Synology's claims.

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During these tests we kept an eye on the DSM's resource monitor and saw one server drawing around 25 percent CPU resources. With all four tests running, CPU usage maxed out at 97 per cent.

Encryption performance is equally impressive as drag and drop copies of a 50GB test file saw sustained write speeds of 107MB/sec for an unencrypted share and 80MB/sec for an encrypted one. To put this in perspective, the same test run on an older Atom D2700 equipped DS1813+ returned a modest 22MB/sec write speed.

In our four server performance test, we pushed the appliance's CPU to the max

Video storage

The appliance also makes a great choice as a discrete storage repository for surveillance recording. Synology beats the NAS competition hand-down as its Surveillance Station app is the best around.

We tested the latest v7.0 which has just emerged from full beta testing and were wowed by the features on offer. We had no problems adding our D-Link DCS-6511 IP camera using the new discovery wizard and the freshly designed interface made light work of setting up recording schedules and motion detection triggers.

We imported a JPEG map of our office location into the E-map tool via drag and drop and used the new Action Rules feature to set motion detection triggers to fire off snapshot and recording schedules. Synology includes two camera licenses with an extra 4-pack license costing around 143 ex VAT.  

For a NAS appliance, Synology's Surveillance Station 7.0 provides the best IP camera monitoring and recording features 

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Conclusion

At around 580 for a diskless unit, the RS815+ looks good value as Qnap's TS-469U-SP will set you back at least 150 more and only has an elderly D2700 Atom, 1GB of RAM and two Gigabit ports. Synology offers an RS815RP+ model which has dual redundant PSUs and is also a lot better value than the Qnap alternative. 

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The RS815+ won't be beaten for features either and its DSM has some of the best backup apps in town. Add in its top performance and you have all-round winner.

Verdict

This compact rack NAS appliance delivers top performance at a very affordable price. Synology’s DSM is also packed with features which include excellent cloud backup and IP camera surveillance utilities.

Chassis: 1U rack

CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Atom C2538

Memory: 2GB DDR3 (max 6GB)

Storage: 4 x hot-swap SATA drive bays

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6, hot-spare, JBOD, Hybrid

Network: 4 x Gigabit

Other ports: 2 x USB 3

Expansion: 1 x eSATA

Power: Internal PSU

Management: Web browser

Software: Synology Assistant and Cloud Station

Warranty: 3-year limited

Options: DX415 4-bay expansion unit, £390 ex VAT

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