Editor choice

Synology RackStation RS1619xs+ Review

Don’t be fooled by its slim dimensions as Synology’s RS1619xs+ is designed with high performance as a top priority. This 4-bay 1U rack NAS is powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz Intel Xeon D-1527 CPU and supports a generous 64GB of DDR4 ECC memory.

True, the D-1527 CPU was launched three years ago but it is still current and, as our performance test show, it offers plenty of horsepower. Base appliances come with 8GB of memory on one stick and the motherboard has a total of four full-length DIMM slots for further upgrades.

The motherboard sports a pair of M.2 SSD slots which support 2280 NVMe or SATA varieties which can be used as a performance enhancing cache. Along with four Gigabit ports, the appliance has a spare PCI-e slot for 10GbE or 25GbE upgrades using industry standard adapters.

The RS1619xs+ comes as standard with dual 150W hot-plug PSUs and storage can be easily expanded with one 12-bay RX1217 or RX1217RP disk shelf. Performance won’t be an issue as the shelf is connected via the high-speed Infiniband port on the appliance.

Super 10GbE performance

The RS1619xs+ delivers on its performance promises with superb iSCSI MPIO speeds

For performance testing, we used four 12TB Seagate IronWolf hard disks to create a big 33TB RAID5 array and installed an Emulex dual-port 10GBase-T card which was accepted without any problems. Our test host was a Dell PowerEdge T640 tower server equipped with two Xeon Gold 5120 CPUs, 64GB of DDR4 plus dual embedded 10GBaseT ports and running Windows Server 2016.

With a share mapped over 10GbE to the server, we saw excellent NAS performance with Iometer reporting top raw sequential read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec. Real world speeds are equally good with copies of a 25GB test file returning read and write rates of 5.4Gbits/sec and 5.3Gbits/sec.

It handled our backup test very well with a 22.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured to a share at 2.6Gbits/sec. The Xeon’s encryption performance is also good with our 25GB test file copied to an encrypted share at an average of 2Gbits/sec with CPU utilization only reaching 17%.

The RS1619xs+ is a fine choice for deploying high-performance IP SANs as a 500GB target returned top Iometer read and write rates both of 9.2Gbits/sec. We increased the pressure with a dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target and saw read and write speeds settle at 18.2Gbits/sec and 14Gbits/sec. One minor point worth mentioning is the appliance’s cooling fans ramp up under heavy load and increase noise levels to around 55dB at one metre.

Top notch backup apps

The Active Backup for Business app takes data protection to the next level

Look no further for the best backup apps as Synology’s DSM software is positively brimming with them. It supports manual and scheduled NAS and IP SAN snapshots on BTRFS volumes and offers fast recovery services which include the option to browse NAS snapshots from the File Station app.

The Hyper Backup app manages local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups from a single console and integrates with Synology’s C2 Backup cloud service for off-site storage. The Cloud Station Server manages workstation backup with the Backup Windows client providing one-way synchronization and the Drive agent offering two-way folder synchronization.

The star player is Synology’s new Active Backup for Business (ABB) app which provides excellent backup facilities for servers, workstations and virtual environments. It supports agent-less backup services for VMware vCentre and ESXi hypervisors and provides application-consistent backups of virtual machines (VMs).

Load the ABB agents on your Windows servers and workstations and you can schedule volume, file and bare-metal backups. Recovery features are extensive and include the ABB web portal for easy access to all backups for swift file and folder restore operations.

Virtualization apps

Combine top performance with Synology’s VMM app and you have a great virtualization platform

Synology’s Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) app allows the appliance to host VMs running any OS you choose. The appliance’s base 8GB of memory is enough to get you started while the maximum of 64GB is plenty for hosting multiple VMs.

VMM is easy to use and we created a Windows Server 2016 VM, installed it from an ISO file and had it running in 20 minutes. The VMM dashboard provides quick access to VMs and the vSwitch service can be used to isolate them on specific network ports.

Protection plans are used to backup selected VMs using snapshots and can be run to a schedule with a retention policy for a specific RPO (recovery point objective). The VM cloning feature can create multiple identical copies of VMs and also migrate them to another Synology appliance running the VMM app, although the latter requires a paid-for VMM Pro license.

VMM also links up with the ABB app to provide smart disaster recovery features. From the ABB console, you can select a bare-metal or VMware VM backup and instruct it to create an on-demand VM.

More good apps

DSM provides plenty more valuable apps with Surveillance Station 8.2 turning the RS1619xs+ into a professional monitoring and recording system. This app is the standard setter for NAS surveillance features as it supports a huge range of IP cameras, offers the best recording facilities and can even receive live video feeds from iOS and Android mobile devices.

Data is protected by the Security Advisor app which scans the appliance, checks for malware and offers advice on closing any potential weaknesses. Security gets even tighter as you can decide which network ports services are enabled on, set application privileges and enforce 2-step verification on users.

Summary

If you want the fastest 1U rack NAS on the planet, Synology’s RS1619xs+ is the perfect choice. You do pay a premium but it delivers a very high 10GbE performance and has a generous five year warranty while Synology’s slick DSM software offers a heady blend of business backup, virtualization and surveillance features.

8.9 Total Score

If you want the fastest 1U rack NAS on the planet, Synology’s RS1619xs+ is the perfect choice. You do pay a premium but it delivers a very high 10GbE performance and has a generous five year warranty while Synology’s slick DSM software offers a heady blend of business backup, virtualization and surveillance features.

Performance
10
Features
9
Build quality
8.5
Usability
9
Value
8
PROS
  • Storming 10GbE performance
  • Dual M.2 NVMe/SATA SSD slots
  • High memory capacity
  • Active Backup for Business app
  • 5 year warranty
CONS
  • Fans get noisy under load
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