A number of Intel Atom D27xx-based NAS systems have been evaluated in our labs, even though we formally reviewed only one earlier this year, the LaCie 5big NAS Pro. The Thecus N4800 has made its appearance in a some benchmarks presented in our SMB / SOHO NAS testbed article. Synology is one of the well respected vendors in the SMB / SOHO NAS space, and we have reviewed a number of units from them in the previous years. They recently refreshed their 8-bay SMB / SOHO NAS lineup with the DS1813+. Based on the same platform as the DS1812+ (Atom D2700), it added two extra network ports. However, due to the similarity in the underlying platform, the performance can be expected to be similar to last year's version (except when all four links are teamed together when compared to dual teaming), the DS1812+. The Synology DS1812+, a 8-bay desktop tower form factor offering, has been under stress in our labs since the beginning of this year.

In our experience with Synology NAS units, we have found that they typically manage to tick all the right boxes for the perfect consumer NAS (except for the pricing factor). Does the DS1812+ carry things forward, or do we have something to complain about?

The specifications of the Synology DS1812+ are provided below:

Synology DS1812+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom D2700 (2C/4T, 2.13 GHz)
RAM 1 GB DDR3 RAM (Upgradable to 3 GB)
Drive Bays 8x 3.5"/2.5" SATA / SAS 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-swappable)
Network Links 2x 1 GbE
USB Slots 2x USB 3.0 / 4x USB 2.0
eSATA Slots 2x
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Synology DS1812+ Hardware Specs

In the rest of the review, I will cover some unboxing and setup impressions. A detailed description of the testbed setup and testing methodology is followed by performance numbers in both single and multi-client modes. As requested by multiple readers, we will also briefly cover performance with encryption enabled. In the final section, power consumption numbers as well as RAID rebuild times will be covered along with some closing notes.

Unboxing and Setup Impressions
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  • ganeshts - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Yes, you can add the DX510 expansion chassis via the eSATA ports and get a total of (5 + 5) 10 more bays. That is why you have the 18 in the DS1812+ :)
  • Peroxyde - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    @name99 the USB/eSATA ports allow to make a backup of the NAS on external drives or may be dump content on your NAS. They are not to extend the capacity of your NAS.
  • name99 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    OK. Thanks.
    Again to me seems a strange use case which can easily be duplicated just by uing one of the client machines, but I guess when you're selling something costing a $K you try to add in any random thing you can think of to make it appear worth the money.
  • don_k - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Your NFS numbers seem way too low compared to the CIFS numbers. Might want to drop the 'tcp' from the options, is the most likely culprit. NFS defaults to udp, not sure why you're changing that.
  • ganeshts - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    I see a number of vociferous comments about how a ZFS build / building your own NAS will offer better performance and how Synology (or, for that matter, any other vendor's off-the-shelf NAS offering) is just too costly. Let me try to address the issue:

    1. Building your own NAS with a configuration tuned to what you require will obviously be more cost effective and efficient - no doubts about that. Synology and other such solutions are targeted towards SMB / SOHO users who don't have the expertise to build a NAS on their own, or feel that their time is better spent buying a off-the-shelf ready-to-use offering from a vendor. Maybe the IT admin of the SMB has better things to do than sitting down and building a PC and installing the appropriate OS etc. These off-the-shelf NAS units are just plug and play.

    2. Expandability: Units such as the DS1812+ offer the ability to extend the number of bays by providing support for extension units (DX510 has 5 bays and you can attach two of them to the unit). Plug them in and you have a total of 18-bays. Try adding that to your own build (first, you have to make sure the eSATA port you connect the new bays support port multipliers, then you have to spend a lot of time reconfiguring your host OS to recognize and add the new drives in the new bays to your existing array -- these are not impossible things, but just suck up a lot of time)

    3. Features : NAS vendors offer 'app stores' to extend the feature set. For example, I am currently trying out Surveillance Station on the DS1812+ right now. Ready-to-use minutes after installing it. On your PC, you have to set up something like iSpy and spend time making sure it is compatible with all your equipment. Synology becomes a one-stop-shop for such features.

    In summary, yes, if you are tech savvy and have a lot of time at your disposal, you are better off building your own NAS. There is plenty of open source software available to enable such systems (and to be fair, we are working towards evaluating a custom-built NAS for some time). We elect to do extended coverage of NAS units such as the DS1812+ and QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP because a large number of readers are IT admins / IT decision making people at many SMB / SOHO firms, and they are looking for off-the-shelf solutions. The off-the-shelf NAS market is pretty huge, and that is why you have a large number of vendors doing quite well with increasing revnue.. QNAP, Synology, Thecus, Netgear, Iomega / LenovoEMC, Asustor... The list is pretty big..
  • MadHelp - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Thank you for bringing some sense to this one sided thread. Building your own NAS can be done at a lower cost and offer you great benefits. However you will be hard pressed to build something more refined then this unit especially in regards to size and ease of use.
  • bsd228 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    The simplest form - an HP Microserver + Freenas is pretty easy to assemble. Allows for ECC memory and up to 16gb of it too for higher performance. Still is a tiny form factor, low power, low noise. If expandability is the driver, large PC cases and motherboards with PCIX cards will always win. If features matter, a linux install offers faster development and many more.

    I combine them all together - Microserver with 16gb, an SSD for caching, solaris (full install) with virtualbox, Ubuntu in a VM. It's still a lightweight processor (I'd prefer one of the ULV ivy or haswells), but it kills an Atom.

    Companies are flocking to this market because it offers nice the markup Puget might put on their beautiful systems.
  • MadHelp - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    The Microserver is a great build your own NAS box but it does not stand up to the DS1812+. For one you can only hold 5 3.5" disk max, while the Synology can hold eight and they are all hot swappable. How about warranty/support anyone?

    My opinion is based on owning both types of systems. I just sold my 1511+ + DX510 and I own a OI + Nappit ZFS array. They both have pros and cons. You can almost look at it like a person who's looking to buy a Mac verses a computer nerd who builds all of his boxes. There is a reason why Apple is in business and it's similar to why the Synology, QNAP's and Netgear's are able to sell NAS's.
  • bsd228 - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    Madhelp - the Microserver trivially takes 6 drives and has the PCIX slots to take more externally if you really wanted and needed the capacity. Or you could just buy two of them - with memory and a second NIC they're still only 400 each, compared to the $999 price of this unit bare. Either way, the DS1812+ can't stand up to the cpu, the features offered by zfs, the memory capacity, the overall feature set. And you can certainly get support for the software (not freenas, but WHS, or Nextenta or Solaris, others, and have the usual year warranty for the hardware.

    Synology and the others combine decent software, easy of use for a limited feature set, and barely good enough hardware into a package. IOW, one out of 3.
  • MadHelp - Sunday, June 16, 2013 - link

    6 hot swappable drives? I don't think so. WHS is discontinued and all of those other Solaris based products you listed cost thousands of dollars to buy and support. You might get more CPU and the ability to add more ram to a Microserver box but whats the result? For a storage box it's still going to be slower then a DS1812+ in regards to throughput. In fact while the reviewer dismiss the new DS1813+ it now can deliver 350MB/s reads and 200MB/s writes to the network. I've never see anything close to that from a Microserver, point being its in another class. You guys might complain about the cost but you get what you pay for.

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