Synology is pushing further into big business territory with the launch of a raft of high-end NAS appliances. Its latest RS18017xs+ is aimed at those looking for top performance and with big future expansion plans.
There are a number of significant changes over the RS18016xs+. Whereas the latter had to endure the same aging Xeon E3 CPU as its predecessor, the RS18017xs+ sports a new 6-core 2.2GHz Xeon D-1531 and a healthy 16GB of fast DDR4 memory which can be upgraded hugely to 128GB.
Whereas the previous models offered dual embedded SAS expansion ports, the RS18017xs+ only has a single SAS port. Capacity expansion is still good though, as the appliance supports up to seven 24-bay RX2417sas or 12-bay RX1217sas disk shelves allowing maximum capacity to be pushed to nearly 1 Petabyte.
Design and hardware
The RS18017xs+ exhibits the classy build quality we’ve come to expect from Synology with 12 LFF hot-swap drive bays at the front supporting SATA III and 12Gbps SAS3 drives. A removable cover on top reveals four individually hot-swappable cooling fans with a solid air shroud directing air from the centre two fans over the CPU.
Storage is managed entirely by a Synology SAS12G PCI-Express card cabled to the hard disk backplane. This also provides the single external SAS expansion port leaving two PCI-Express slots free for more network adapters.
Not that you’ll need them though, as the appliance already comes as standard with four embedded Gigabit and two 10GBase-T ports. The two rear USB 3 ports are for adding external storage and the new USB Copy 2.0 app automates data backup tasks that run when a device is plugged in.
We held off our tests until Synology had released its DSM 6.1 software which delivers a heap of new storage related features. It already provides BTRFS snapshots and the new software expands on these by adding self-healing by transparently detecting corrupted data and repairing it.
Copying files from one share to another on the same volume is resource-intensive but the new SMB server-side copy feature speeds this up massively. This is disabled by default and is activated from the File Services/Advanced tab by checking the ‘Enable fast file clone’ check box.
Previously, if you wanted encrypted share folders you had to create them from scratch but you can now apply this to pre-existing folders. Just edit the selected share to enable encryption and if you copy the keys to a USB flash drive, you can mount them automatically by inserting it in the appliance.
And if you need to find a file in a hurry the new Universal Search will prove a boon. Once you’ve indexed selected folders, press Ctrl+F in the DSM desktop to load the search tool and enter your criteria.
Good NAS performance
Moving straight to 10GbE testing, we called up an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 dual E5-2600 v4 Xeon rack server running Windows Server 2012 R2 and equipped with a dual-port Emulex 10GBase-T card. A RAID array comprising four 15K SAS SFF hard disks delivered excellent raw NAS speeds with a mapped share returning Iometer read and write rates of 9.2Gbps and 9Gbps.
I/O throughput is good with Iometer set to 4KB transfer requests reporting read and write rates of 130,000 IOPS and 88,000 IOPS. We then upped the pressure with a second E5-2600 v4 server mapped over 10GbE to a dedicated share.
With Iometer running on both servers, we recorded cumulative read and write speeds of 18.4Gbps and 14Gbps. Our I/O performance tests also returned cumulative read and write throughputs of 251,000 IOPS and 154,000 IOPS.
Performance for the server-side copy feature is electrifying as with it disabled, a 100GB file copy from one folder to another in the same volume returned a meagre 233MB/sec average. With it enabled, the Explorer copy progress window registered a speed of around 30GBytes/sec – for smaller files this will be virtually instantaneous.
More DSM 6.1 features
The Snapshot Replication app has been updated to allow encrypted shared folders to be replicated. You can also keep a spare local copy as selected shares can now be replicated to other volumes on the same appliance
The new Active Backup app is very useful as it allowed us to secure data on our Windows workstations without having to load an agent on them. Currently in beta, it just requires the source IP address and local credentials along with your selection of folder shares and also works with Linux systems.
We’ve always rated Synology’s Surveillance Station highly and the latest v8.0 goes even further. New features include enhanced rules that can trigger multiple actions for an event, better storage usage by only recording events in high resolution and support for the latest H.265 codec.
There’s still one glitch as the browser-based Live View uses the aging NPAPI plugin which is only supported by Internet Explorer. The new Surveillance Station client overcomes these issues and we found its Live View worked perfectly on Windows 10.
The RS18017xs+ looks good value and especially so when you consider it only costs around $655 more than its predecessor. The older RS18016xs+ will still be available for some time yet but we think it’s worth paying the extra cash to get the uprated hardware specification along with the dual embedded 10GbE ports
The single external SAS port means it can’t offer as high an expansion potential as the RS18016xs+ which can now be pushed to 1.8PB with 10TB SATA drives. Even so, the R18017xs+ acquitted itself very well in our performance tests and with Synology’s new DSM 6.1 software at the helm, it delivers an excellent range of new features with a strong focus on data protection.
The RS18017xs+ looks good value and especially so when you consider it only costs around $655 more than its predecessor. The older RS18016xs+ will still be available for some time yet but we think it’s worth paying the extra cash to get the uprated hardware specification along with the dual embedded 10GbE ports. The single external SAS port means it can’t offer as high an expansion potential as the RS18016xs+ which can now be pushed to 1.8PB with 10TB SATA drives. Even so, the R18017xs+ acquitted itself very well in our performance tests and with Synology’s new DSM 6.1 software at the helm, it delivers an excellent range of new features with a strong focus on data protection.
- Good value
- Top NAS performance
- SAS3 support
- Feature-rich DSM 6.1
- Surveillance Station 8 is a winner
- Single SAS expansion port
- Lower expansion potential than the RS18016xs+