Best price

Synology RackStation RS18016xs+ Review

RS18016xs+ front viewStepping up as Synology’s largest enterprise NAS appliance to date, the new RS18016xs+ takes storage expansion to the next level. It comes with a pair of external 6Gb/sec SAS interfaces which support up to 14 of Synology’s new RX1216sas 12-bay disk shelves.

Combine these with the twelve bays in the main unit as you can expand up to 180 hard disks and a mind-boggling raw capacity of 1.4 Petabytes. Another bonus is the RS18016xs+ supports SAS and SATA drives while the newly implemented BTRFS brings in unlimited snapshots for enhanced data protection.rs18016xs+--rear

Processing power hasn’t seen any radical improvements as the RS18016xs+ is equipped with a 3.3GHz ‘Ivy Bridge’ Xeon E3-1230 v2 CPU – the same as used in its RS10613xs+ which was launched over two years ago. As with its predecessor, it comes with 8GB of DDR3 which can boosted to 32GB, four embedded Gigabit ports and dual PCI-Express slots that support a range of industry-standard 10GbE network adapters.

Deployment and snapshots

DSM on the RS18016xs+

Synology’s DSM delivers some of the best backup features in town

Installation is no different to any other Synology appliance as we loaded the Web Assistant portal which discovered the appliance and loaded the latest DSM software for us. Moving on to the superbly designed DSM web interface, we used the Storage Manager app to create a single SHR array using four 4TB WD SAS hard disks.

Snapshots are implemented using the new Data Protection Manager (DPM) app and can be applied to both NAS shared folders and file-level iSCSI targets (but not block-level targets). We found them easy enough to use but you must ensure the advanced data integrity protection option is enabled when creating shares.

From the DPM interface, we chose our shared folders and iSCSI LUNs and created snapshot schedules for each one. Snapshots can be run on any weekday or all and repeated as often as every 5 minutes for near real-time protection.

Data restoration proved to be a simple process as we recovered a network share from its latest snapshot in less than 30 seconds. You can delegate the recovery process to your users as snapshots can be made visible to them as new network shares and you can also clone a snapshot as a new share.

RS18016xs+ offers Support for BTRFS

Support for BTRFS brings in valuable snapshot and recovery features

Expensive redundancy

The RS18016xs+ supports the same failover features as the RC18015xs+ (add web link) but it’s going to be even more expensive to implement. Using the High Availability Manager (HAM) app, you can specify a second appliance which must be exactly the same model.

As we found with the RC18015xs+, failover features aren’t practical in environments where uptime is everything. The two appliances use an active/passive architecture so your secondary appliance will spend most of its time doing nothing.

When failover does occur, all services will be stopped as the passive controller is promoted to active duties which takes around 90 seconds. This means all system tasks, backup jobs and any other active apps will be terminated during this process.

We think using the RS18016xs+ for failover is prohibitively expensive as a pair will set you back over $15,000 – and that’s before you factor in the costs of drives. We recommend Qsan’s TrioNAS LX U400HA-D424 as this provides dual active/active controllers and fast transparent failover with a diskless unit costing less than $11,000.

Good performance

Moving straight to 10GbE testing, we fitted a dual-port Emulex 10GBase-T card in the RS18016xs+ and enabled Jumbo frames on the appliance and our dual E5-2600 v3 Xeon test server. NAS speeds are excellent with Iometer reporting fast raw read and write rates of 1,170MB/sec and 1,100MB/sec.

This translated to good real world speeds with drag and drop copies of our 50GB Iometer test file returning sustained read and write speeds of 445MB/sec and 396MB/sec. As a general backup repository the RS18016xs+ works well as securing a 22.4GB test folder with 10,500 small files returned a good average write speed of 281MB/sec.

The RS18016xs+ supports encryption and Synology scores over Qnap as you can create encrypted shares rather than just entire volumes. The Xeon’s embedded AES-NI encryption engine also delivered good speeds as copying a 50GB file to an encrypted share over 10GbE returned an average speed of 168MB/sec.

Backup and surveillance

Surveillance Station v7.0 on the RS18016xs+

The Surveillance Station v7.0 sets provides a superb range of features for IP camera recordings

The RS18016xs+ is a great choice as a high capacity backup and video surveillance repository. For the former, DSM offers a massive range of backup apps with excellent cloud support.

Cloud storage providers include ElephantDrive, Symform, Microsoft Azure plus Amazon S3 and there’s a separate app for the latter’s lower-cost Glacier service. Replication and shared folder synchronization with other Synology appliances is possible and Synology’s Cloud Sync has just been updated to support Google Cloud Storage, Amazon Cloud Drive and OpenStack Swift.

We think Synology’s Surveillance Station v7.0 is a standard setter. It’s installed as a DSM app and the auto-discovery tool found and configured our D-Link IP cameras ready for use.

We could use it to run recording schedules to the appliance and it supports the H.264 and MPEG4 codecs. Motion detection is supported via the camera or the app itself and Action Rules can be used to apply timed recordings and snapshot schedules to event triggers. Snapshots can also be applied to the video recording store but we found that continuous recordings are paused momentarily when one is taken.

PROS:
  • Good performance
  • Massive expansion potential
  • BTRFS snapshot protection and recovery
  • Huge range of DSM backup options
  • Excellent video surveillance app

CONS:
  • CPU hasn’t been updated
  • Failover option expensive
  • Only active/passive failover supported

Summary

For a 12-bay NAS appliance, the RS18016xs+ is a tad expensive as although Qnap’s TS-EC1279U-SAS-RP doesn’t have as high an expansion potential, a diskless model does cost over $800 less. That said, Synology makes up for this lack of value by offering a superb range of features, the best surveillance app, good performance and a truly massive storage capacity.

8.4 Total Score
Superb Range of Features

For a 12-bay NAS appliance, the RS18016xs+ is a tad expensive as although Qnap’s TS-EC1279U-SAS-RP doesn’t have as high an expansion potential, a diskless model does cost over $800 less. That said, Synology makes up for this lack of value by offering a superb range of features, the best surveillance app, good performance and a truly massive storage capacity.

Performance
9
Features
9
Build Quality
9
Usability
8.5
Value
6.5
User Rating: Be the first one!