Introduction and Testbed Setup

Synology started the roll-out of their SMB-targeted NAS units based on Intel's latest Atom platform (Rangeley) in September 2014. We have already looked at the 4-bay DS415+ in detail. Today, the 5-bay DS1515+ and 8-bay DS1815+ versions are being officially launched. As a recap, the Rangeley-based NAS units finally bring about hardware accelerated encryption capabilities to DSM in the desktop tower form factor. A host of other advantages pertaining to the storage subsystem are also provided by Rangeley / Avoton. The SoC being used in the DS1815+ (Intel Atom C2538) is the same as the one being used in the DS415+ and the amount of RAM is also the same (2 GB). The difference is in the number of expansion bays that can be attached to the main unit (2x 5-bay DX513 for the DS1815+ vs. 1x 5-bay DX513 for the DS415+, with some volume expansion restrictions on the latter). The RAM in the DS1815+ can be upgraded (one free slot that can accommodate an extra 4 GB of RAM). Unlike the 100W external adapter in the DS415+, we have an internal 250W PSU in the DS1815+.

The I/O ports on the DS1815+ are based on the DS1813+. Compared to the DS1812+ that we reviewed last year, the DS1813+ (and, by extension, the DS1815+ that we are looking at today) added two extra network ports. Eight drive bays and four GbE network links are backed up by an embedded Linux OS, the DSM, which brings a host of virtualization certifications. All in all, the new Atom platform in DS1815+ seems to present a compelling case over the previous 8-bay units from Synology based on the older Atoms. The specifications of the DS1815+ are provided in the table below.

Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom C2538 (4C/4T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 2.40 GHz)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 RAM (+ 4GB max. in 2nd slot)
Drive Bays 8x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II / III HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
Network Links 4x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 4x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Price US $1050 (Amazon)

In the rest of the review, we will take a look at the Intel Rangeley platform and how the Synology DS1815+ takes advantage of it. This is followed by benchmark numbers for both single and multi-client scenarios across a number of different client platforms as well as access protocols. We have a separate section devoted to the performance of the DS1815+ with encrypted shared folders. Prior to all that, we will take a look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The Synology DS1815+ can take up to eight drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We expect typical usage to be with multiple volumes in a RAID-5 or RAID-6 disk group. However, to keep things consistent across different NAS units, we benchmarked a SHR volume with single disk redundancy (RAID-5). Eight Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives were used as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

The above testbed runs 25 Windows 7 VMs simultaneously, each with a dedicated 1 Gbps network interface. This simulates a real-life workload of up to 25 clients for the NAS being evaluated. All the VMs connect to the network switch to which the NAS is also connected (with link aggregation, as applicable). The VMs generate the NAS traffic for performance evaluation.

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Platform Analysis
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  • DiHydro - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    A full time employee making ~$40k a year can cost a company about ~$55k a year, and even then, having vendor support and warranty can leave them free to do other support tasks.
  • CalaverasGrande - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    Half hour to set up linux? Sure that is possible. But that is hardly typical for soup to nuts, setting up Suse/Debian/Ubuntu, configuring network, doing the inevitable updates, then configuring drives as arrays, iScsi targets etc.
    Unless you are on a 'nix machine everyday most of us will have to google or man how to do this or that in regards to building an array, setting up certain services we want available and so on.
    Linux is certainly powerful, but it is not terribly user friendly for the average consumer.
    As far as 'proven', Synology, Qnap and Drobo have all been doing this NAS thing for a while. They are pretty mature, and have certain features that have evolved in response to their user base. While these are not impossible or even hard to replicate on Linux, Windows or OS X, they are already there on most of these NAS. Even in business IT we sometimes lean on these consumer grade NAS for certain low impact applications. (we actually used a Drobo on a project a couple years ago, not my call actually)
    You open the box, plug it in, beep boop, it works. There is value to that, expecially if you dont have a shelf full of spares in the back and if you already spent all day working on technical stuff and just want it to work.
  • SirGCal - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    "Half hour to set up linux? Sure that is possible. But that is hardly typical for soup to nuts, setting up Suse/Debian/Ubuntu, configuring network, doing the inevitable updates, then configuring drives as arrays, iScsi targets etc."

    It's soooo complicated... Insert boot CD/DVD. Follow prompts... In 5 minutes the system is running with the networks, graphics, sound, etc already fully configured (assuming you are using a desktop/server with desktop GUI version, even faster without). Run the update which is a one-liner and takes another 2 minutes. That's the whole point, it's not bogged down by Microsoft's horrible server communication and 'update' system. Then plug in the X drives and run a few simple commands easily found with google in less then 3 minutes (to do the full ZFS install, it takes 3 and that's including another 'update')... Setup your array pool, ok that might take 10 minutes... and cron a watchdog script to monitor the array and email you if there is an issue... Setup shares.. Ohh.. done. Good lord how slow do you people work? when I lost an OS drive on one of the array boxes and had to stick in a new one, I went from empty system to fully up and re-running again in 10 minutes. It just doesn't take long with Linux. It is long since 'Proven' itself and been tweaked for the fast installers. Want an even faster and more like Syn system, use FreeNAS. Hell, don't even need a boot up HDD/SDD. It can live and run from a USB drive and do all of the above also. Ideal for copying something like a Syn. Can do all that and more. It's a more specific version of FreeBSD. All just another flavor of Linux. It's just not the hard OS it used to be and even Syn runs a flavor of Linux Kernel as the Synology DSM tweaked by it's developers. It's all the same. But as many Syn users learned last year, being 'unique' also makes it a target for viruses. That's why Windows gets so many and other OSs don't get as much. But when the users wanted to 'lock' the Syn boxes and hold them up for hostage, it wasn't that difficult to write a virus to target that. That's one very large problem with proprietary OSs.
  • evilspoons - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    Laziness is not the factor. It's warrantied performance and reliability vs the hourly costs of screwing it around to figure it out yourself. For a home/tech user you might see this as a side project; for someone at a small engineering company that can't afford an IT department the boss would see me building an array myself as something holding business-critical data that could blow up on its own without a phone number to call for help AND me spending like 4-8 hours of time I could otherwise be doing engineering billable at $180/hr. Tada, it just paid for itself.
  • SirGCal - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    So then you're a multi-millionare making $180 an hour.. Trade ya... I make plenty to give $ away every holiday just cause I can, but I don't have anything like that...
  • DiHydro - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    As a business, if the file server goes down, then it's down time multiplied by how many employees you have. Could be way, way more than $180 an hour that the owner is losing.
  • SirGCal - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    Then they shouldn't have mission-critical information on something so vulnerable. Not even on something like my own boxes. That's the companies own fault for not having proper data protection for mission critical information.
  • Beany2013 - Thursday, November 27, 2014 - link

    No, it's your fault for not *telling* them that's what they need, and not refusing to work with them till they agreed to let you build that sort of redundancy into the system. Not sp

    That's why I'm glad I'm out of working with SMBs and SOHOs - I don't have to fix half-baked solutions like yours any more.

    I assume you are using 5gb of RAM per TB for dedupe, unless of course you *want* the server to page itself to a halt in a years time when you run out of memory?

    I've spent a decade designing and installing system, storage and network solutions for SOHOs and SMBs up to government level - people like you are a nightmare.

    And yes, SMBs and SOHOs have been loving this kit for the last couple of years since the price/performance/featureset trifecta came through - because it means they don't have to deal with people like you, either.

    Oh and you do realise that DSM is built around the Linux kernel, right? And that far from being proprietary, it's Linux and MDADM? To such a degree that if you need to recovery disks fast, you can just fire up MDADM, recreate the VG and copy the data off from a live Ubuntu CD?

    As for Synolocker, if you leave port 389 open to the internet on a Windows box you'll be FUBAR PDQ too - but as a good sysadmin, you'd only let remote users access the box via obfuscated ports at worst, or a VPN connection so you'd not have been touched by it...nothing to do with proprietary (See ShellShock for details - thats proper FLOSS and still got humped) and everything to do with being poorly advised on setup and config.

    By people like you. Who think that BSD is a flavour of Linux. Hint - it's not. Linux was developed specifically because it's *not* Unix. Do the damned research....
  • evilspoons - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    Are you kidding? That's a normal engineering rate. I don't get paid that, the COMPANY bills that. That is what keeps the lights on. I can't bill the customer $180/hr when I'm setting up a RAID array, but I can when I'm actually WORKING ON THEIR PROJECT.
  • AbRASiON - Sunday, November 23, 2014 - link

    I built a 30TB FreeNAS box and while I enjoyed it - this has little to do with the "the lazy" - I'd estimate it was at least 50 hours research in getting it humming properly and I'm relatively tech savvy.

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