Best Value

Synology DiskStation DS416 Review

DS416-side

DS416 front viewThe DS416 is the latest to join Synology’s Value series of NAS appliances and aims to offer home users, professionals and small businesses a high capacity storage solution at an affordable price. Synology looks to have hit the bullseye for value as the DS416 is around $140 cheaper than the Plus Series DS415+.

It’s one of three appliances in this range to use an Annapurna Labs CPU or to be more precise, an Amazon CPU since it acquired the company last year. The DS416 is endowed with a speedy 1.4GHz Alpine AL-212 which incorporates dual cores and a hardware encryption engine.

The CPU is teamed up with 1GB of DDR3 memory which is not upgradeable. The appliance also has dual Gigabit ports and a triplet of USB 3 with two at the back and one at the front.

DS416 rear viewBuild quality

Externally, there are minimal difference between the DS416 and DS415+ as they lack any physical security for the hard disks. Both employ a push-fit glossy black cover for their four hot-swap drive bays and also use simple tool-free, non-lockable plastic drive carriers.

The only other difference is the DS416 doesn’t have the rear eSATA port as found on the DS415+. However, this is somewhat academic as the DS415+ doesn’t support Synology’s DX213 or DX513 expansion units anyway.

Cooling is handled very well as the Synology logos on both sides of the casing act as air grills and there are two 9cms diameter replaceable fans at the back. During testing, we found the DS416 to be very quiet making it an excellent choice for living rooms and home offices.

We tested noise levels by placing the DS416 in a quiet room and used the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad to record a background noise level of 34dB. With the appliance turned on and the iPad placed one meter away, we recorded a small increase to 35.5dB.

Easy installation

DSM 6 with Hyper Backup

New backup apps in DSM 6 include Hyper Backup and Hyper Backup Vault

For testing, we loaded up a triplet of 4TB WD Red NAS hard disks. With Synology’s discovery web portal on the case, initial deployment is very swift.

It found the appliance on the lab network, loaded the base DSM firmware, updated it to the latest version and had it ready to go inside 20 minutes. From the Storage Manager app, we chose a single SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) storage pool using all drives.

You can opt for classic RAID arrays but SHR is more flexible. It allows drives of different sizes to be mixed together without taking a hit on capacity and it supports single and dual-drive redundancy.

IP SANs are on the storage menu and the DS416 supports features such file and block level targets plus thin provisioning. A wizard helps with target creation plus LUN assignment while choosing the Advanced option brings LUN snapshots and cloning into play.

DSM features

The DS416 has an Alpine CPU

Our dual server performance test pushed the appliance’s Alpine CPU to the limit

Synology’s latest DSM 6 introduces a huge range of new data protection features but some are not available on the DS416. Most notably are shared folder snapshots and snapshot replication as these require BTRFS formatted volumes which are only supported by 64-bit CPUs – all the Value series use 32-bit CPUs.

Even so, the DS416 will happily run the new Hyper Backup app which provides a slick central console for managing local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups. We could also run the Hyper Backup Vault app on our remote Synology appliance and use it to view the contents of backups and restore files from them.

Private cloud features are extensive with the Cloud Sync app supporting a heap of providers including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Amazon Cloud Drive. Workstation backup is handled by the Cloud Station app which allowed our Windows desktop users to connect to the DS416 using its QuickConnect ID and sync selected local folders with the appliance in real-time.

Multimedia toys are also in abundance – we particularly like the DS Audio iOS app as it’s a more stable alternative to Apple’s flaky Music app. Other features include the handy Notes Station digital organizer and the new Spreadsheet app while Synology’s Surveillance Station is second to none for IP camera recording features (although we could only get it working with Firefox on Windows 10).

Good performance

Synology's Surveillance App

We used Firefox on Windows 10 to manage Synology’s feature-rich Surveillance Station app

The DS416 delivered good results in our performance tests and can clearly cope with most common storage duties. Using a share mapped to a Windows Server 2012 R2 server, we saw drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file return fast sustained read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec.

Our backup test was handled well with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files copied down at an average of 81MB/sec. The Alpine CPU and its integral AES-NI encryption engine fared less well with our 25GB test file copy to an encrypted volume averaging only 55MB/sec – Synology’s Atom C2538 equipped DS1515+ mustered a much higher 82MB/sec for this test.

To test maximum performance we mapped shares to two Xeon E5-2600 servers each with dedicated Gigabit links to the appliance. Running Iometer on each share saw cumulative read and write speeds of 220MB/sec and 150MB/sec which are in-line with Synology’s own performance claims.

PROS:
  • Good overall performance
  • Whisper quiet
  • Good value
  • Feature-rich DSM software

CONS:
  • Share snapshots not supported
  • Memory not upgradeable

Conclusion

The 32-bit CPU does mean some compromises so if there are particular apps that take your fancy, check whether the DS416 can run them as some are only supported by the 64-bit models. That said, this compact desktop appliance still has a lot to offer including an excellent range of backup tools.

The DS416 is well suited to business use as it provides a high capacity storage repository teamed up with an impressive range of cloud features. With a diskless appliance costing a shade under $450, it scores well for value and its near silent running makes it a good choice for home offices.

7.9 Total Score
Well Suited to Business Use

The 32-bit CPU does mean some compromises so if there are particular apps that take your fancy, check whether the DS416 can run them as some are only supported by the 64-bit models. That said, this compact desktop appliance still has a lot to offer including an excellent range of backup tools.

The DS416 is well suited to business use as it provides a high capacity storage repository teamed up with an impressive range of cloud features. With a diskless appliance costing a shade under $450, it scores well for value and its near silent running makes it a good choice for home offices.

Performance
7.5
Features
8
Build Quality
7.5
Usability
8
Value
8.5
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