Synology DiskStation DS716+ Review

ds716-plus-front

Synology’s DS716+ is the latest to join its burgeoning family of ‘Plus’ performance NAS appliances and offers small businesses a compact 2-bay desktop storage solution. There’s plenty of power under the hood as it’s one of an increasing number of appliances to use Intel’s new ‘Braswell’ quad-core 1.6GHz Celeron N3150 CPU.

DS716+ rear viewThe timely receipt of our review sample also allows us to bring you a hands-on look at Synology’s freshly released Disk Station Manager (DSM) 6.0 software. With the beta program running for six months, it’s been a long time in the making, but the wealth of new features makes the wait worthwhile.

The DS716+ employs the same solid chassis as the DS715 so you get dual Gigabit and USB 3 ports plus an eSATA port for capacity expansion. You can use a 2-bay DX213 or 5-bay DX513 but with respective prices of $170 and $460, you may want to consider Synology’s 5-bay DS1515+ if the two bays in the DS716+ won’t be enough for your future needs.

DSM 6.0 installation

Seagate 8TB NAS HDD

We tested the DS716+ using Seagate’s new 8TB NAS HDD drives

For testing, we opted to install a pair of Seagate’s latest 8TB NAS HDD drives which fitted like gloves in the tool-free carriers. Synology’s discovery web portal found the appliance and offered to create a dual-drive SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) disk group and load the latest DSM 6.0.

The Storage Manager app hasn’t changed and we used it to create volumes for our shared storage. You have the option of choosing BTRFS or EXT4 and for snapshots, you must choose the former.

Note that BTRFS is only supported on appliances with 64-bit CPUs. No problem with the DS716+, but DiskStations such as the DS416 which uses an Annapurna Labs Alpine 32-bit CPU, doesn’t offer BTRFS as an option when you create a volume (we know as we tried it).

Snapshot and backup apps

Snapshot Replication app

The Snapshot Replication app manages all share and LUN snapshots and adds replication

The Snapshot Replication app replaces the Data Protection Manager for scheduling snapshots. It’s just as easy to use and we had no problems creating regular snapshots of shared folders and iSCSI LUNs

It can also replicate shared folders and iSCSI LUNs to remote Synology appliances that support BTRFS. After choosing your source folder or LUN, you can schedule replications to up to three destinations with a one-to-many job although the Homes shared folder and encrypted folders can’t be included.

The new Hyper Backup app brings all your local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups under one roof. It runs a wizard for each type and we created multiple jobs to secure data from one local folder to another, a remote Synology appliance over Rsync and our Amazon S3 account.

It can compress backups, retain multiple file versions and secure application data but we did notice that Hyper Backup runs multiple jobs sequentially and not simultaneously. Data restoration is a cinch using the Backup Explorer plus you can load the Hyper Backup Vault app on the remote appliance and use it to restore files backed up to it.

More new features

new Hyper Backup app

The new Hyper Backup app centralizes all your backup and restore tasks in one interface

Many new features in DSM 6.0 are aimed at big businesses with SSD caching now supporting volumes with up to 12 SSDs assigned. The PetaSpace app allows massive shared folders to be created by locating them across multiple volumes.

DIY mail hosting is possible with the MailPlus Server app which includes anti-spam and anti-virus protection. Along with a web client, Synology provides client apps for iOS and Android but it will be charging for additional client licenses beyond the five that are included.

The Virtual DSM Manager app allows multiple instances of DSM to run on the same appliance for hosting specific Synology apps. This isn’t supported by the DS716+ presumably because it only has 2GB of memory which can’t be upgraded

Cloud features get a boost as the Cloud Sync app now supports file syncing with nine public providers. Synology has disaster recovery on its agenda as loading the Cloud Station ShareSync app on a remote appliance allows it to run two-way, real-time replications of selected folders with host Synology appliances running the Cloud Station Server.

We came across one glitch as the DSM 6.0 update on another Synology appliance failed because it was running the iDrive cloud backup app. To get round this, we had to remove the app, update DSM to 6.0, reinstall the app with the latest version and, rather annoyingly, recreate all our cloud backup jobs from scratch.

Performance

Hyper Backup Vault

You can use the Hyper Backup Vault app on a remote appliance to view and restore backed up files

The DS716+ performed well in our tests with real-world copies of a 25GB test file using a mapped share returning average read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 110MB/sec. It also handled our backup test well with a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files secured to the share at 87MB/sec.

To test maximum performance, we connected Xeon E5-2600 v3 rack servers to each Gigabit port and gave them dedicated shares. Running Iometer on both servers returned cumulative read and write speeds of 226MB/sec and 188MB/sec.

IP SANs were no slouch either with Iometer reporting raw read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 102MB/sec for a 500GB target. We then created a dual port MPIO link to the target from our HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 rack server and saw Iometer read and writes speeds ramp up to 226MB/sec and 170MB/sec.

PROS:
  • Good performance
  • DSM 6.0 offers tons of features
  • Supports Seagate 8TB drives
  • BTRFS and snapshot support
  • Very quiet

CONS:
  • Expensive for a 2-bay appliance
  • Memory non-upgradeable

Conclusion

For a 2-bay appliance, the DS716+ is on the pricey side as Qnap’s TS-251+ costs over $100 less, has an HDMI port, can be upgraded to 8GB of memory and even comes with a remote control handset. That said, the DS716+ mustered a good performance and with the latest DSM 6.0 software at the helm, it delivers a wealth of new and valuable features with data protection as a high priority.

8.1 Total Score
A Little Pricey for a 2 Bay

For a 2-bay appliance, the DS716+ is on the pricey side as Qnap’s TS-251+ costs over $100 less, has an HDMI port, can be upgraded to 8GB of memory and even comes with a remote control handset. That said, the DS716+ mustered a good performance and with the latest DSM 6.0 software at the helm, it delivers a wealth of new and valuable features with data protection as a high priority.

Performance
8
Features
9
Build Quality
9
Usability
8
Value
6.5
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