Synology DiskStation DS2415+

DS2415+Synology set new standards for desktop storage capacity when it launched the 12-bay DiskStation DS2413+ a couple of years ago and it’s a feat yet to be emulated by any of the competition. Not content to rest on its laurels, Synology has now released its successor – the DS2415+.

Aimed at small businesses with big growth plans, the DS2415+ is also designed as a budget friendly version of Synology’s mighty DS3615xs. Coming in at nearly $1,300 less, the DS2415+ replaces the 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 CPU of its big brother with a lower spec 2.4GHz Atom C2538 which supports up to 6GB of DDR3 memory and has an integral AES-NI encryption engine.

Other differences are the DS2415+ can’t be upgraded to 10GbE and it only has one Infiniband expansion port. Even so, it still offers quad Gigabit network ports and a single 12-bay DX1215 expansion unit allows capacity to be expanded to a very healthy 144TB.

Installation

DS2415+For this review, Synology supplied us with a DS2415+ and a DX1215 expansion unit. The latter comes with a short 62cms Infiniband cable so it needs to be placed right next to or on top of the main unit.

The DX2415+ and DX1215 use the same removable dual-fan module as the DS3615xs. Both units are very quiet but come in for the same criticisms as the DS3615xs as care is needed when replacing the modules to avoid bending their power pins.

For testing we loaded up four 4TB WD Red SATA drives and used Synology’s smart discovery web portal. This finds un-configured appliances, offers to create a Synology hybrid array (SHR) using all available drives and downloads the latest DSM software.

We wanted to see whether the Infiniband link had any impact on performance so one of the drives in the SHR array was mounted in the DX1215. The cable also sends power commands across the link so starting or stopping the main unit automatically powers the DX1215 up and down.

The DX1215 appeared in the DSM Storage Manager interface allowing us to create new arrays on it and expand existing arrays into its drives. The DS2415+ also supports hot-spare drives and these can be added to an array whenever you want.

A fine performance

DX1215+During testing we found the Infiniband connection appeared to have no significant impact on performance and the DS2415+ proceeded to deliver excellent speeds. With a share mapped to a Dell PowerEdge R730 equipped with dual 14-core E5-2695 v3 Xeons, 64GB of DDR4 and Windows Server 2012 R2, we saw Iometer report top raw read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 111MB/sec.

Real world speeds are just as good as copying our 50GB Iometer test file between the server and appliance also returned sustained read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 111MB/sec. It’s no slouch for backup operations either as our 22.4GB test folder and its 10,500 small files was secured to the appliance at a speedy average of 87MB/sec.

To test maximum throughput we added three more servers each mapped to share on the same array over dedicated Gigabit links. With Iometer running on all four servers, we saw cumulative read and write speeds of 450MB/sec and 370MB/sec.

Disk Information

The DX1215 is accessed from the Storage Manager and can be used to create new arrays or expand existing ones.

To verify our results, we also loaded three more 4TB WD Red drives in the DS2415+ only and created a new SHR volume. Rerunning our multi-server test returned identical cumulative read rates while writes increased to 405MB/sec showing the DX1215 and its Infiniband link had a small negative impact on write performance under maximum load.

Storage choices and features

Along with SHR arrays, the DX2415+ supports all standard array types including RAID5 and 6 which are easily created from the Storage Manager app. If you plan on using IP SANs think carefully about your drive arrangement as this will affect your choices.

Placing drives in a single volume allows you create multiple iSCSI targets with advanced features such as thin provisioning, LUN snapshots and cloning enabled. If you want faster block-based iSCSI targets, the drives must be placed in a Disk Group but this doesn’t support the advanced features.

Cloud Sync

Backup features are excellent with the new Cloud Sync app supporting even more cloud providers.

The DX2415+ also supports SSD read and write caching for volumes and iSCSI LUNs. You’ll need two identical SSDs for write caches where it’ll create a mirror for added resilience.

In our view, Synology’s DSM software has the best range of data backup and file syncing apps. Cloud support extends to Amazon S3 and Glacier, Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, Google Drive and many more while workstations with the Cloud Station app installed can run syncs of local folders to the appliance in real-time.

DSM 5.2 beta

As DSM 5.2 was in beta while we were testing, we decided to take an early peek at the new features and installed it on the DS2415+. The main DSM interface remains the same but Synology has pulled out all the stops for new features.

Network interface settings

Along with many new features, DSM 5.2 now supports adaptive load balancing across different switches.

For file sharing you have SMB3 support which introduces end-to-end encryption for SMB clients and servers. The backup and replication apps offer file-level restores and can recycle old backups as part of a schedule.

LUN snapshots may be scheduled as often as every five minutes and the Storage Manager lets you create a retention policies for hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly snapshots. The Gigabit ports can be aggregated for fault tolerant links and DSM 5.2 adds adaptive load balancing which doesn’t require switch support.

PROS:

  • Very good performance
  • High-speed Infiniband expansion part
  • Good value
  • Synology’s DSM is the one to beat for features

CONS:

  • No 10GbE upgrade
  • Care needed when replacing cooling fan module

Summary

The DS2415+ is an ideal alternative for businesses that want the huge capacity of the DS3615xs but would prefer something cheaper. Performance for both the DS2415+ and DX1215 expansion unit is excellent and Synology’s DSM software just keeps on getting better with every release.

8.6 Total Score
Huge Capacity at an Affordable Price

The DS2415+ is an ideal alternative for businesses that want the huge capacity of the DS3615xs but would prefer something cheaper. Performance for both the DS2415+ and DX1215 expansion unit is excellent and Synology’s DSM software just keeps on getting better with every release.

Performance
9
Features
8
Build Quality
8
Usability
9
Value
9

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