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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  • vLsL2VnDmWjoTByaVLxb - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Sorry, that was meant as a response for JeffFlanagan's post above. :\
  • JustaUsernameorWE - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Anyone have any idea when/if they'll put Rangeley in a 2bay unit? Not thrilled with the current 2 bay market.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Synology doesn't have one (yet), but the Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay should fit your needs

    It is based on Rangeley too, albeit a 2C/2T model running at 1.7 GHz.
  • romrunning - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Is there any specs on how these perform when compare to a simple, business-class server that has 8-bays? Something like a Dell PowerEdge T320 that has the capability for 8 x 3.5" drives and includes a quad-port GB NIC can be had for basically the same price as the Synology here.

    These larger-cost 8-bay NAS machines have a high price tag, so a natural competitor (in terms of price) seems to be servers from the standard server vendors. So I would love to see how it actually compares.
  • peterfares - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    Poorly. Their only advantages over a computer are smaller and more power efficient. People will talk about how it saves so much time but you have to save quite a lot of time to make up the difference in cost between a synology and a much cheaper and faster computer.
  • romrunning - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    I also would like to know if some of the poor network performance numbers shown by these selected NAS units are also present in a full server setup.

    I guess we'll never know because these review units likely come with caveats on what type of "competing" devices they can reviewed against.
  • dgingeri - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

    An Atom processor, 8 bays, 2GB of memory, and 8 bays, for $1050. I could build better for less, and get more flexibility.
  • peterfares - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link


    Haha. Those peoples time must be worth a lot. And if it's worth that much, why are they going for a Synology and not something better?
  • rpg1966 - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - link

  • DiHydro - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    My time, plus any employees or services I have on the NAS could cost me the initial price each *hour* if it goes down. So having one physical unit, with hot swap, and on the fly rebuild is worth the price in some cases.

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