Best Value

Synology DiskStation DS1817 Review

Heading up Synology’s Value range of NAS appliances, the latest DS1817 aims to deliver 10-Gigabit (10GbE) networking to small businesses at a bargain price. Costing $849 for a diskless appliance, the DS1817 looks to have achieved this as you’ll be hard pushed to find a competing product with dual embedded 10GBase-T ports for less than this.

This 10GbE goodness comes courtesy of a 1.7GHz quad-core Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 SoC which also provides a pair of standard Gigabit ports. The RS1817 is a big improvement over Synology’s ultimately flawed (and discontinued) DS2015xs which also had an Alpine CPU but came with dual fiber 10GbE ports that required expensive laser transceivers.

The DS1817 uses a very similar chassis to the Plus Series DS1817+ but there some significant differences. The DS1817 doesn’t have a PCI-Express expansion slot so can’t support Synology’s M2D17 M.2 SATA SSD adapter or be upgraded with more 10GbE cards.

Base memory is 4GB of DDR3L (the DS1817xs+ also uses DDR3) which can be upgraded to a maximum of 8GB. It isn’t as easy though, as the entire lid has to be removed to access the spare SO-DIMM socket whereas the DS1817+ has an easy-access hatch underneath.

App limitations

For testing, we slipped a quartet of 10TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives in the appliance’s tool-free carriers. We loaded the browser-based discovery tool and allowed it to locate the appliance on the lab network, download the latest DSM software and create a single SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) array from all the drives.

Synology’s hybrid arrays simplify RAID choices as they can be easily expanded with new drives and the latest DSM 6.1 supports an SHR-2 dual redundancy option. If these don’t take your fancy, you can create standard RAID5 or 6 arrays if you wish.

The first limitation of the 32-bit Alpine CPU becomes apparent when creating storage volumes as it doesn’t support BTRFS. Without this file system, you can’t install the Snapshot Replication app and use it to create NAS and IP SAN snapshots.

You also won’t be able to use the DS1817 as a replication target for the Snapshot Replication app running on remote Synology appliances. Other key 64-bit apps not supported are Active Backup for Servers, Docker, MailPlus, MailPlus Server, AntiVirus for McAfee and the new Intrusion Prevention beta.

Now the good news

The DS1817 may not support snapshots but the Hyper Backup app goes a long way to make up for this

Even with the restrictions of the CPU, there are still plenty of useful apps to choose from. Cloud features are exceptional as the Cloud Sync app works with 21 public providers while the DSM’s Cloud Station Server app delivers everything you need to create private workstation backup and file sharing clouds.

The Hyper Backup app keeps all your local, remote, Rysnc and cloud backups neat and tidy and offers wizards for 19 different types of backups. We found it very simple to use while file restorations are easy to conduct as the app’s integral Backup Explorer allowed us to view our secured data and restore it to its original location, copy it to another destination or download it onto the host PC.

With our pack of IronWolfs loaded, we availed ourselves of the new IHM (IronWolf Health Management) feature. This is accessed from the DSM Storage Manager app and used to run on on-demand and scheduled health tests on selected drives with the results viewed from the drive’s Health Info page.

Its big storage capacity makes the DS1817 a great video recording repository and Synology’s Surveillance Station 8.1 beta app is going to be a winner. At last, it delivers a new HTML5-based web interface which overcomes all the problems with the aging NPAPI plugin.

The DS1817 will run all of Synology’s cloud apps for private file sharing and backup

We had no problems adding our D-Link IP cameras and found the new Live View worked fine in Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. We really like the Home Mode and GeoFence features as these linked up with the DS Cam iOS app on our iPad to activate different recording and notification rules based on our location.

Good 10GbE performance

The Alpine CPUs aren’t known for their stunning performance but the DS1817 put in a fair showing in our 10GbE lab tests. With a dual Xeon E5-2600 v4 Windows server hooked up to a dedicated share, Iometer returned good raw sequential read and write speeds of 8.4Gbps and 4.5Gbps.

We upped the pressure by adding a second Windows server with a mapped share over a second dedicated 10GbE link and saw cumulative Iometer read and write speeds of 10.3Gbps and 6.9Gbps. Our read speeds were around 2Gbps less than the maximum throughput claimed by Synology whereas our write speeds were actually 1.1Gbps faster.

Real world speeds were good with copies of our 25GB test file from and to a mapped share returning read and write averages of 4.6Gbps and 3.6Gbps. Our backup test proved to be more challenging as our 22.4GB test folder and its 10,500 small files was secured at only 1.5Gbps.

The Surveillance Station 8.1 beta delivers a new HTML5 web interface which supports the Live View feature

Conclusion

With its eight drive bays and dual 10GBase-T ports, the DS1817 has little competition as Qnap’s similarly priced, Alpine-equipped TS-831X only offers dual fibre 10GbE ports. As long as you’re aware of some of the app restrictions of the 32-bit Alpine CPU, the DS1817 and its modest price tag make it a good choice for budget-conscious small businesses that want a 10GbE-ready backup vault and private cloud server.

It’s also worth factoring in Synology’s new extended warranty offer which brings extra peace of mind. Purchased with the appliance and requiring registration within 30 days, Synology’s EW201 package pushes the standard hardware warranty from three to five years and all for the princely sum of around $140.

8 Total Score

With its eight drive bays and dual 10GBase-T ports, the DS1817 has little competition as Qnap’s similarly priced, Alpine-equipped TS-831X only offers dual fibre 10GbE ports. As long as you’re aware of some of the app restrictions of the 32-bit Alpine CPU, the DS1817 and its modest price tag make it a good choice for budget-conscious small businesses that want a 10GbE-ready backup vault and private cloud server. It’s also worth factoring in Synology’s new extended warranty offer which brings extra peace of mind. Purchased with the appliance and requiring registration within 30 days, Synology’s EW201 package pushes the standard hardware warranty from three to five years and all for the princely sum of around $140.

Performance
7.5
Features
7
Build Quality
8.5
Usability
8
Value
9
PROS
  • Dual 10GBase-T ports
  • Reasonable NAS performance
  • Good value
  • Big storage capacity
  • Classy Surveillance Station 8.1
CONS
  • 32-bit CPU
  • BTRFS and snapshots not supported
  • Reduced app availability
User Rating: Be the first one!

Post your comment below

Leave a reply