A couple of days ago, Synology announced its new DS1517+ and DS1817+ storage arrays that caught my attention. I have been using an 8-bay Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) device for the past few years and as you have seen from my detailed Synology DS1815+ review, it is a very powerful and robust storage solution that allows me to use it not just as a backup device, but also as my primary storage. And when the DS1815+ is paired up with a fireproof and waterproof ioSafe, one can fully automate the backup process and alleviate the associated pains with potentially losing data due to hard drive or storage failure. However, one of the biggest bottlenecks I have been experiencing with any NAS device is network bottlenecks. Even when using link aggregation with several ports, it is impossible to achieve more than 1 Gbit throughput from the same machine, which means that I am always stuck at roughly 125 MB/sec storage speed, even if my storage unit is capable of handling more load (link aggregation can be very beneficial in a multi-user environment). So I have been anxiously waiting for storage companies to start releasing storage arrays that are capable of handling more network throughput, which is why it is exciting to see the new DS1517+ and DS1817+ units.
These powerhouses expand the storage power of existing units by adding a PCIe slot that can be used for either a dedicated 10GbE card, or an adapter that can take dual M.2 SSD drives for cache. With memory configuration expandable up to 16 GB (previously limited to 6 GB) for running different applications / add-on packages, and scalability to add up to 18 additional drives with expansion units, we are dealing with quite a bit of juice to handle heavy loads. Both units will be able to provide quite a bit of sequential throughput when used with 10GbE – the DS1517+ will be able to achieve 1,165 MB/s read and 527 MB/s write speeds, whereas the DS1817+ will be able to push up to 1,179 MB/s read and 542 MB/s write speeds. But the exciting part is the 10Gbit Ethernet option – with the right setup, one can reach those speeds without even needing to aggregate ports, since 10 GbE can handle up to 1250 MB/s through a single port, which is insane!
Here is the back of the new DS1817+, which shows the available PCIe slot on the right side of the chassis:
As you can see, the 4x 1GbE ports capable of link aggregation are still there, but have been moved down from the side to make room for the PCIe slot. Two eSATA ports are also still there, just moved to the bottom as well. As a result, the new DS1817+ is now a little bit taller compared to its predecessor. The system is cooled by the same 2x 120x120x25mm fans to keep the unit and the drives from overheating.
While I am very excited about the option to expand the speed of the storage array via 10 Gigabit Ethernet, I am a bit concerned by the fact that Synology decided to continue using the Intel Atom C2000 processors, which recently have been revealed to randomly fail after prolonged use. I have been using my DS1815+ for over three years now without any issues and I know that Synology could not find any correlation between usage rate and CPU failures either, denying abnormal failure rates on its storage devices, as reported by a number of online resources. Perhaps it could be an issue for those running a Synology NAS 24/7 in a virtualized environment with heavy loads, but I personally do not see it as a problem for a busy photographer.
I will do my best to report on the DS1817+ as soon as I get my hands on one later this year, but in the meantime, if you have any questions regarding storage, please let me know in the comments section below!